Baltimore Sun staff members analyze the Ravens' 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.
Matt Vensel, reporter/blogger: The Ravens lost their second straight game for the first time since 2009 for myriad reasons, but mainly because they couldn't stop a pair of rookie quarterbacks with the game on the line. Robert Griffin III checked out of the game twice before Kirk Cousins tied the game with a touchdown pass and a run for a two-point conversion. But you can spread the blame around if you're into that. The special teams unit, so great this season, allowed a long punt return in overtime that set up the game-winner. And the offense scored seven points after halftime. Give some credit to the Redskins, though, for winning this thriller of a game.
Edward Lee, reporter: This loss can't be pinned on Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. He organized a solid game plan against a Washington Redskins defense that had been ranked fourth in the NFL against the run. The spotlight should turn to defensive coordinator Dean Pees. After surrendering touchdowns on Washington's first two possessions, the defense managed to contain Robert Griffin III until the final drive. And Kirk Cousins (Kirk Cousins?!) was the quarterback who threw the final touchdown and got the two-point conversion that sent the game into overtime. And special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg will catch some heat for the porous punt coverage that led to Kai Forbath's game-winning 34-yard field goal. This was a bad loss for the Ravens and further endangers their chances of getting to the postseason.
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Peter Schmuck, columnist: This one is going to sting for awhile. The Ravens were up eight points with less than a minute left in regulation and they had put Robert Griffin III on the sideline ... and what happens? Well, you know what happened. Now, it's just a matter of figuring out why this supposed Super Bowl contender can't put the hammer down.
Kevin Cowherd, columnist: Lack of consistency on offense killed the Ravens. They lose a 31-28 heartbreaker in OT after both the passing and running game got shut down in the second half. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice played well in the first half. But the Ravens inexplicably failed to move the ball with any consistency the rest of the way and it gave the Redskins the opening they needed to steal a win in overtime.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Wow, what a game. When RG3 was injured, who would have thought another rookie would lead the Redskins to victory? The Ravens are again burned by Joe Flacco's turnovers, but overall the team played a solid game. It's just that solid isn't good enough in the NFL.
Aaron Wilson, reporter: The Ravens squandered a lead and a potential win for the second consecutive week despite quarterback Joe Flacco outdueling dynamic rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, exploiting mouthy Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall for two touchdown passes to veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Because of a 64-yard punt return allowed in overtime, the Ravens lost the football game. It was a disastrous ending as Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a touchdown pass at the end of regulation followed by his two-point conversion run to tie the score. It's yet another setback for a Baltimore team trying to position itself for the postseason.
Flacco was sharp overall with three touchdown passes, albeit still in need of better pocket awareness and some upgraded pass protection from left offensive tackle Michael Oher. The defense was impressive against Griffin, containing his rare athleticism as Arthur Jones and Paul Kruger each had 1 1/2 sacks. By the end of the game, Griffin was limping around and covered in mud and had to leave the game with a sprained right knee when he got shaken up. The Ravens struggled mightily against bullish rookie running back Alfred Morris.
Ultimately, the Ravens didn't get the job done and earned this loss.
Mike Preston, columnist: Fortunately, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati don't want to win the AFC North. Neither, apparently, do the Ravens.