There was significant debate among fans and analysts over how much the Ravens would miss Suggs after he suffered a season-ending torn Achilles in Denver. I’m still not sure we know, because the defense failed in so many ways against a seemingly-weak opponent.
It seemed curious that, with Suggs gone, we saw few of the delayed or cornerback/safety blitzes that worked so well against Denver. Instead, the Ravens started the game rushing three, even in obvious passing situations, and put very little heat on Carr.
The edge rush was absent, but the middle of their defensive front played equally poorly. Timmy Jernigan, who started after missing Week 1, made little positive impact and drew a horrid roughing the passer penalty to aid Oakland’s game-winning drive. Brandon Williams (one tackle) wasn’t the playmaker he’d been against Denver.
It was telling that the team’s linebackers and defensive backs accounted for nearly every tackle. The Ravens didn’t manage a single tackle for loss.
But this was no banner effort for the secondary, either.
The Raiders hadn’t gotten anything going in a 33-13 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. But on the first series of the game, rookie receiver Amari Cooper flat out beat Jimmy Smith for a 68-yard touchdown to put the Ravens in a 7-0 hole.
In the second quarter, Lardarius Webb inexplicably gave up on covering Michael Crabtree when Carr rolled out of the pocket. That left Crabtree beyond wide open to catch a 37-yard pass that set up another Raiders touchdown.
Carr, a talented but largely unproven passer, went 16-for-22 for 228 yards in the first half — Tom Brady numbers.
In the third quarter, Webb fell down and left Crabtree ridiculously open again. Carr, running free with no rushers in sight, found him for a 29-yard touchdown to put the Ravens down two scores. The multi-pronged futility about summed up the defense’s day.