The Saints’ defense was no match for the Ravens’ Ray Rice, as he nearly single-handedly downed the Saints 30-24 in Baltimore on Sunday.
Rice, who had 233 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, led an offensive attack that the Saints struggled mightily to stop. While Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco passed for two touchdowns and 172 yards, it was Rice that led the Ravens to victory, even after the Saints quick start to the game.
The Saints drew first blood on Sunday after Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Jimmy Graham, the first of two touchdowns for the rookie out of the University of Miami. After that drive, the Saints offense stalled, and their defense nearly came to a standstill, allowing the Ravens to score 21 points quickly. Brees found Graham for his second touchdown of the day right before half to cut the Saints deficit to 21-14 at the game’s midpoint.
In the second half, the Ravens struggled a little bit as they got away from feeding the ball to Rice. This allowed the Saints to inch their way back into the game, with a 47-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley and an incredible touchdown catch by receiver Lance Moore.
After the Saints tied the game, Baltimore got back to what they do best: running the ball. They continued to ride Rice, as he led them down the field to the eventual game-winning field goal. The Saints got one last chance in the game by getting the ball back at their own two yard line with around four minutes to play. After getting a few first downs, the Ravens’ pressure got to Brees, forcing a tipped pass on fourth down that led to a Ravens interception.
The loss is a tough one for the Saints, who were in the game all the way in a hostile environment against a tough team. Although they are likely to get a playoff spot, their chances at winning the NFC South are slim. However, the team travels to Atlanta next week for Monday Night Football to face the first place Falcons, and get some revenge for their loss to their rivals in the Superdome earlier in the season.