Falcons Stomped by Ravens in 29-7 Road Loss

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan saw plenty of pressure from the Ravens

The Falcons dropped their fourth consecutive loss with a 29-7 beatdown at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. The Falcons record falls to 2-5. Thanks a to a late score, the Falcons were able to avoid a shutout but their offense struggled throughout the game.

Matt Ryan completed 29 of 44 passes for 228 yards with a touchdown. Ryan was sacked five times, including one that resulted in a fumble. Steven Jackson led the Falcons with 22 yards on the ground on eight carries. Roddy White led receivers with nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones was quiet, catching just five passes for 56 yards. Matt Bryant missed on his lone field goal try, a 57-yard kick that was short. Matt Bosher punted five times for an average of 47.8 yards with one placed inside the 20-yard line. Devin Hester had a trio of kickoff returns for 55 yards and one punt for six yards. The Falcons only converted four of 15 third-down attempts and were one for three on fourth down. The offense finished with 254 total yards, with only 68 coming on the ground in a week where the Falcons sought to create balance.

Defensively, the Falcons showed some life and were competitive for the most part. They allowed only 371 total yards to the Ravens, who only converted four of 11 third downs. The Falcons defense also picked off Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco twice and also got a third turnover on special teams on a muffed punt by Jacoby Jones. Joplo Bartu led the team with 15 tackles. Robert Alford (two tackles, two interceptions); Kroy Biermann (seven tackles, two tackles for loss); Kemal Ishmael (six tackles); Dwight Lowery (seven tackles); Jonathan Massaquoi (six tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits); Desmond Trufant (six tackles, one pass defended); and Paul Worilow (10 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss) had noteworthy performances. Eric Weems recovered Jones’ muffed punt.

The Falcons received the opening kickoff, but Hester was dropped for a meager 12-yard gain. The Falcons offense fared no better on a three-and-out to start the game. White dropped Ryan’s opening pass and Jackson was stopped for no gain on second down. On third down, a screen to Jones was stopped well shy of the sticks, leading to Bosher’s first punt of the game.

The Ravens got their first big play of the game on the third play from scrimmage thanks to a defensive pass interference call on Alford. He was beat deep by wide receiver Torrey Smith, and Alford ran into Smith when he looked back for the ball. That gave the Ravens the ball at the Falcons six-yard line. Three plays later, the Ravens found pay dirt thanks to a five-yard pass to tight end Owen Daniels in front of Worrilow and Josh Wilson. After a five-play scoring drive, the Ravens were up 7-0 with 11:47 left in the first quarter.

The Falcons looked to establish the run on the ensuing series, with Jackson carrying the ball on the first two plays for a combined seven yards. But on third down, Ryan was hit by blitzing safety Will Hill and White couldn’t make the diving grab on the out pattern. Bosher punted after another three-and-out.

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Peter Konz is another offensive linemen the Falcons lost to injury

The Falcons defense stepped up however and force a three-and-out of their own, thanks to Biermann stuffing Forsett for a one-yard loss on second down. That was followed up by Massaquoi putting pressure on and hitting Flacco on third down to force Sam Koch’s punt.

The Falcons turned to Antone Smith on the next series and were able to generate their first first down of the game. On 2nd-and-1, Smith gained four yards on a screen, which he followed up by a pair of carries for 11 yards to get another first down. But on the second run, center Peter Konz went down with injury and the Falcons plugged in rookie James Stone for the remainder of the game. Jacquizz Rodgers picked up the slack two plays later with a seven-yard gain up the middle to put the Falcons in the red zone. But a holding call on Gabe Carimi on the next play backed the Falcons up further. On 1st-and-20 at the Ravens 27-yard line, White dropped another pass. Jones got some yards back on a screen on the next play, gaining 10 yards. But on 3rd-and-10, Pernell McPhee came up the middle to sack Ryan and strip him. Elvis Dumervil jumped on the loose ball and the Ravens took over at the 25-yard line with 4:16 left in the first quarter.

