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Mistake Filled Ravens Fall to Giants 13-12

Anderson runs 

It was not exactly an effort that made Ravens fans nor their players proud Sunday night in front of a National TV audience, but then again, that’s what the preseason is for.  At least that is the saving grace that the Ravens are taking out of an ugly, sloppy 13-12 loss to the New York Giants at home Sunday in their second preseason game of the 2007 season.  The loss drops the Ravens to 1-1 on the season, and the team looked nothing like the one that dominated the Philly Eagles just one week ago.

There was poor play on the offense when it came to execution, missed tackles and mistakes on defense, and even a couple of injuires to boot, as both WR Mark Clayton and CB Samari Rolle left the game with ankle injuires.  Both had X-rays, and while neither appear to be ones that will put their seasons in doubt, it was still a damper on a night in which it seemed not much went right for the defending AFC North Champs.

“It wasn’t there tonight,” quarterback Steve McNair said. “We’ve just got to go back and continue to work and improve. It’s something that’s better to happen now than later.”  The Ravens were stopped in the first half with 9 penalties, and while head coach Brian Billick had told his players about a letdown prior to the game, this was out of character for his veteran ball club.  “I thought we’d have better focus,” said Billick, whose post-game message to the team was about eliminating penalties. “You don’t have to go any further than penalties. I don’t know what you’re going to get much out of that film because there’s not much to be gained from saying, ‘Yeah, you can’t go offside.'”

McNair looked like an old QB, throwing for just 29 yards on 5-of-8 passing.  He was on his toes all night while in there, as the O-line didn’t do a very good job giving him time to throw.  New RB Willis McGahee it looked ran into a brick wall, rushing for just 3 yards on six carries.  He lost yards on half of his carries, and looked slow next to backup Mike Anderson who had 37 yards on three carries, with runs of 11, 21 and 5 yards.  “This offense can be as good as we want it to be,” McNair said. “We want to be a top-five offense. But we can’t make those mistakes.”

The Ravens went up 3-0 on a Matt Stover field goal in the first quarter, but then the mistakes caught up with them, as the Giants drove down the field with the help of three offside penalties by Baltimore.  Eli Manning hit WR Steve Smith with a 10-yard TD pass to end the drive and put the Giants up 7-3.  “That’s unacceptable,” D-coordinator Rex Ryan said. “We’re playing fast and physical, but that wasn’t our best. The first half didn’t reflect the way the Ravens play defense.”

The Ravens rebounded for another field goal before half to make it 7-6, and after a scoreless third quarter, the Giants kicked a 50-yard field goal from Josh Huston to make it 10-6.  Rhys Lloyd kicked a 40 yarder for the Ravens in return to draw within 10-9 with 9:57 left.  The two teams again on their next drives traded field goals, and the Giants were able to milk the clock to take home the one point win.  “You would think that you wouldn’t need to learn a lesson like this,” Billick said. “But if you don’t keep your focus and your wits about you, then that’s what you see out there.”


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