Taking a step back, losing 26-21 in Atlanta isn’t a killer for the Baltimore Ravens. It was out of conference, on the road, against a quality opponent.
It will probably be tough for the proud Ravens defense to take the long view, however, after what transpired in the final minute. Joe Flacco completed a fantastic fourth quarter comeback, and handed the ball over to the defense to close it out. They gave up an 80-yard, seven-play drive in 45 seconds to lose the game.
“We let them off the hook,” safety Ed Reed said after the game. “We let them off the hook.”
Matt Ryan didn’t exactly move the ball at will (6.3 yards per attempt), but this was another sign the Ravens defense isn’t as good as we’re used to seeing. They may have been worn down in the key moments, having been on the field for more than 35 minutes.
Ranked ninth in yards allowed going into Thursday, the Ravens defense has been good this season but not great. They have struggled at times to stop the run. (Although they made sure to shut down Michael Turner to the tune of 39 yards on 17 attempts.) Their lack of turnovers Thursday and inability to get off the field on third down did them in.
The Ravens may have their best offense in franchise history. Coach John Harbaugh has a veteran group on both sides of the ball that should peak late. That’s good, because to this point Baltimore’s defense hasn’t dominated like we’ve come to expect.