Pressure by Massaquoi forced Ravens left tackle James Hurst to draw his first holding call of the game to back the Ravens up to a 1st-and-20, but that was negated by a defensive holding call on Bartu on the next play. Ravens running back Justin Forsett ran off the left side for a 21-yard gain to get the ball near midfield. After a pair of passes to get the Ravens into Falcons territory, Massaquoi drew another holding call against Hurst as the first quarter came to an end. On the first play of the second quarter, Flacco attempted a deep ball to Torrey Smith, but Alford had great position and picked it off in the end zone.

The Falcons took over at their 20-yard line and got another first down thanks to a six-yard catch by Roddy White on the second play of the drive. But a false start by Jake Matthews backed up the Falcons on the next play and the team was unable to get those yards back. A short throw to Devin Hester on 3rd-and-17 went nowhere and Bosher trotted out on the field for another punt. A 17-yard return by Jacoby Jones after Bosher’s 43-yard punt set up the Ravens near midfield.

The Falcons defense stepped up however, thanks to Worrilow coming unblocked up the middle to get a sack on third down to force another Koch punt.

The Falcons offense started the ensuing drive at their 15-yard line. White caught a seven-yard pass to set up a 3rd-and-1, but Ryan was sacked once more by McPhee, forcing the team’s third three-and-out on five possessions.

The Ravens took a deep shot to open their ensuing possession, but Flacco’s pass was overthrown. The play was further negated by a third holding call against Hurst on Massaquoi. But Daniels made a 19-yard grab over the middle to get those yards back. Two plays later, Massaquoi created more pressure on Flacco, hitting him and forcing a throwaway. But Daniels made another grab for 12 yards over the middle. Four plays later, Torrey Smith made a grab over the middle for 20 yards, running down to the one-yard line until Trufant forced him down. That set up a one-yard touchdown by running back Bernard Pierce on the next play, pushing Baltimore’s lead to 14-0 with 2:38 left in the first half.

The Falcons had another three-and-out thanks to pressure getting to Ryan on 3rd-and-12, forcing his pass to Levine Toilolo to be off the mark. Bosher booted the ball 49 yards, but Jacoby Jones muffed the kick and Eric Weems was there to fall on the loose ball. That gave Atlanta the ball back at the Ravens’ 37-yard line with a new set of downs. But Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil dropped Ryan for a sack, causing the Falcons offense to lose eight yards. They were unable to make up for the loss of yardage and linebacker Jimmy Smith jumped a throw to Hester over the middle. That set up a 57-yard field goal for Matt Bryant with 42 seconds left in the half. On a gusty day, Bryant’s kick was accurate, but didn’t have enough distance as it hit the front crossbar.

With 37 seconds left in the half, the Ravens took over at their 47-yard line. Flacco hit on a pair of passes to Daniels and Torrey Smih to set up a 38-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, which he hit with time expiring to give the Ravens a 17-0 lead at halftime.

The Ravens received the ball to start the second half. The Falcons defense got a pair of stops to set up a 3rd-and-6, but Steve Smith was able to break loose on a screen for a 49-yard gain to set up the Ravens at the Falcons’ 28-yard line. But the Falcons were able to get a stop in the backfield three plays later thanks to Biermann and Ra’Shede Hageman. Tucker set up for another 38-yard field goal, pushing Baltimore’s lead to 20-0 with 11:28 left in the third quarter.

Ryan dialed up White on the opening play of the next series, hitting him for a 23-yard gain, the team’s longest gain of the day up to that point. White caught another pass from Ryan a few plays later, a 15-yard gain that gave the Falcons their first third-down conversion of the game. That play put the ball in Ravens territory, but the Falcons offense stalled. Ryan’s next pass to White was nearly picked off by corner Dominique Franks, who juggled the pass but couldn’t secure the pass before stepping out of bounds. The Falcons opted to go for it on 4th-and-7, and Ryan was sacked again by Dumervil.

That play gave Baltimore the ball at their 44-yard line to start the next series. Forsett carried the ball three times for 17 yards to move the ball into Falcon territory. Wide receiver Kamar Aiken caught an 18-yard pass to put the Ravens in the red zone. Two plays later, Torrey Smith dropped a slant where he had a clear path to the end zone. The Falcons took advantage of the Ravens’ missed opportunity as Alford made a leaping grab at the goal line on a pass to Daniels on the next play. Alford returned the pick 21 yards. After the play, Steve Smith was flagged for a personal foul while fighting with Kemal Ishmael, giving the Falcons an additional 15 yards to set up them up at their 35-yard line to start the next drive.

