The fifth time was the charm for the Bills on Sunday.
The Ravens hung around and hung around despite four interceptions by quarterback Joe Flacco, but they couldn’t overcome number five. Flacco was picked off by Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso with less than a minute to go in the game, killing their chance to tie or win the game and handing the Bills a 23-20 home win.
The game looked to be firmly in the Bills’ pocket after Flacco’s fourth interception of the day, but they could only turn it into a field goal after Robert Woods was ruled out on a near-catch in the end zone. That left the door open for the Ravens, even as they failed to score touchdowns on two fourth quarter drives deep into Buffalo territory and ran an offense that featured just two running plays after halftime even as Flacco kept turning the ball over.
That might not have been the wrong call, given that the Ravens managed just 22 yards on their nine carries, but it made for a very ineffective offensive effort for the Ravens overall. Buffalo’s own ineffectiveness, which included a pair of interceptions by E.J. Manuel, left the door open, though. Alonso finally nailed it shut with his second interception of the game and the fourth of his rookie season. Any last ditch shot of a Hail Mary went by the wayside when linebacker Terrell Suggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Manuel as he took a knee.
Flacco finished the day 25-of-50 for 347 yards and two touchdowns to go with the five interceptions. The offensive struggles are sure to be a focal point in Baltimore this week as the Ravens couldn’t move the ball consistently at all. That they were in it at all is a credit to the defense, but one unit can’t win on its own.
Buffalo proves that point. Manuel didn’t play well, but their running game allowed them to maintain possession and limit the chances that Baltimore had to come back as much as possible. That was enough to give the undermanned defense a chance to hold off the Ravens and pick up their second win of the season.