This one could have gone either way, as both teams were somewhat equally abused by the replacement refs who rarely had a clue...
But the bottom line is: Eagles 24, Ravens 23...
Here's guest writer Joe Platania's account:
"Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh lived out author Thomas Wolfe's vision Sunday in Philadelphia, and they're none too pleased about it."...
Wolfe coined the phrase "you can't go home again," and the New Jersey-bred Flacco, as well as ex-Philadelphia Eagles assistant Harbaugh, saw themselves and the Ravens lose a tough, physical game at Lincoln Financial Field, 24-23.
The loss is especially vexing considering the Ravens' Week Two road problems during previous years. It is the team's third straight loss in that spot (2-6 lifetime), and it came to a team that committed four turnovers -- nine in two weeks -- and yet has managed to win both games.
It was only the Ravens' second loss in 60 games since 2000 in which they won the turnover battle by at least two, the other defeat coming in New England two years ago.
That's because the Eagles -- 2-0 for the first time in eight years after their first home-opener win since 2008 -- controlled the time of possession (over 34 minutes) and ground out 486 yards of total offense to win a game that saw plenty of scuffles and post-whistle altercations. At one point, Ravens defensive line coach Clarence Brooks was seen on the field yelling at several of the Eagles.
There were also injuries to key players such as strong safety Bernard Pollard (rib contusion) -- which is not considered serious -- and, late in the game, linebacker Courtney Upshaw (shoulder).
"Obviously, a tough football game," Harbaugh said. "The Eagles competed right down to the end. They found a way to win the game and made plays. And I like the way our guys competed.
"It was a chaotic football game out there and it did not go our way."
While it may be tough to win on the road in the NFL, the Ravens' 4-4 away mark last year ended up costing them the top AFC playoff seed. The team promised Week Two would be different this year, especially since the Ravens (1-1 for a third straight year) had won six of their last seven games against NFC teams.
The Eagles took the lead for good when quarterback Michael Vick (23-for-32, 371 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, two sacks, 94.7 rating; 10 rushes for 34) capped an 80-yard, 10-play drive by bulling into the end zone over left guard to give his team a one-point advantage with 1:55 left in the game. Vick, who was not spied by the Ravens' defense, directed the drive behind his team's only five healthy offensive linemen.
Flacco (22-for-42 for 232 yards, one touchdown, one interception, two sacks, 66.8 rating), who had a wildly-inaccurate second half (9-for-26), then had to drive his team into field-goal range with two timeouts remaining. After a first down, the Eagles were called for illegal contact on the sidelines at the Ravens' 38-yard line.
But Flacco, facing a 4th-and-2 with 54 seconds left at the 46, hurried a pass into the flat, which was too high for a blanketed Ray Rice. The Eagles got the ball back on downs and ran out the clock.
"All losses are pretty painful," Flacco said. "It was a hard-fought game all day, and it was pretty painful. [The Eagles] did a good job all day in putting people in the box and putting pressure on our receivers.
"It was a pretty physical game against a physical team. I got my ribs rolled up on early in the second half... I might sound a little bit like a baby, but there was a lot of holding and grabbing going on out there."
The Ravens looked to be in control late in the third quarter after safety Ed Reed caught a deflected pass for his 59th career interception. Following that, wide-out Torrey Smith got past cornerback Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie -- who had two interceptions in Week One -- for an over-the-shoulder catch at the Eagles' 24.
A holding penalty on center Matt Birk nearly killed the drive, but Flacco was roughed on a third-and-18 pass, giving the visitors a first down at the 16.
Flacco was then sacked by DeMeco Ryans. The ex-Houston Texan got past Rice's block, but Justin Tucker's 51-yard field goal with 11:28 left put the Ravens in front, 20-17.
The Eagles could take some solace, because their defense had allowed just three third-down conversions all year and held the Ravens to just one in their first nine opportunities.
But midway through the fourth quarter, Rice (99 yards on 16 carries; 53 yards on six catches) converted two straight third-down plays, including a gain of 36 yards on a short pass against a blitz that put the ball on the Eagles' 23.
But while the Ravens, who scored just seven points off the early turnovers, did drive to near midfield to open the third quarter, a third-and-2 pass intended for tight end Dennis Pitta (eight catches, 65 yards) was picked off by Ryans. It was the first of four possessions that resulted in a Baltimore turnover, no first downs and three punts.
