Blowout loss teaches valuable lesson

Blowout loss teaches valuable lesson
November 12, 2012, 8:00 pm
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Maybe it’s true that something good can come out of a blowout loss.

It appears the Ravens, who were embarrassed 43-13 at the Houston Texans, picked up a thing or two -- or six.

In Sunday’s 55-20 beating of the Oakland Raiders, they swatted passes from Carson Palmer six times. One of the deflections by Paul Kruger resulted in an interception – by Kruger.

It was his first since his 2009 rookie season.

Terrell Suggs had two deflections. He even forced Palmer to change the angle on a complete pass that came short of the goal line. Instead of a touchdown, it was just a 4-yard completion to Darrius Heyward-Bey as he dove to the 3-yard line in making the catch. The Raiders settled for a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

Rookie DeAngelo Tyson, a seventh-round draft pick making his first start, had a pair of deflections also.

While players said defensive coordinator Dean Pees made them work on that technique going into the Raiders game, the evolution of this goes back a few weeks.

With time to reflect on what happened in Houston going into the bye week -- and undoubtedly the Ravens' inability to sack the quarterback -- Pees needed a Plan B. 

All he had to do was look at the game film. Texans defenders J.J. Watt and Connor Barwin harassed Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. They were masterful in deflecting passes, most notably one Watt tipped that was returned 52 yards by Johnathan Joseph for a touchdown that gave Houston a 16-3 lead. 

Baltimore never recovered.

When the defensive linemen take a step back, read the quarterback’s eyes and leap into the lanes there’s nothing an offensive lineman can do to stop it.

Flacco stands 6-foot-6, and he admitted even when his passes weren't deflected it gave him pause when trying to throw.

"The coaches want us to get our hands up and bat the ball down, especially when you can’t get to the quarterback," Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw said.  "You got to affect them and not let them get in a rhythm."

The Ravens may have found something to use for the rest of the season. They play at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in a prime-time game. 

"We're getting pressure but we're not getting our hands up," lineman Terrence Cody said after the defense reviewed the Houston loss.  "When we watched film on those guys we seen they were batting down passes. We knew if they can do it, we can do it. That's something we're going to stick with going forward."