Ravens hurt by special teams penalties

Ravens hurt by special teams penalties
November 5, 2012, 10:45 am
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Most who watched Sunday's win over the Browns agreed the Ravens turned in a kind of sloppy effort and were fortunate to escape with a 25-15 road win.

The special teams played well most of the way as punter Sam Koch was extremely consistent and rookie kicker Justin Tucker again showed why he's been one of the team's most pleasant surprises this season. Despite all of that, the special teams had a pair of penalties on kick returns that hurt the offense in the third quarter.

The Ravens were hit with a pair of flags in the third quarter on kick returns. Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff to the Ravens 27-yard line, giving them decent field position. However, Sean Considine got called for offensive holding, which pushed the ball back to the Baltimore 10.  Starting at the 27 would have given the Ravens a much better shot at making some noise than at the 10.

There was a similar problem again later in the third quarter. The Browns had to punt on a fourth-and-12 from their own 18, and Jones was tackled at the Baltimore 39-yard line, putting the Ravens pretty close to field goal position.

But LaQuan Williams got whistled for offensive holding, and that pushed the Ravens back yet again. They wound up being moved to the Baltimore 29-yard line.

These were not two penalties that cost the Ravens the game, but they're the kind of calls that the team needs to stay away from on special teams. Coach John Harbaugh, a former special teams coach himself, is likely going to give the Ravens and those players that message when reviewing the Cleveland films.

Special teams did play very well overall in this game, especially the kicking and coverage as they shut down the dangerous Josh Cribbs throughout on returns. However, penalties like the ones the Ravens were hit with can prove costly at times.