After getting the ball back, Vick soon faced a crucial third-and-6, but he completed a sideline-pass to DeSean Jackson (seven catches, 114 yards) for a first down at the Ravens' 30. Running back LeSean McCoy (25 rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown) then burst up the middle for nine more yards.
Two plays later, Vick rolled to his left and hit Jeremy Maclin, who was alone in the end zone, for his first catch of the day. The touchdown cut the Ravens' lead to three points. Ravens cornerback Cary Williams thought he had safety help behind him, but there was none to be found.
It was the Eagles' second touchdown off a Ravens turnover, and when Flacco's three straight incompletions resulted in a three-and-out, Philadelphia had re-established its early momentum.
Behind Vick and tight end Brent Celek, the Eagles drove all the way down to the Ravens' 24. But Vick's third-down scramble came up short, setting up kicker Alex Henery's 23-yard field goal to tie the game.
Vick looked more decisive then last week against Cleveland, when he threw four interceptions and was hit numerous times. That said, he had an ominous start against the Ravens.
After driving the Eagles deep into Baltimore territory on their very first possession, Vick looked to the end zone from 13 yards out. But his throw to Clay Harbor was underthrown and safety Bernard Pollard made a diving interception to end the drive. The Ravens, however, would return the favor.
On Baltimore's second play from scrimmage, a reconfigured offensive line that had played well in the Week One win over Cincinnati broke down. Left tackle Michael Oher was beaten around the edge by defensive end Trent Cole. Cole stripped the ball from Flacco and teammate Cullen Jenkins recovered at the Ravens' 20. The Eagles were again set up in prime scoring position, and after meeting some resistance from the defense, McCoy scored from 7 yards out.
To that point, the first quarter was Philadelphia's. They had run 15 of the game's first 17 offensive plays and held the ball for all but 40 seconds of the game's first 9:30. But the Ravens' no-huddle offense helped them swing the momentum. Before Flacco and the offense took the field, Deonte Thompson set them up with a 49-yard kick return to the Ravens' 42.
Ed Dickson then hauled in a 23-yard pass to the Eagles' 35 before Rice ripped off a pair of 6-yard runs up the middle. Pitta then got free on the right side for an 8-yard catch.
Rice took a second-and-2 handoff for 4 yards to the 12 and Anquan Boldin ran a dig route from left to right and got to the Eagles' 5-yard line. Fullback Vonta Leach then took a handoff, bounced off a tackler and romped into the end zone to tie the game at 7.
After an exchange of possessions, the Eagles were once again on the move and had the ball inside the Ravens' red zone. But running back Bryce Brown fumbled on third-and-1 and linebacker Albert McClellan pounced on it. Rice then took over by following a good pull block from rookie right tackle Kelechi Osemele, cutting back twice and running 43 yards to the Eagles' 27.
Receiver Tandon Doss followed by grabbing his first NFL catch before Flacco's well-placed sideline throw to Jones resulted in a 21-yard go-ahead touchdown, his first as a Raven.
The Ravens' defense proceeded to rise up and force an Eagles punt before the end of the half. Tucker ended the second quarter with a Ravens' record-tying 56-yard field goal that gave Baltimore a 17-7 halftime lead.
At that point, Flacco and Harbaugh looked like homecoming kings. Slowly but surely, however, the Eagles reduced them to junior-varsity status.Team Stat Comparison BALPHI 1st Downs 17 26 Passing 1st downs 9 17 Rushing 1st downs 5 7 1st downs from Penalties 3 2 3rd down efficiency 4-14 7-15 4th down efficiency 0-2 1-1 Total Plays 65 75 Total Yards 325 486 Yards per play 5.0 6.5 Total Drives 15 14 Passing 214 357 Comp - Att 22-42 23-32 Yards per pass 5.1 11.2 Interceptions thrown 1 2 Sacks - Yards Lost 2-18 2-14 Rushing 111 129 Rushing Attempts 21 41 Yards per rush 5.3 3.1 Red Zone (Made-Att) 1-2 2-5 Penalties 6-45 7-58 Turnovers 2 4 Fumbles lost 1 2 Interceptions thrown 1 2 Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0 Possession 25:39 34:21
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