The Sunday Spotlight: Rookies and the defense aid Ravens in 34-17 win over Raiders

Photo credit: @Ravens

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for a score and ran for another, and linebacker Terrell Suggs returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown helping the Ravens dispatch the visiting Oakland Raiders, 34-17 on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Rookie running back Gus Edwards rushed for 118 yards on 23 carries, his second-straight game that he’s rushed for over 100 yards. Edwards, who went undrafted in this year’s NFL draft out of Rutgers, rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries last week in Baltimore’s 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ravens backup cornerback Cyrus Jones took a punt 70 yards to for a touchdown that helped the Ravens (6-5) win for back-to-back games for the first time since September.

The Ravens would carry a 13-10 halftime lead into the locker room.

On the Ravens’ first drive in the third quarter, Jackson would lead the Ravens on a 13-play, 75-yard drive in 6:50 that ended in a 5-yard scoring run by the Louisville product that pushed Baltimore’s lead to 20-10.

Following a Derek Carr 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook (who made an unbelievable one-handed catch as he’s falling to the ground) that cut Baltimore’s lead to 20-17, Jackson would engineer a 17-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up 8:51 off the clock that was capped off by an 8-yard slant-route touchdown catch by former Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree that extended the Ravens’ lead to 27-17.

Crabtree, who was cut in the offseason by Oakland, finished with three catches for 21 yards on six targets.

Baltimore relied heavily on the running game that kept the Raiders off balance for most of the day, as Jackson led Baltimore on two touchdown drives that consumed 16 minutes of game time stretching from the third into the fourth quarter.

Oakland’s 31st-ranked running defense couldn’t stop the Ravens on Sunday, allowing 242 rushing yards on 43 attempts.

Jackson, who started at quarterback for the second-straight week in place of regular starter Joe Flacco whose been dealing with a injured right hip, did throw two interceptions on passes that were tipped but otherwise, played efficiently for Baltimore.

After not recording a sack through three quarters, the Ravens finally started to get pressure on Carr, sacking the Raiders starting quarterback on three-straight plays in the fourth quarter. Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon, who entered Week 12 with just three sacks on the season, recorded all three sacks on Carr.

Judon’s first sack resulted in a Carr fumble that was quickly scooped up by linebacker Terrell Suggs who then raced 43 yards for a touchdown that made the score 34-17, ending any hope for the Raiders.

Carr threw for 194 yards and one touchdown on 16-of-34 passes for Oakland (2-9), who scored a touchdown on their first possession for the second-straight week. Carr led Oakland on a 12-play, 81-yard drive in 6:15 that included a 30-yard completion to backup tight end Lee Smith on fourth-and-1 that was capped off by running back Doug Martin’s 1-yard touchdown run.

The scoring play for Martin was his first of the season for the Silver and Black. Martin scored his last touchdown last October as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Martin recorded 72 yards total (51 rushing and 21 receiving) on 14 touches (11 rushes and 3 catches) for the game. Second-year wide receiver Marcell Ateman was the only other Raider with three catches, finishing with just 21 yards. Ateman led the team with 10 targets.

Wide receiver Seth Roberts led Oakland with 54 yards receiving on two catches. Roberts’ 44-yard catch from Carr in the third quarter would setup tight end Jared Cook’s 16-yard touchdown catch that made the score 20-10 following a 5-yard touchdown run by Jackson to begin the third quarter.

For the second straight week, the Raiders’ defense recorded two interceptions with safeties Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist each notching a takeaway.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead recorded 14 tackles and linebacker Nicholas Morrow recorded just the 10th sack by Oakland this season in the first quarter.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, the Raiders return home to face the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time this season. Kansas City (9-2) who is currently on a bye week, leads the AFC West and are coming off a wild 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 18 in a game that was originally set to take place at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The Ravens will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in Week 13.