Ravens strut their stuff at expense of mistake-prone Raiders in 55-20 rout
BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens waited two months to put together a complete game.
It finally happened, in record-breaking fashion, and the timing couldn't have been better.
Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, Jacoby Jones ran a kickoff 105 yards, and Baltimore set a club record for points in a 55-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
It was a rare blowout for the AFC North-leading Ravens, who won their previous five games by a total of 23 points.
Next up: The Pittsburgh Steelers on the road next Sunday night.
"We focused all week on the Raiders, but in the back of our minds we knew the Steelers were coming," offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "It's always good when you can score a lot of points. It's something to build on."
The Ravens (7-2) scored on six of their first seven possessions, special teams contributed two touchdowns and Torrey Smith caught TD passes of 47 and 20 yards.
And the defense did its part, even though defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sat out the game with a bruised shoulder and cornerback Jimmy Smith stayed on the sideline with a groin injury. Baltimore was already without injured linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb.
"It's a confidence booster on all ends," running back Ray Rice said. "When you have a defense without Haloti and Ray Lewis, you can see those guys really stepped up. In addition, offense excelled in the pass today."
Burned for 251 yards on the ground last week by Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin in a 42-32 defeat, Oakland shored up its run defense to stop Rice. So Flacco went to the air, repeatedly hitting tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson over the middle in the first half before going long and outside to Smith in the third quarter.
Flacco went 21 for 33 and did not play in the fourth quarter.
Rice ran for 35 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He finished the afternoon with 5,034 yards rushing for his career, joining Jamal Lewis as the only players in Ravens history to top 5,000.
Flacco and the resurgent Baltimore offense made it look easy against the struggling Raiders (3-6), who have yielded at least 40 points in two straight games for the first time since 1962. The 55 points tied an Oakland record for points allowed, set in 1961 and matched in 1981.
"We had too many mental errors on defense, gave up too many big plays, we turned the ball over too many times and we didn't execute on special teams," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "When you do those things, it generally results in something like that."
It all added up to the Ravens' most lopsided win since a 44-13 dismantling of Cincinnati in the season opener.
Baltimore led 27-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, Smith scored twice and holder Sam Koch scored on a fake field goal to make it 48-17.
In the fourth quarter, Jones scored on a kickoff return for the second time this season for a 55-20 lead. Baltimore's previous record for points in a game was 48, against Detroit in December 2009.
"Obviously, we had success," said Flacco, who also ran for a score. "We ran the game plan and it worked well. We stuck with it. We scored points early and continued to score them."
Baltimore has 15 straight home wins, the longest current streak in the NFL. They haven't been 7-2 since 2006.
Carson Palmer went 29 for 45 for 368 yards and two touchdowns for Oakland. He was mercifully pulled in the fourth quarter.
"Rough, rough, rough, rough game," Palmer said. "We didn't play any good in any facet of the game. Came in and got outplayed by a good football team. It's very frustrating. We got to put this one in our rear view mirror, because it's going to be a tough one to get past."
Playing without injured running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the Raiders gained only 72 yards on the ground.
Baltimore didn't punt until the third quarter, and even that turned out well. Phillip Adams fumbled, the Ravens recovered the ball and Flacco promptly threw a touchdown pass to Smith.
Later in the quarter, Koch ran 7 yards for a touchdown to cap a 74-yard drive.
NOTES: Oakland LB Travis Goethel left in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Oakland CB Michael Huff was kicked in calf, and S Matt Giordano and TE Brandon Myers sustained concussions. ... Baltimore is 7-1 against Oakland (including playoffs) and 5-0 at home. ... Jones is the first Ravens player to have two KO returns for TDs.
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