Derek Carr’s finish in Raiders’ loss imperative despite his injuries


BALTIMORE – The Ravens played one confusing first half. They doubled passes to runs despite a clear advantage on the ground with speed demon quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Baltimore came to its senses during the break. The Ravens whittled the game plan down to one simple task: run right at the NFL’s second-worst rushing defense.

Over and over and over again.

It worked like a charm in Sunday’s 34-17 victory over the Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens had 242 rushing yards on 43 carries, 33 of which came in the second half. The third quarter’s opening drive set a new tone, as the Ravens ran 12 times on a 13 play touchdown drive that established a two-score lead.

“They didn’t make it complicated,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “…When you can establish the inside run, the perimeter offense, all the bells and whistles with Lamar Jackson, they’re very hard to defend. You’ve got to stop the inside run, or you have no chance to stop anything else. They took over the game. Credit to them.”

The Raiders knew what was coming most of the time, and failed to do anything about it. The Raiders interior defensive line has struggled against the run, with little depth to aid the effort when the running never stops.

The Raiders gave up the highest rushing total of the season. That can wear on a defenders psyche, and certainly hindered the Raiders’ ability to slow the Ravens down.

“They got back to what they do best in the second half,” defensive end Arden Key said, “and we couldn’t stop it.”

That kept the ball in Ravens’ possession – they had the ball for 22 minutes in the second half(!!!) — and put serious pressure on the Raiders offense to score every time. Baltimore was scoring consistently, leaving no margin for error.

The offense had just one possession in third quarter and just three in the fourth despite Baltimore scoring a defensive touchdown, killing any positive momentum built in the first half.

“That’s especially true with the way that they played,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “It’s like playing (option offenses) Georgia Tech or Air Force in college. They kill the clock, and you’re not going to get many possessions. In the back of your mind, you know it’s going to be a different game.”

The Raiders scored on their only third-quarter possession, but the wheels game off in the fourth and they failed to keep pace. They went 3-for-13 on third down and we’re able to stay on schedule with early-down success.

When you get behind the sticks and you get down against a good team,” tight end Jared Cook said, “it’s hard to come back.”

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