Doug Kapustin MCT Baltimore's Torrey Smith (82) grabs a 20-yard scoring pass from Joe Flacco as Oakland's Ron Bartell defends in the third quarter.

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Oakland falls into a black hole

Published: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 - 6:19 am

BALTIMORE – The Raiders went beyond mere defeat Sunday, absorbing a loss of historic proportions.

Oakland tied the franchise record for points allowed in a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens broke their franchise record for points in a game.

Considering Baltimore's last points came on Jacoby Jones' 105-yard kickoff return with 12:34 to play, it could have been worse had the Ravens not eased up, eventually replacing starting quarterback Joe Flacco with Tyrod Taylor.

Coupled with last week's 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay, the 97 points against the Raiders in back-to-back games are second only to the 99 points they gave up in the first two games of the 1961 season in the pre-Al Davis era.

With his team 3-6 and resurgent New Orleans next, coach Dennis Allen faces his first real crisis.

"We had too many mental errors on defense, gave up too many big plays, turned the ball over too many times and didn't execute on special teams," Allen said. "When you do those things, it generally results in something like that."

After the Buccaneers' Doug Martin ran for 251 yards last week, the Raiders shored up their run defense, only to have Flacco pick them apart.

Exploiting chasms in the middle of the field, Flacco completed 21 of 33 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns, two to Torrey Smith. Flacco also scored on a one-yard run.

Dennis Pitta, who caught Flacco's other scoring pass, and Ed Dickson combined for seven receptions and 126 yards from Baltimore's tight end position.

"Their safeties really got off those hashes and were going wide and watching Torrey and Anquan (Boldin) underneath," Flacco said. "It left the middle of the field open a little bit."

Ray Rice, limited to 35 yards on 13 carries, scored on a seven-yard run for the Ravens.

The Ravens (7-2) tied San Diego (55-21 in 1981) for the most points against the Raiders in a regular-season game.

Oakland actually outgained Baltimore 422 yards to 419. Carson Palmer was 29 for 45 for 368 yards with touchdown passes of 55 yards to Darrius Heyward-Bey and 30 yards to Denarius Moore.

Heyward-Bey's score came with 1:37 left in the first half – the ninth consecutive game in which the Raiders have scored with less than two minutes left before intermission – and could have provided some momentum, cutting the Raiders' deficit to 20-10.

Baltimore, however, struck right back. Flacco completed 5 of 6 passes for 73 yards, Rice scored from the 7 with 24 seconds left, and the Ravens led 27-10 at halftime.

Oakland's third-quarter problems continued. Baltimore outscored the Raiders 21-7, and Oakland has given up 109 points and scored just 31 in the third this season.

"Things came apart in the third quarter," Palmer said. "They kept scoring, and we couldn't keep up. With all the penalties and mental errors we had, there's no way we're going to beat a playoff team on their field."

Against a defense missing linebacker Ray Lewis and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Palmer threw an interception that was batted into the air and caught by Paul Kruger and also lost a fumble. Special teams contributed a lost fumble by Phillip Adams, setting up a Baltimore touchdown, and Jones' kickoff return.

The Raiders also committed 10 penalties for 105 yards, including two personal fouls by linebacker Aaron Curry, playing in his first game this season after rehabilitating his sore knees.

"We obviously have to look at the whole thing," Allen said. "The outcome like that is unacceptable. We have to do better, and we have to look at that and see what we can do to give ourselves a better chance."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald

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