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Further review of Ravens’ loss to Steelers sounds the “mediocre” alarm in Baltimore…

I’m late in recapping the Ravens’ loss to the Steelers on Sunday afternoon— as I sat down to do the game summary that evening, news came over the wire that a mass shooting had occurred at a Las Vegas country music festival…

I couldn’t muster the energy to report on a football game based upon the horrific impact of some nut job firing from the top of the Mandalay upon an innocent crowd with automatic weapons.

I’m not over it yet, and neither are the victims’ families or the first responder and medical personnel of Las Vegas.

Let’s just say Ravens football takes a backseat to such an unexplainable tragedy…

That said, the Ravens (2-2) are trending downward.

Their offensive and defensive units are missing key players due to injury, you knew that. But you expect a lot more competitive action than we’ve seen the past two weeks.

The Ravens have only scored 16 points in the past two games against a total of 70 points scored by their opponents.

One reason for that is the hodge-podge backup offensive line cobbled together by the Ravens in the wake of injuries and early retirements.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Flacco is getting hit too much. Flacco was hit six times by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 26-9 loss Sunday.

“We have to work on that,” Harbaugh said Monday. “When you keep your quarterback clean, the quarterback is going to be a lot better. Joe’s tough. Joe just wants to get the ball out in an accurate way and he wants to be able to read things out. When you consistently keep the quarterback clean, I think it builds a certain rhythm to the offense.”

Flacco has been hit 18 times in 118 dropbacks. That’s one hit every 6.5 attempts.

“Everybody has got to get better,” Harbaugh said. “That’s just something we have to help him. I want to see him play well. I want to see him put up numbers and make plays. But it’s not just him. It’s the offense in totality that has to do better.”

Flacco also made his share of mistakes. He overthrew Breshad Perriman along the sideline for what could have been an easy touchdown. He missed a wide open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone. And he made poor decisions and throws on both of his interceptions.

Flacco’s passer rating over the last two weeks is an NFL-worst 47, which falls behind Browns rookie DeShone Kizer (47.4) and Mike Glennon (70.2), who got benched Monday.

“There are plays that every single guy is leaving out on the field,” Harbaugh said. “When it’s the quarterback, it’s the most obvious part. There is never a game when a player doesn’t leave plays on the field. It’s when plays get made that covers that up a little bit too.”

Le’Veon Bell rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and the Steelers beat the Ravens 26-9 on Sunday in a duel for first place in the AFC North.

Though held to a touchdown over the final 30 minutes, Pittsburgh (3-1) mounted enough of an attack before halftime to earn its first win in Baltimore since 2012.

Big Ben Roethlisberger went 18 for 30 for 216 yards and a touchdown. Bell did more than his share, carrying the ball 35 times to help the Steelers amass 381 yards in offense.

The Ravens (2-2), meanwhile, looked every bit like the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL. Baltimore trailed 19-0 at halftime, generated only 154 yards through three quarters and stumbled through a second straight game with only one touchdown.

Joe Flacco completed 31 of 49 passes for 235 yards, was sacked four times and intercepted twice.

Baltimore closed to 19-3 in the third quarter after an interception by Ravens safety Eric Weddle. The turnover occurred only after a challenge by Baltimore coach John Harbaugh overturned the original ruling of a catch and a tackle.

After Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell missed a 44-yard field goal, Alex Collinspromptly ran for 50 yards to set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from Flacco toMike Wallace. The Ravens went for 2, made it, then lost the points after a replay showed Terrance West‘s elbow hit the ground before the ball made it to the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, on a fourth-and-12 from the Pittsburgh 47, Flacco was picked off by Mike Hilton with 5 1/2 minutes left, launching a rapid exit by many of the fans.

That led to Bell’s second 1-yard touchdown run with 2:26 to go.

The Steelers’ first drive of the game covered 84 yards, lasted nearly 10 1/2 minutes and ended with a 30-yard field goal.

Boswell made it 6-0 with a 49-yarder midway through the second quarter after Roethlisberger connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster for 19 yards on a third-down play.

A fumble by Collins set up a touchdown run by Bell, and Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard TD pass to Smith-Schuster for a 19-point cushion.

It was just a grim outing for the Ravens. The effort was there, but the synchronization was not.

Final:

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 3 16 0 7 26
BAL 0 0 9 0 9

Scoring Summary:

FIRST QUARTER PIT BAL
FG
0:22
Chris Boswell 30 Yd Field Goal
16 plays, 84 yards, 10:23
3 0
SECOND QUARTER PIT BAL
FG
7:25
Chris Boswell 49 Yd Field Goal
9 plays, 15 yards, 2:59
6 0
TD
3:24
Le’Veon Bell 1 Yd Run (Chris Boswell Kick)
6 plays, 28 yards, 2:24
13 0
TD
0:38
JuJu Smith-Schuster 11 Yd pass from Ben Roethlisberger (Two-Point Pass Conversion Failed)
8 plays, 70 yards, 1:35
19 0
THIRD QUARTER PIT BAL
FG
12:32
Justin Tucker 42 Yd Field Goal
4 plays, -6 yards, 0:56
19 3
TD
6:02
Mike Wallace 16 Yd pass from Joe Flacco
3 plays, 66 yards, 1:03
19 9
FOURTH QUARTER PIT BAL
TD
2:26
Le’Veon Bell 1 Yd Run (Chris Boswell Kick)
7 plays, 49 yards, 3:11
26 9

 

Matchup
1st Downs 22 18
Passing 1st downs 10 14
Rushing 1st downs 10 4
1st downs from penalties 2 0
3rd down efficiency 7-15 5-13
4th down efficiency 0-0 0-2
Total Plays 73 68
Total Yards 381 288
Total Drives 12 12
Yards per Play 5.2 4.2
Passing 208 206
Comp-Att 18-30 31-49
Yards per pass 6.7 3.9
Interceptions thrown 1 2
Sacks-Yards Lost 1-8 4-29
Rushing 173 82
Rushing Attempts 42 15
Yards per rush 4.1 5.5
Red Zone (Made-Att) 3-5 1-3
Penalties 8-60 6-55
Turnovers 1 3
Fumbles lost 0 1
Interceptions thrown 1 2
Defensive / Special Teams TDs 0 0
Possession 35:29 24:31

Next up for the Ravens—a road trip to the West Coast to face a 2-2 Raiders team which will be missing their top QB (Derek Carr) due to a back injury. Carr will be replaced by E.J. Manuel.  I don’t know if that will even make a difference the way the Ravens are playing at the moment.

 

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