Notes: On third down, Ravens and Titans go in different directions

The Ravens did not take long Sunday to confront their Week 5 third-down woes.

Their first play on offense was a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Their fourth was a third-and-10, the down and distance of the Ravens’ final play with the ball in their 12-9 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

In that overtime defeat, quarterback Joe Flacco’s pass to tight end Hayden Hurst was incomplete, their 12th failed conversion on 16 third-down attempts.

Against the Titans, Flacco found running back Buck Allen open in the flat for an 11-yard catch-and-run, just good enough for a first down. They were more than good enough for the rest of the game.

The Ravens converted 10 of their first 11 third downs in their 21-0 win, finishing 12-for-17 overall. They moved the chains with short runs and long passes. They kept their first drive alive with a timely third-down penalty on the Titans, then ended it with a 4-yard pass to Crabtree on, you guessed it, third down.

“I think I’ve been there as a player,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of his team’s third-down woes against the Ravens, who entered the game ranked 10th in the NFL in conversion percentage (.418). “As a coach, you’re trying to find some answers, you’re trying to get into the pocket, you’re trying to cover them. Again, we didn’t do a good enough job of starting with the plan, starting with the preparation, and then obviously today with the execution.”

The Titans, meanwhile, more than lived down to their offensive reputation. They converted one of 10 overall, dragging down their No. 24 ranking for third-down proficiency even further.

Six of the Ravens’ first eight sacks, and seven of 11 overall, came on third down, giving punter Brett Kern a busy day on the job.

He finished with nine punts; Ravens punter Sam Koch had just four.

End zone

The Ravens allowed 106 yards overall, the second fewest in franchise history. Only a 94-yard effort against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000 ranks ahead. ... The Ravens allowed 51 net passing yards, the fewest in franchise history. They held the Washington Redskins to 55 in 2004. ... The Ravens' shutout was their 14th all time, ranking as the NFL's most since the franchise's inception in 1996. 

jshaffer@baltsun.com

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