The Falcons converted another third down on that drive thanks to a 20-yard play from Hester, which also put the ball in Ravens territory. On their next third down, Freeman ran left for a two-yard gain to set up a 4th-and-1. The Falcons attempted a play-action pass to Freeman, but he was stopped a yard shy of the line by an excellent open-field tackle by Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb. The Falcons turned it over on downs on the final play of the third quarter.

The Ravens moved the ball into Falcons territory thanks to a 17-yard catch by Michael Campanaro on third down on the ensuing drive. Four plays later, Massaquoi ,are a stop in the backfield against Lorenzo Taliaferro to force the Ravens into a 3rd-and-14. Trufant jumped the slant to Steve Smith on the ensuing play, but dropped the interception. The Ravens punted, and the Falcons took over with 9:57 left in the game at their 10-yard line.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

White set a new touchdown record for Falcons receiver

Ryan hit Jones on the biggest play of the day for the Falcons offense, a 24-yard pass to open the drive. But Ryan could not connect to White on the next play with another deep pass. Pressure flushed Ryan on the next play, but he managed to scramble away and find an open Toilolo for a 17-yard gain to put the ball in Ravens territory. White made a 15-yard grab two plays later, but pressure from McPhee forced Ryan to throw it away on the next play. Ryan took a shot at the end zone, but Jones couldn’t make the over-the-shoulder grab on the deep ball. Ryan’s scrambling skills came in handy on the next play, avoiding a sack on third down and finding White for a 21-yard gain to get in the red zone. Hester made a five-yard grab on the ensuing play, but a face mask penalty on Jimmy Smith gave the Faclons an additional four yards to set up 1st-and-goal from the four-yard line. White outmuscled Dominique Franks in the end zone for the touchdown, a score that set a new team record for touchdowns scored (58) by a receiver. The Falcons were finally on the board, down 20-7 with 7:12 left in the game.

The Ravens proceeded to try and run out the clock and were able to keep the clock moving thanks to a four-yard scramble by Flacco on a 3rd-and-1. But the Falcons run defense wouldn’t let them convert the next third down and the Ravens punted with 4:05 left in the game. Hester returned the punt 18 yards, but an illegal block penalty on Patrick DiMarco backed up the Falcons to their own 10-yard line.

A false start penalty on Carimi backed up the Falcons five yards further to start the drive. Ryan’s first pass on 1st-and-15 was nearly picked by Webb, who jumped a throw to Jones. On second down, Dumervil beat Carimi to nearly get a safety, but Ryan was able to throw the ball away at the last second. But Ryan would not have such luck on the next play, as Terrell Suggs came up the middle on a stunt to get the sack and safety.

The Ravens got the ball after the pooch kick at the Falcons’ 40-yard line. They proceeded to try and run out the clock, bleeding it down to the two-minute warning. But rather than punt, the Ravens went for it on fourth down and Flacco hit Torrey Smith on a 39-yard bomb over Alford for a touchdown to push their lead to 29-7 with 1:46 left in the game.

Ryan hit Jones on an eight-yard screen pass to start the Falcons’ final possession of the game. Two plays later, Ryan’s pass to Toilolo was nearly picked by Darian Stewart, setting up a 4th-and-2. White’s four-yard grab converted on fourth down with only 49 seconds left. The Falcons’ no-huddle offense was able to get the ball into Ravens territory after three more plays. On the final play of the game, Freeman took a draw play 18 yards before Stewart tackled him at the Ravens’ 27-yard line.

The Falcons will travel to London, England next week to “host” the Detroit Lions in what is considered a home game, but obviously is not truly. The Falcons have won their last three meetings against the Lions dating back to 2008. Their most recent win was a 31-18 win in 2012. Since the NFL began the yearly series in London in 2007, the “home” team sports a 2-7 record.

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Aaron Freeman
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