Ravens’ offense unable to provide encore, plus Pollard update

PHILADELPHIA - The Ravens clearly aren’t going to have the kind of rhythmic, up-tempo, efficient and effective attack they had against the Bengals every week.

Baltimore failed to provide a victorious encore in Sunday’s 24-23 heartbreaker, even though the Eagles committed four turnovers in a sloppy performance that almost negated the fact that they racked up 486 yards.

The Ravens were only able to answer with 325 total yards. Quarterback Joe Flacco, who had been so impressive in the opener and so efficient in the first half, went 8-for-25 with an interception in the second half, in a performance as fizzling as Week 1 was sizzling.

Overall, he passed for 232 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Tailback Ray Rice added 16 carries for 99 yards plus six catches for 53. Tight end Dennis Pitta continued his hot start with eight receptions for 65 yards.

Most glaring was the fact that Baltimore converted just four of 14 third downs, and couldn’t sustain drives because of it. The Ravens punted twice against the Bengals, but five times against Philadelphia.

“We’ve just got to find a way to stay on the field on third downs,” fullback Vonta Leach said. “When we’d get off the field, it kind of messed up our tempo, and not only our tempo. We get less plays ... when we’re not converting on third down.

“We was on target. We did a lot of good things out there. We just didn’t stay on the field (on) third down and when you don’t stay on the field (on) third down, that’s what happens.”

The Ravens (1-1) led by as many as 10 points in the contest, at 17-7 after the first half, and held a 23-17 advantage with less than two minutes to go. But they couldn’t hold off the Eagles.

Even though the go-ahead drive was tainted by the controversy of an overturned Michael Vick fumble, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata believed the Eagles just beat the Ravens on a 10-play, 80-yard possession which led to the final score.

“They did a great job of driving the ball down on us, and staying alive,” Ngata said. “Vick was able to make some plays on his feet and with his arm. We just have to do a better job to tighten it up and we must learn from this and move on with the rest of the season.”

Rookie kicker Justin Tucker had a fantastic game, and improved to a perfect 6-for-6 on field-goal tries this season with three makes from 48 yards and beyond, including two longer than 50.

His 56-yarder tied the Ravens franchise record.

“I was very happy with the way I struck the ball today, but in the end, we did not get the win and that is what I would’ve wanted,” Tucker said. “I am pleased with the microcosm of the event that I had today with the 56-yard field goal, but ultimately, I would’ve rather won the game.”

Injury-wise, the Ravens didn’t escape unscathed. Safety Bernard Pollard, who was off to a stellar start with an interception in the end zone and a couple of wince-inducing hits, suffered a rib contusion that shelved him for the last three quarters.

“It’s not broke,” Pollard said. “The painful part is not being able to go back out there and help my boys.

“I’ll do what I can because I’ve got to help my boys next week because there’s nothing worse than watching from the bench.”