NFL Sunday wrapup: Looking bleak in Baltimore

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Tim Seeman
October 12, 2015

Eleven days ago, it appeared as though the Baltimore Ravens had saved their season at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh when they beat the Steelers in overtime to get their first win of the year.

Leading up to that point, Baltimore had lost its first three games, two on the road in Denver and Oakland and another at home to a Cincinnati team that's still undefeated as October reaches its midpoint.

The win over the Steelers, the Ravens' most intense divisional rival, was supposed to jump-start Baltimore's season after the 0-3 start.

But as much optimism as that triumph in Pittsburgh injected into the fan base, Sunday's 33-30 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns sucked it all out—and probably replaced it with a heavy dose of somber reality.

Before Sunday, the Ravens had beaten the Browns 13 times in 14 tries, and downtrodden Cleveland hadn't won in Baltimore since 2007. Josh McCown set a Browns franchise record for passing yardage with 457 yards in the win and also became the first quarterback in team history to throw for 300 yards or more in three straight games.

Cleveland scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to force the extra period, where Travis Coons booted a short-ish field goal to drop Baltimore to 1-4 for the first time in team history.

Some of the struggles have to do with bad luck: Baltimore's four losses have been by a combined 17 points (a little more than four points per game), which is a lot of close games for a team to lose in the NFL. Some have to do with the schedule: Three games were on the road, two at least two time zones away from Baltimore, and the itinerary doesn't get easier quite yet. Their next two games are at Arizona and San Francisco.

Regardless of the travel and bad luck, it's hard to deny the Ravens are the most disappointing team in pro football (though the winless Lions are in that conversation, too, after making the playoffs last year). At the very least, it seemed Baltimore had another playoff team (the Ravens have made the postseason in all but one season since Joe Flacco joined the team in 2008), and those in the locker room probably believed they had a championship contender. At this point, it will be difficult merely to finish 8-8.


The task of staying undefeated in Week 5 went most smoothly for the Carolina Panthers, who had the week off. After getting knocked around in the first half, Tom Brady guided the Patriots to a comfortable win in Dallas.

The league's other perfect teams—Cincinnati, Atlanta, Denver and Green Bay—all had to fight for their wins.

You probably know what happened with the Packers. The Bengals and Falcons both needed overtime. Charles Woodson had two interceptions for the Raiders against the Broncos, but another defensive touchdown for Peyton Manning's team kept its record unblemished.


If you missed it, Edgerton High grad and former Beloit College player Derek Carrier, who now plays tight end for the Washington Redskins, scored the first touchdown of his NFL career Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. See it—and his emphatic spike afterward—here.

Carrier does a nice job of working into the end zone and finding a soft spot in the Falcons' zone defense, and quarterback Kirk Cousins threw it through a tight window for the score.


I took Detroit to cover a 9½-point spread, and the Lions came within half a yard of winning outright before Calvin Johnson's fumble and the ensuing "Bat Seen 'Round the World."

This week, two 2-2 teams from the AFC will be trying to keep up with undefeated division foes. The game between the Steelers and Chargers originally would've been a chance to revisit the 2004 NFL draft, in which both quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers, were taken, but Roethlisberger is still recovering from a sprained knee ligament.

San Diego will have the better-quality quarterback and the home-field advantage, but LeVeon Bell found his footing last week against the Ravens with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown. Combined with Antonio Brown, Steelers backup Mike Vick just might have enough to hang with Rivers, the league leader in passing yardage to start the week.

This will be a tight one that the Chargers win thanks to playing in Southern California, but I think the Steelers cover the thin point spread of 3½. 27-24 San Diego


Tim Seeman spends his Sundays in The Gazette office combing through the day's NFL action and stressing over the print headline for the Packers game story. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Tim Seeman spends his Sundays in The Gazette office combing through the day's NFL action and stressing over the print headline for the Packers game story. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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