Since the NFL schedule came out, fans of the Baltimore Ravens have talked about today’s game in San Diego as being a trap. The rational being the Ravens would be coming off a physical game against Pittsburgh, and flying across the country to play a team with a number of play-making talents. A Chargers team that had beat the Ravens badly in 2011. Knowing that, it was not shocking to see the Ravens struggle during most of the game today. The storyline leaving San Diego today, easily could have been Baltimore losing their 3rd game of the season.
Instead, the story is the Ravens found a way to win a game they could (should) have lost, as they beat the Chargers in Overtime 16-13. You can hate the overall performance, but celebrate the win. Baltimore has won 4 consecutive games overall, and is now 9-2 on the year.
I mention it below, and I will mention it here. Rice finding a way to come up with the necessary yardage on 4th and 29 was just remarkable. That play just defined the game, and the Ravens in general. It might not look great at times, but the Ravens continue to find a way.
1) After the Ravens allowed one 1st down the Chargers first series, Kruger gained a sack on 3rd and 4; forcing a San Diego punt.
2) A nice 2nd effort from Pitta, gained the Ravens their initial 1st down on their opening drive. That was followed by a 16 yard from Rice.
3) San Diego’s 2nd series also ended with Rivers being sacked on 3rd down. This time it was Ellerbe shooting the gap, with Graham also bringing pressure.
4) The Ravens picked up 3rd and 7 on their 2nd series, with Boldin catching a crossing route across the middle. Rice had a nice block, giving Flacco additional time. A second 3rd down was converted on the drive, with Flacco finding Smith on an out route.
5) The 1st Quarter ended with the Chargers 3rd punt. Suggs got his hands up on 3rd down, knocking down a Rivers pass.
6) Good challenge from the Ravens coaching staff on the non-fumble from Jones in the 2nd Quarter.
7) Suggs’ 2nd sack of the season came at an opportune time. Baltimore was down 7-0, with SD on the march. Suggs 2nd down sack, would help force San Diego into a long FG attempt. That 47 yard FG was converted by Novak, but things could have ended worse on the drive for Baltimore.
8) Baltimore’s defense brought Rivers to the ground for the 4th time of the 1st half, when Upshaw sacked the SD QB at the 2 minute warning.
9) The Ravens offense picked up 3rd and 7 to start the 2nd half, with Smith coming up with a catch and gaining a bunch of yards after the grab. His 54 yard gain took the Ravens to the San Diego 27. A Tucker FG got the Ravens on the board, making it a 10-3 game.
10) Starting for the injured McPhee once again, Jones had the Ravens 5th sack of the game. SD would be forced to punt on their 1st series of the 2nd half.
11) Baltimore’s 2nd series of the 2nd half began with a 12 yard gain from Pierce.
12) McClain had a good tackle on McMichael in the middle of the 3rd Quarter. Jones followed with his 2nd sack of the game, and the Ravens 6th sack overall. This forced San Diego into their 2nd punt of the 2nd half.
13) Smith moved the chains again, gaining a 1st down on 3rd and 3 on Baltimore’s 3rd series of the 3rd Quarter. Like his big gainer earlier in the Quarter, he caught the pass short of the 1st down marker, but made a play after the catch. Rice followed with a 12 yard gain on the ground. On 2nd and 4, Pierce gained 3 yards, setting-up 3rd and short. Pierce would gain the 1st on a pitch. Leach opened a hole, and Pierce did his patented leap, ripping off 18 yards.
14) The Ravens took over on offense with 7:51 left in the game, down 10 points, starting at their own 20. Flacco hit Jones for 12 yards. That was followed by a Rice run for 4 yards, a 24 yard gain to Jones, and a 6 yard gain to Jones. This took the Ravens to the San Diego 34 yard line. Three straight catches from Smith took the Ravens to the San Diego 9 yard line. Pitta would score with a grab over the middle, capping the 9 play 80 yard drive. With the extra point, the Ravens were down 13-10 with a little over 4 minutes left.
15) The Baltimore defense stood-up San Diego following the Ravens TD. Ayanbadejo wrapped up on 3rd down. This forced the Chargers to punt, and gave the ball back to the Ravens with over 3 minutes remaining.
16) Jones had a good punt return in the 4th Quarter, allowing the Ravens offense to start from the Baltimore 40 yard line with 3:09 left in the game.
17) Rice coming up with the 1st on 4th and 29 was one of the really more remarkable plays I can ever recall. Replays showed a nice block from Boldin. Tucker would end that drive, and regulation with a tying FG.
18) Good tackle from Ayanbadejo on the Chargers first drive of OT. Cary Williams made a nice play on 3rd and 4.
19) Beautiful strike from Flacco to Boldin during the Ravnes first drive in OT. Rice followed with a 12 yard run to nearly midfield.
20) The Ravens defense stopped San Diego for a 2nd time in OT, getting the ball back to the Baltimore offense. Ayanbadejo again made a couple of plays on the series.
