Another heart pounding game by the Raiders, resulted in another win. What began as two teams that clearly needed to settle down, began picking up steam in the second quarter. And it was the Raiders who were heating up.
The defense was keeping the Ravens in check early on with consistent pressure from Khalil Mack and company along with some great coverage across the board from the secondary.
The special teams was showing up big time early on. Marquette King’s booming punts kept the Ravens starting drives inside their own 10-yard-line. A punt late in the first quarter had the Ravens at the 5-yard-line. The defense held up to force a three-and-out and a punt out of their own end zone.
Brynden Trawick got pressure up the middle to partially deflect the punt, which traveled 47 yards and was returned 47 yards by Jalen Richard to give the Raiders the ball at the Baltimore 5-yard-line. On first down, Carr rolled right and threw for Seth Roberts who made a diving touchdown grab for the first score of the game.
The Ravens would try to answer, and went on a long drive of their own to the Oakland 5-yard-line. On third down, Mack got pressure again, despite a double team, and despite a holding penalty. The pass fell incomplete. They declined the penalty and the Ravens settled for a short field goal to pull to 7-3 early in the second quarter.
A big run by Ravens back Terrance West would get the Ravens offense going again midway through the second quarter, but two more pressures by Mack, with the second one resulting in another holding penalty on Ravens backup left tackle James Hurst would help to stall the drive at midfield and force another punt.
From there the Raiders would take the ball at their own 20-yard-line. On third and 5, Derek Carr would stand in the pocket under pressure and throw a jump ball to a well-covered Michael Crabtree who went up to get the ball for 16 yards.
Going to the no-huddle offense, the Raiders began moving down field quickly. An 11-yard connection with Amari Cooper led to a DeAndre Washington 28-yard run to set the Raiders up at the 5-yard-line. And once again, the Raiders would score on one play. This time it was a beautiful fade pass from Carr to Crabtree in the right corner of the end zone for a 14-3 lead.
The Ravens weren’t done. Getting the ball back with 1:37 left in the first half and drove into scoring range with a pass over the middle to a wide open Steve Smith Sr for 20 yards. More pressure from the right side, this time from Bruce Irvin, would stop the drive and the Ravens would settle for a first goal to head into half down 14-6 to the Raiders.
On their second drive of the third quarter, the Ravens got back in it with a 13-play drive for a touchdown. Ravens running back Terrance West gouged the Raiders’ defense time and time again on the drive. His drive was nearly upended, however, when Cory James forced a fumble, but the Ravens recovered to keep possession. He would later put the Ravens in first and goal at the 2-yard-line on a 9-yard run.
The Ravens would need all four of those downs to pick up those two yards, but ultimately they punched it in on a Flacco sneak up the middle. Down 14-12, they went for two. Flacco threw out left but couldn’t get the ball over the long arms of Sean Smith who picked it off in the end zone to keep it at a 2-point Raiders lead.
Once the Ravens got the ball back again early in the fourth quarter, the Raiders pass rush showed up again. After a day full of pressures and forced holding penalties, Bruce Irvin broke through for the Raiders’ first official sack of the day. He made the most of it too, stripping the ball. Denico Autry recovered to give the Raiders the ball in scoring position at the 29-yard-line.
A roughing penalty on Gabe Jackson would back the Raiders up. They would get the penalty yardage back and more on a 16-yard pass from Carr to Amari Cooper. The Raiders would go for it on fourth down with the Ravens being called for offsides. On third down, Carr threw a laser over the middle to Michael Crabtree for the touchdown and a 21-12 lead.
On the following Ravens possession, Khalil Mack would finally break threw to get his first sack of the season for a seven-yard loss to help stop the Ravens’ drive and force a punt.
The Raiders could do nothing with it and punted the ball back after a three-and-out.
Then the Ravens had a one and out. It was a pass to Steve Smith Sr who laid a vicious stiff arm on David Amerson to streak up the middle for a 52-yard touchdown. The Ravens pulled to down 21-19.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Raiders.
On second down of their possession, DeAndre Washington gets stripped on a run up the middle. The Ravens recovered at the 17-yard-line, already in position to take the lead. They did more than just take the lead, they punched it in for the touchdown to take the lead. On the two-point conversion attempt, Joe Flacco threw a perfect pass to Mike Wallace in the back of the end zone to make it a six-point lead at 27-21.
The Raiders got the ball with 3:31 left and drove right down the field. It was Carr to Crabtree all day with the two connecting on three passes for 49 yards and the touchdown on a magnificent fade in the back of the end zone with Crabtree tapping his toes inbounds for the score. It was Crabtree’s third touchdown grab of the day and the Raiders took a 1-point lead with just over two minutes remaining.
After driving to midfield, the Raiders secondary came up big. First it was a rush up the middle by Karl Joseph to tip it and it was nearly picked by Reggie Nelson. Nelson got pressure on a blitz on the following play for another incompletion.
On 4th and 10, the Ravens had to go for it. Flacco went over the middle and Reggie Nelson came over to lay a hard hit on Kamar Aiken right as the ball arrived to knock it loose. It fell incomplete and the Ravens fell to the Raiders.
The Ravens suffer their first loss of 2016 to fall to 3-1 with the Raiders improving to 3-1 on the season with their third road win of the season.
Derek Carr finished with 4 touchdown passes on 25 of 35 passing for 199 yards. Three of those TD’s went to Michael Crabtree.
Leading the way for the defense was Cory James. In just his second start of the season, he had 15 combined tackles (13 solo) with a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
Leading all rushers was Terrance West with 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries (5.3 yards per carry).
Leading all receivers was Steve Smith Sr with 8 catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.