The Baltimore Ravens suffered from what was easily their worst offensive performance of the season in a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 29 in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Ravens struggled both in the passing game and running game offensively. They initially tried to run the ball early in the first half, but failed to move the ball at all on the ground, rushing just seven times for 15 yards through the first two quarters.

Baltimore eventually abandoned the running game all together after falling behind, 20-7 at halftime. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco went on to throw on nearly every play in the second half and tossed two touchdowns as Baltimore cut into the lead. But the lack of balance on offense hurt the Ravens as Flacon became predictable and was picked off for a career-worst five interceptions by Buffalo’s defense.

One of Flacco’s interceptions came as the Ravens trailed 23-20 with about a minute left in the game. Baltimore only needed about 30 more yards to get into field goal range, but Flacco forced a pass down field that was tipped in the air and into the hands of Bills rookie linebacker Kiko Alonzo. The Flacco pick allowed Buffalo to kneel on the ball and drain the clock for the tight victory.

Flacco completed 25-of-50 passes for 347 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. Ravens receiver Torrey Smith caught five passes for 166 yards, including a 74-yard catch and a 26-yard touchdown reception.

Rice ran for just 17 yards on five carries, while reserve running back Bernard Pierce had just seven yards on 4 carries.

Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel led the Bills with 167 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Manuel is one of nine African-American quarterbacks currently starting in the NFL, the most Black quarterbacks to start at the same time in NFL history.

Manuel mainly hooked up with rookie receiver Robert Woods, who caught four passes for 80 yards and a 42-yard touchdown.

But Buffalo did most of its damage offensively by running the ball, gaining 203 total yards rushing. Veteran running back Fred Jackson ran for 87 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while fellow Bills running back C.J. Spiller ran for 77 yards on 23 carries.

The Ravens dropped to a 2-2 record and will next face the Miami Dolphins, which entered the weekend with a 3-0 record on Oct. 6 in Miami, Fla.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor