The offense's first play set the tone Sunday, and it wasn't good.
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. fumbled after making a catch, and the Colts recovered to set up their first score of the game. The Ravens' problems only continued from there, as they made the kinds of mistakes that are a recipe for disaster on the road.
They committed three turnovers. The running game was ineffective. Quarterback Joe Flacco was under pressure all game. The offense missed key scoring opportunities inside the red zone.
It all added up to a 20-13 loss to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, dropping the Ravens to 3-2 on the season.
"We hurt our defense a lot by keeping them out there on the field," Smith said. "They kept giving us opportunity after opportunity and we just kept misfiring as a whole."
Despite all the mistakes, the Ravens still had a chance at the end of the game to tie the score.
The defense even gave the Ravens an unexpected comeback opportunity late in the game after safety Matt Elam forced a fumble inside the red zone. The Ravens recovered at their own 11-yard line with one minute, 49 seconds left, giving the offense one last shot at a comeback.
Flacco drove the offense to the Ravens' 43-yard line, but they were unable to come up with a game-tying touchdown. The best chance came on a long pass intended for wide receiver Marlon Brown after Flacco escaped pressure, but the pass fell incomplete over the middle of the field. The drive ended when a fourth-down pass to Torrey Smith down the sideline bounced off his hands and fell incomplete.
"It was catchable. It was a tough catch," Harbaugh said. "It's a challenging play to make, a very challenging play to make. Those are not plays that you see made every play in the National Football League."
As the game ended on a sour note, it couldn't have started much worse for the Ravens.
After Steve Smith's fumble on the opening drive, the Ravens committed their second turnover when return man Jacoby Jones allowed a punt to bounce off his leg to be* *recovered by the Colts.
Even with the miscues, a stout defense kept the Ravens from falling into a deep early hole. The Ravens forced an interception, a turnover on downs, two punts and a field-goal attempt on Indianapolis' first five series. The Ravens shut down the Colts' running game and brought consistent pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck.
Baltimore forced four turnovers on the day, but came away with just three points off of them. Meanwhile, the Colts turned the Ravens' three turnovers into 10 points.
"That will hurt you," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's probably part of the difference."
The Colts came into Sunday's game as the top-ranked offense in the NFL, but the Ravens went into the locker room at halftime trailing only 6-3.
Even though the defense kept it close, the offense couldn't capitalize.
The offense was never able to get into a rhythm, as the ground game struggled to find holes and Flacco never seemed to get comfortable. The Ravens finished with 287 total yards on offense, their worst output of the season.
When the Ravens had key opportunities to put up points, the unit faltered.
In the first half, the Ravens drove down to the Colts' 3-yard line, but came away with nothing after Flacco was sacked on fourth down. In the fourth quarter, the Colts fumbled a punt return and the Ravens recovered at their 12-yard line. The offense was unable to pick up a first down and had to settle for a field goal.
"It's important to come away with points there," Harbaugh said about the fourth-down stop. "We didn't do a good job blocking and we didn't do a good job getting the ball out."
A big part of the problem for the offense was that Flacco had pressure in his face all day.
The Ravens came into Sunday's matchup without allowing a sack in three-straight games, but that streak was quickly ended as Flacco got sacked three times in the first half. The pressure came from all directions up front, and the Colts brought a strong rush off the left side with undrafted rookie James Hurst in the lineup because of a knee injury to Eugene Monroe.
"I don't think it was anything too exotic. It was stuff that we had seen on film and we just have to do a better job executing," center Jeremy Zuttah said. "We had been playing some pretty good football. We hadn't had mental mistakes, we hadn't turned the ball over and we hadn't had penalties. And we had all three of those today. It's a wake-up call that you can't win like that."
The loss ends a three-game winning streak for the Ravens, and drops their road record to 1-1 on the year. Winning on the road was a struggle for the Ravens last year, and the team has another road test next week when they travel to Tampa Bay.
"It's not the end of the world," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We're 3-2 and we have to get ready for Tampa."