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Ravens Defense 'Falls Flat' in Lopsided Loss After Fast Start to Season

Posted Sep 24, 2017

The Ravens had no answer for Jacksonville's offensive attack, as quarterback Blake Bortles tossed four touchdown passes against the re-vamped secondary.

The hype had been building around Baltimore’s defense. 

The unit didn’t shy away from declaring big expectations coming into this year, and the buzz only grew after Baltimore forced 10 turnovers in dominant wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns to open the season.

But it was a much different story Sunday in London, as the Ravens had no answer for Jacksonville’s offense. The Jaguars moved the ball with ease on their way to a 44-7 rout, tied for the most lopsided loss in Ravens franchise history.

“When we got to this game, we fell flat on our faces,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “We messed up calls. We didn’t perform how we’re supposed to perform.”

Jacksonville used a balanced attack to find success against Baltimore. They ran for 166 yards and threw for 244, and quarterback Blake Bortles tossed four touchdown passes. The Jaguars’ success through the air was particularly surprising, as the re-vamped secondary had played so well in the first two games.

The Ravens made major investments in that area during the offseason, signing safety Tony Jefferson and veteran cornerback Brandon Carr, and then drafting cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the No. 16 overall pick. Even with all the upgrades, the Ravens weren’t able to slow down Jacksonville’s offense.

“I really can’t give you an excuse why we played so bad,” safety Eric Weddle said. “We just didn’t get it done. I’ve never been one to point fingers or give excuses. We just weren’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. I have to be better and that’s the way I look at it.”

The Jaguars offense was both consistent and opportunistic. It scored on seven of its first eight possessions, and turned the Ravens’ three turnovers into 21 points.

“Before you know it, it’s 20-0 before you blink,” Weddle said. “And it’s out of hand.”

There was no one area to pinpoint as the major letdown. There were many.

Without defensive tackle Brandon Williams in the middle of the defense, Jacksonville found moderate success on the ground with running back Leonard Fournette. He carried 17 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens had no answer for tight end Marcedes Lewis, who caught three red-zone touchdowns.

A big difference for the Ravens compared to the first two games was that they didn’t force turnovers or generate pressure on the quarterback. Bortles had time to throw for much of the game and the Ravens didn’t register a sack for the first time this year. 

“You have to correct mistakes and your weak spots,” veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “We have to play better defense.”

Despite the disappointment, the overall theme from the Ravens’ locker room is that they can’t overreact and put too much stock into one performance. Head Coach John Harbaugh and several veterans stressed that it’s just one loss on the schedule and they have plenty of time to get back on track.

“The year we won the Super Bowl we got drubbed by Houston – blown out,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “We will bounce back. We’re a good team. This one loss will not define us.”

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