The Baltimore Ravens couldn’t overcome the challenges of a short week as they fell to Atlanta Falcons, 26-21, Nov. 11 in a Thursday night special at the Georgia Dome.

Teams usually have a full week to prepare for matchups, but with the game scheduled on Thursday night, the Ravens had only two days to prepare before hopping on a Wednesday flight for Atlanta. Short week and all, the Ravens still came close to beating the odds as they led, 21-20, with less than a minute remaining in the game. But the Falcons simply couldn’t be stopped at the Georgia Dome, improving to a 5-0 home record and a NFL best 7-2 overall record so far this season. Baltimore drops to 6-3, still ranked among the top teams in the league.

The Falcons sealed the victory when…

Third-year-quarterback Matt Ryan engineered an 80-yard scoring drive with less than a minute remaining in the game to give his team a 26-21 lead. Ryan closed out the incredible drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass to star receiver Roddy White with only 20 seconds left on the game clock. The Ravens would get the ball back, but didn’t have enough time to overcome Atlanta’s lead.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:

Ryan’s 80-yard touchdown drive marked the 11th time in his short career that he has led a game-winning drive in the 4th quarter or overtime. But he wouldn’t have made it happen without his favorite target, Roddy White, who caught 12 passes for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game. White dropped two key passes late in the fourth quarter, but made up for it with his game-saving touchdown catch.

Unsung Hero of the Game:

The Ravens are known to have one of the better blocking offensive lines in the NFL, but try telling that to Atlanta’s John Abraham, who snuck by star left tackle Michael Oher twice for two sacks. The Falcons lack big name stars on their defensive unit, but Abraham was the biggest star on defense for either team in this contest.

More Game Notes:

Atlanta is now 18-1 at home with Matt Ryan as quarterback and currently appears to be the hottest team in the NFL. Many NFL experts believe the Ravens and the Falcons could possibly face each other again in this year’s Super Bowl, which would pit two of the best young passers in the league in a rematch. Both third-year quarterbacks had outstanding performances Thursday night, with Ryan passing for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns and Flacco passing for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. Flacco came close to pulling off perhaps his greatest comeback victory ever as he erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter. But he simply left too much time on the clock for Ryan.

Next Up:

The Ravens will take the road for another non-conference matchup against the Carolina Panthers next Sunday, while the Falcons travel to St. Louis to take on star rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor