As Joe Flacco’s play-action pass found Dennis Pitta open in the middle of the end zone for a 17-3 lead, it became all the more clear that the Ravens’ offense is so much more comfortable operating on home soil.
Back in Baltimore for the first time in a month, the Ravens are dominating in almost every area. Aside from a Michael Huff interception that set up the Raiders’ only score, Baltimore hasn’t done much wrong.
The Ravens were outgaining the Raiders 175-96 before Oakland’s current drive with Flacco completing 10 of 13 passes for 152 yards, a touchdown and a pick.
The tight ends have been the most significant benefactors, as Ed Dickson and Pitta have combined for eight receptions for 89 yards and a score.
The defense has been better against the run, better at tackling, better at pressuring the quarterback. And Paul Kruger just tipped a Carson Palmer pass before intercepting it to give the Ravens back the ball across midfield.
So the margin could increase in a matter of minutes.
Update: That could prove to be a costly drive, even though Justin Tucker’s 34-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 20-3 lead.
Pitta was taken to the locker room after a personal foul for a hit to the back of his head. Still waiting to hear on his status.
But the Ravens are comfortably ahead with their offensive performance at M&T Bank Stadium continuing to be far better than it is anywhere else. They have rhythm and production at a completely different level when they can communicate with more ease in front of a cooperative crowd.
Baltimore is on its way to a 400-yard day if it keeps this going and the points continue to pile up.
Update II: Spoke too soon about the defense? Ed Reed’s torn labrum just might - read, definitely - is causing him problems when it comes to tackling.
He just missed a huge one on Oakland wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey, just bumping into the speedster, who shrugged off the defender and sprinted the rest of the way to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown reception. That cuts the Ravens’ lead to 20-10 late in the first half.
In other news, Pitta is back out there. He just made a 27-yard catch.
Update III: The Ravens’ offense continues to soar, however, responding to the Heyward-Bey touchdown with seven points.
The last few minutes of the first half were a shootout with Baltimore answering the Raiders’ 80-yard, 1:39 drive with a seven-play, 80-yard push that lasted just 1:13.
Ray Rice punctuated it with a 7-yard touchdown run that gives the Ravens a 27-10 lead with 24 seconds on the clock.
Baltimore has 266 yards while Oakland has 200 at halftime. Ravens tight ends have seven receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Flacco has completed 15 of 21 passes for 225 yards. Palmer has passed for 198 yards. They each have one touchdown throw and one interception. It’s remarkable just how much better Flacco looks at home for the reasons mentioned above.
Update IV: The rout is on. It took the Ravens less than two minutes to put another long scoring drive together, this time a 70-yarder that lasted just 1:18.
Flacco ended it with a 47-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Torrey Smith, and Baltimore leads 34-10 early in the second half.
Flacco is up to 277 passing yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
Update V: Perhaps I misspoke. The shootout is on. The Raiders just drove right down, again, needing just seven plays and 3:11 to move 80 yards for another touchdown.
Palmer’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore makes it 34-17 with 10:31 to go in the third quarter. Palmer now has 262 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception while Oakland has amassed 280 yards against Baltimore.
The Ravens still have doubled up the Raiders on the scoreboard and have permitted just 29 yards on the ground.
Update VI: After the Ravens punted for the first time today, the Raiders fumbled it and James Ihedigbo recovered at the Oakland 20.
One play later, Baltimore upped its lead to 41-17 on Flacco’s second touchdown pass to Smith, this time for 20 yards. Flacco has thrown for 297 yards and three touchdowns while the Ravens’ offense is up to 343 yards.