After punting on their opening possession, the Ravens had yet another slow start on defense once the Bills got the ball.
Much like last week when the Texans opened with a 16-play drive, Buffalo started with an 11-play, 64-yard possession, with EJ Manuel passing for 38 yards and C.J. Spiller rushing for 25.
But also much like last week, the Ravens kept the Bills out of the end zone. Buffalo had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Dan Carpenter for a 3-0 lead. Linebacker Terrell Suggs made it happen by sacking Manuel on third down at the Baltimore 7. That was Suggs’ fourth sack in four games this season.
The Ravens offense couldn’t build on that stop, as Joe Flacco was intercepted Aaron Williams on the ensuing drive. The Bills are already in the red zone and close to increasing their lead.
Update: The Ravens again stopped Buffalo in the red zone, and the Bills doubled their lead to 6-0 on another 27-yard field goal by Carpenter.
Buffalo stalled when Arthur Jones tackled Spiller for a 2-yard loss on second down from the 12. Manuel kept the ball himself on third down, but went down two yards short of a first down.
Update II: The Baltimore defense did its job in the red zone to keep the Bills close, and the Ravens offense took advantage.
On the first play of the second quarter, Chris Canty forced Manuel to fumble and defensive tackle Brandon Williams, making his NFL debut, recovered to give Baltimore the ball at the Bills’ 27.
Flacco connected with Dallas Clark for a 17-yard gain on second down before rookie Marlon Brown caught a 10-yard touchdown pass over a Buffalo defensive back for a 7-6 Ravens lead one minute into the second quarter.
Those two forced field goals are looking huge right now.
Update III: Well, apparently the Ravens defense isn’t completely allergic to touchdowns.
Manuel completed a 42-yard scoring pass to Robert Woods to return the lead to the Bills at 13-7. That marks the first time a team has scored a touchdown on Baltimore since Week 1. The Ravens held opponents to just 15 points on five field goals over the previous two games.
Manuel has lost a fumble, but he’s off to a nice start, going 5-for-6 for 112 yards and a touchdown. Spiller already has 48 rushing yards and Buffalo has outgained Baltimore 179-73 so far.
Update IV: The Ravens D couldn’t make for another miscue by the offense.
Flacco was intercepted when a pass to Ed Dickson was tipped by the tight end and hauled in by Bills defensive back Jim Leonhard, a former Raven.
That set Buffalo up at the Ravens’ 28 and four plays later, Fred Jackson increased the Bills’ lead to 20-7 with a 16-yard touchdown run.
Could an unexpected rout be on? Mistakes could make it so.