Carroll County Times

Ravens notebook: Ravens struggle against Redskins' passing game

LANDOVER - A blown assignment from reserve cornerback Chris Johnson and Pierre Garcon was left wide open in the corner of the end zone. Redskins backup Kirk Cousins found Garcon for a decisive 11-yard scoring pass before running in for a game-tying two-point conversion moments later to force overtime.

The fourth quarter touchdown pass to Garcon was the culmination of a frustrating afternoon for the Ravens' pass defense.

Washington finished with nine passes that went for gains of 15 yards or longer, including two that helped the Redskins drive 85 yards for a game-tying score in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, a drive that ended with Cousins' scoring pass to Garcon.

Robert Griffin finished 15-of-26 for 246 yards with a touchdown. He was injured early on the late fourth quarter drive, left the game for one play, but returned briefly before giving way to Cousins after guiding Washington to the Ravens' 26-yard line.

Cousins followed by tossing a 15-yard pass to Leonard Hankerson and the 11-yard touchdown pass to Garcon.

"Our defense is [prided] on not giving up the big play," Johnson said. "But today, they just made a couple more plays than we did, and they came out on top."

The Ravens' pass defense has surrendered 14 passing plays of 15 yards or longer during its last six quarters of action, including the nine Sunday.

Steelers third-string quarterback Charlie Batch threw for 276 yards and a touchdown in leading Pittsburgh to a comeback victory against Baltimore last week. Batch was 16-of-20 for 219 yards with the scoring pass in the second half, a half during which he completed five passes that went for gains of 15 yards or longer.

The Ravens host Peyton Manning and the Broncos next week. Manning has thrown for an average of 302 yards in his last 11 games with 27 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions during that stretch.

"We have practice [Monday] and we're going to go back, make corrections and figure out what we've got to do to get ready for Denver," Baltimore safety Ed Reed said.

SUGGS DOESN'T PLAY: Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was inactive Sunday, sidelined by the torn right biceps he suffered during Baltimore's loss to the Steelers last week.

Suggs practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, and he was listed as questionable for the game, but didn't even take part in pre-game warmups come Sunday.

Sunday represented the first game since Suggs was drafted in 2003 that neither he nor Ray Lewis played.

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (ankle), tight end Ed Dickson (sprained knee) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (sports hernia surgery) were also inactive for Baltimore.

Defensive lineman Bryan Hall, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and wide receiver/kick returner Deonte Thompson were healthy scratches.

PASS RUSHING TANDEM: Outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Arthur Jones combined for a sack of Griffin late in the fourth quarter after each had already recorded a sack earlier in the game.

Kruger now has sacks in five straight games, which is tied for a team record.

Kruger has six and a half sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception during that five-game stretch. He leads the Ravens with eight sacks.

Jones has a sack streak of his own, now having recorded sacks in three straight weeks.

After failing to record a sack through the first 26 games of his career, Jones has four and a half sacks in the last three games.

RARE LOSING STREAK: The Ravens have now lost back-to-back games for the first since October of 2009.

Prior to Sunday, Baltimore had won 15 straight games following a loss.

INJURIES: Ravens Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was on crutches following the game after suffering a sprained right ankle on Baltimore's second play of overtime.

Linebacker Jameel McClain left with a neck injury during the third quarter, but Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said after the game that X-rays on McClain's neck were negative.

Fullback Vonta Leach (sprained ankle) and running back Ray Rice also sustained injuries Sunday. Harbaugh didn't elaborate on the severity of either injury, but both were able to finish the game.