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3 things we learned about the Ravens

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals might be on the verge of solving their losing ways on “Monday Night Football.” The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, still have their issues.

The Cardinals got two touchdown passes from quarterback Carson Palmer and a 122-yard rushing effort and a touchdown from running back Chris Johnson in a 26-18 win over the Ravens on Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Entering the game, Arizona was 2-8 in its previous 10 Monday night appearances.

The Cardinals (5-2) maintained control in the NFC West. They head to Cleveland next week before getting to rest up for their bye in Week 9.

Baltimore (1-6) lost its third consecutive game but once again had a chance to make something happen at the end, even though it was outgained by the Cardinals by a two-to-one margin.

“I thought we executed extremely well, played until the final whistle and made a big play at the end,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “We wanted this type of game, and we needed to be in one of these types of games — win it, and kind of exorcise that ‘can we win it at the end?’ type thing. I was very, very pleased with our football team.”

A blocked punt and recovery set up a 1-yard touchdown pass from Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco to fullback Kyle Juszczyk with 4:26 to play, and a successful two-point conversion cut Arizona’s lead to eight points.

After forcing the Cardinals to punt again, the Ravens got the ball back at their own 24-yard line with 1:53 remaining.

They would need to score a touchdown and convert another two-point attempt to at least force overtime, and they had gained just 204 total yards of offense compared to Arizona’s 409 at that point.

Baltimore drove to the Cardinals’ 4-yard line. With 13 seconds to go, Flacco looked for tight end Crockett Gillmore in the end zone, but Cardinals defensive back Tony Jefferson intercepted the pass. It was Arizona’s league-leading 12th pick of the season.

What we learned about the Ravens:

1. The Ravens can’t seem to find ways to close out games once they are within striking distance of doing so. In all five of their losses, they had a chance to either tie or take the lead in the final two minutes, yet were denied. This time, it was a Joe Flacco interception in the end zone courtesy of Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson with six seconds to play.

2. Communication problems plagued the Ravens throughout the game, which was one reason why coach John Harbaugh didn’t throw a challenge flag when Arizona’s Chris Johnson pulled off a 62-yard run after rolling over the back of Baltimore defensive tackle Brandon Williams. “I didn’t get much information,” Harbaugh said. “The communication wasn’t very good. We didn’t get very much information at all and no explanation whatsoever. The forward progress was stopped. If you hit him in that situation, then you’re going to get fined and penalized.”

3. After so many close losses, there could be a danger of some Baltimore players getting ready to fold up the tents, realizing that at 1-6, the season is basically over. Running back Justin Forsett said that will not happen on this team. “I’ve been in this position before,” he said. “We just have to keep fighting. Remember you’re pros. Go out and take your job security seriously every day in practice. It’s going to break (for the better); we just don’t know when. We have the guys in this locker room to turn it around.” Six of the Ravens’ remaining nine games are at home.

Etc.

–CB Tray Walker was being tested for concussion-like symptoms during the game Monday night. Coach John Harbaugh did not provide an injury update on Walker’s condition after the game.

–WR Steve Smith Sr., who led the Ravens with five receptions for 78 yards, might have had the quote of the game when someone asked him about how the officiating may have worked against his team Monday in Baltimore’s 26-18 loss to the Cardinals: “Well, everybody has that app Yelp, and you have reviews. Two stars. That’s what I would review this one on my Yelp. Two stars.”

–LG Kelechi Osemele sustained a knee injury during the fourth quarter and did not return. Coach John Harbaugh said he did not immediately have a medical report on Osemele’s status.


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