Joe Flacco falters, Ravens lose another close game late
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — All afternoon, the problems came in pairs for the Baltimore Ravens. Two interceptions by Joe Flacco, two dropped balls in the end zone by Steve Smith before he caught a touchdown pass, two more drops on would-be interceptions.
Then there was Justin Tucker’s slip on the turf as he shanked a 45-yard field goal off the right upright in the fourth quarter, and the team’s failure to pounce on a fumbled punt return by Jarryd Hayne. Shareece Wright’s forgettable season debut against his former team.
Torrey Smith caught a 76-yard touchdown pass and fellow former Baltimore wideout Anquan Boldin made five receptions for 102 yards, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 25-20 win Sunday that snapped their four-game losing streak.
“There’s no excuse,” Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “We’re in every single game, so that means we have the opportunity to win. When you mess up, one play is more magnified when you’re losing a lot of games. It’s tough. I know everybody is sitting with probably the worst feelings in their stomachs. But we have to come through. It’s unacceptable.”
Phil Dawson kicked four field goals, including a 53-yarder, in the first win since Week 1 for San Francisco (2-4). Boldin — a Super Bowl star for the Ravens against San Francisco following the 2012 season — had a late 51-yard catch that set up Quinton Patton’s 21-yard reception for the first touchdown of his career.
Wright, released by the 49ers on Oct. 10 without playing a game, then signed by the Ravens last week, was flagged for holding Boldin in the first quarter to set up Dawson’s second field goal. Torrey Smith burned the cornerback on his career-long TD, capping a 49-second, two-play drive that made it 13-3.
Wright yielded a 26-yard gain to Boldin on another drive that ended with a field goal by Dawson, and then fell down on Patton’s TD catch.
“It was a quick week, but I’ve got to be ready,” Wright said.
Yeah, the 49ers planned to pick on him.
“When you have a guy on your team for that long and get to see him every day in practice, you understand his weaknesses, as well as his strengths,” Boldin said. “That was one of the things that we wanted to attack.”
Flacco’s desperation pass to the end zone on the final play went incomplete to Steve Smith, and the quarterback wound up 33 of 53 for 343 yards. Smith caught a 34-yard TD pass from Flacco in the third and finished with seven catches for 137 yards after sitting out last week with a back injury. But the Ravens (1-5) are reeling through the worst start in franchise history.
Tough weekend for the Harbaugh brothers after Baltimore coach John Harbaugh’s little brother Jim’s Michigan team lost Saturday to Michigan State on a botched punt.
The rematch of the Super Bowl three seasons ago featured a pair of last-place teams trying to turn around their seasons, and it showed in some sloppy play.
“When the game is on the line, we are not making the plays on both sides of the ball,” offensive lineman Marshal Yanda said.
Baltimore’s previous four losses featured second-half collapses. This time, it all but began from the opening kickoff.
The Ravens appeared a step behind all day.
“I don’t have the frustration gauge out. I don’t get frustrated. I don’t get down, just disappointed,” Harbaugh said. “I get determined is what I get. We have a bunch of guys that feel the same way. We have to get it done, and it starts with me.”
Colin Kaepernick went 16 of 27 for 340 yards as the 49ers won for the first time since Sept. 14 against Minnesota.
Now San Francisco must prepare in a hurry for a short week with rival Seattle coming to town Thursday night. The Seahawks have won five of the last six meetings, including the playoffs.
Early in the third with no intended receiver in sight, Flacco threw right to 49ers cornerback Kenneth Acker, who returned the interception 45 yards.
Baltimore, making its second Bay Area trip in less than a month after a loss at Oakland on Sept. 20, had won four straight against San Francisco, including that 34-31 Super Bowl victory at the Superdome.
Kamar Aiken added a 2-yard touchdown catch for the Ravens, who had won six in a row against NFC teams and dropped to 19-10 vs. the NFC under Harbaugh.
NOTES: Ravens S Kendrick Lewis left with 9:41 remaining in the third because of a knee injury. ... After two straight 100-yard games, Baltimore’s Justin Forsett ran for 62 yards on 17 carries.
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