21) An 11 yard gain to Pitta, took the Ravens to their 39 on their 2nd drive of OT. Doss came down with his first catch of the day, taking the Ravens into SD territory. A beautiful back shoulder pass from Flacco to Smith gained 32 yards on 3rd and 10. Tucker would end the game with his 3rd FG of the day.
22) Flacco also deserves credit for not allowing the struggles to defeat him. He kept attacking, and found success when it was needed most.
23) CBS’ Dan Fouts was right at the end of the telecast, good clock management from Harbaugh.
1) The Chargers faced 3rd and 1 on their initial series, when Ngata gave San Diego a free first down, with an off-sides call.
2) Following two 1st downs from the Baltimore offense to start the game, Jah Reid was charged with a false start. The drive ended when Boldin was not able to corral a pass on 3rd down.
3) A block in the back from Anthony Allen erased a long punt return from Jones.
4) During the Ravens 2nd series, Flacco delivered a pass which went off of Jones hands. A catch that easily should have been made for a 1st down. Flacco would be sacked on the following play, knocking Baltimore out of potential FG range.
5) Baltimore’s first drive of the 2nd Quarter resulted in a 3 and out, with Flacco and Smith unable to connect on 3rd and long.
6) San Diego kept the chains moving on their first 2nd Quarter driving, gaining 1/2 a yard on 4th and inches. Earlier in the drive, the Chargers had gains of 26 yards, and 16 yards to Alexander and Floyd. Following the 4th down conversion, Rivers found Floyd for 21 more yards and a 7-0 (with the extra point) San Diego lead. The drive covered 9 plays, and 78 yards over 4 minutes of action.
7) Coming after the initial San Diego score, the Ravens were not able to pick up 3rd and 1 from their own 25. Baltimore would punt for the 4th consecutive series to start the game.
8) Leading 7-0, San Diego picked up 3rd and 6 on their 2nd drive of the 2nd Quarter. A 19 yard gain from Alexander, took the Chargers to the 22. Ultimately the drive would end with a 47 yard FG from Novak.
9) Former Raven Antwan Barnes ran past Osemele for a sack on Flacco, as the Ravens began their 3rd series of the 2nd Quarter. On 3rd and 16, Pitta was open down the field but Flacco missed the TE high.
10) Osemele was beat badly for a 2nd time, this time from Phillips, as Flacco was sacked with a minute remaining in the 1st half.
11) Smith’s 54 yard gain to start the 3rd Quarter took the Ravens to the San Diego 27. Baltimore was only able to gain 2 yards over the next 3 plays, having to settle for a FG.
12) After Pierce gained 12 yards beginning the Ravens 2nd drive of the 3rd Quarter, Johnson and Spikes combined to sack Flacco.
13) On the Chargers 1st series of the 4th Quarter, Matthews gained 7 yards, when the Ravens defense missed multiple tackles. Pushed back to 2nd and 8 after a penalty, SD picked up the 1st down as Battle gained 10 yards on a pass. That was followed with Pollard being called for a unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit on Alexander. This took the Chargers to the Ravens 32 yard line. On 3rd and 7, Gates sprung Brown for a huge 1st down run. San Diego would add a FG, taking a 13-3 lead.
14) Boldin picked up an unneeded unnecessary roughness penalty in the middle of the 4th Quarter.
15) Yanda picked up a penalty on the Ravens last drive in the 4th. The drive started at the Baltimore 40 yard line, but after the Yanda penalty, and after Flacco was sacked on 3rd and 20; the Ravens faced 4th and 29 from their own 37.
16) The Chargers picked up 14 yards on 3rd and 8 in OT.
1) Flacco finished the 1st half, 8 of 16 for 59 yards. This is an indictment on the Ravens offense as a whole, as Baltimore’s road struggles continued. Baltimore was held scoreless in the 1st half, for the first time since last year in Jacksonville.
2) As the 3rd Quarter was coming to an end, the Ravens faced 3rd and 1 from the San Diego 14. Flacco came up short on the play and the Ravens decided to go for it on 4th down. Baltimore went ‘big’, bringing McKinnie into the game. Pierce was stopped for a 2 yard loss, turning the ball back over to San Diego.
3) As I said above, I am going to celebrate the win today. Even if the game was not surprising, it was disappointing. We can now spend another week wondering why the Ravens offense continues to have issues on the road. You can not blame it on crowd noise today, as there were thousands of empty seats at Qualcomm Stadium.
The lack of offensive success for most of this game was a collective failure from the Coaching staff, to the blocking from the offensive-line, to Flacco, to the skill-position talent. Credit the Ravens for finding a way to win. Had they lost, a good effort from the Ravens defense would have been wasted.
The Ravens were 12 of 24 on 3rd down.
The Chargers were 3 of 15 on 3rd down.
4 Ravens had at-least 5 catches. Boldin had 2. Smith finished with 144 yards on 7 catches.
Flacco was sacked 5 times, Rivers 6 times.
Rice had 22 carries for 97 yards, and 9 receptions for 67 more.
Flacco finished 30 of 51, for 355 yards and 1 TD.