Niagara Gazette

Sports

September 30, 2013

Bills defense rises in win over Ravens

Bills defense takes charge in 23-20 win over Ravens

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “A lot of that falls on me today and just throwing the ball to the wrong team,” said Flacco. “If we don’t do that, then this game probably looks a little different.”

What it resembled instead, was another lackluster performance by a retooled offense still searching for an identity after several offseason changes to its group of receivers.

The Ravens are still a work in progress after trading Anquan Boldin to San Francisco, and with Jacoby Jones (hip) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) injured.

Torrey Smith had five catches for 166 yards and a touchdown, but Flacco had difficulty finding any chemistry with his other receivers.

And the Ravens running attack struggled, even with Ray Rice returning after missing last week’s game with a hip injury.

Rice finished with 17 yards rushing and backup Bernard Pierce managed just 7 against a Bills defense that gave up 182 to the Jets last week.

“We would’ve liked to run the ball better. We would’ve liked to execute a lot better,” Rice said. “You get behind, you can’t pound the rock. You just can’t do it.”

Trouble was, the Ravens couldn’t get their offense on track even when the game was close in the first half. Baltimore managed just three first downs and 45 yards offense on its first seven possessions.

Flacco finished 25 of 50 for 347 yards and two touchdowns, including a 10-yarder to Marlon Brown. But he has five touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

The five interceptions were the most by the Bills defense since it had six in a 16-13 overtime win over the New York Jets on Oct. 18, 2009.

“It feels great to win,” said safety Jim Leonhard, who also had an interception. “Obviously, we’ve had our share of adversity, and I think we’ve proven through four weeks that we a room full of guys on the back end that will fight.”

The Bills face a short turnaround. They travel to play at Cleveland on Thursday.

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