The Ravens have talked for the last month about costing themselves games.
As they've tried to sum up the current four-game losing streak, they've emphasized not "shooting ourselves in the foot" or committing "self-inflicted wounds."
As they dissected what went wrong in Sunday's 24-16 loss to the New York Jets, the Ravens came back to a familiar theme: They are too often their own worst enemies, and that has cost them dearly this season.
"We should have won all four of those games," Head Coach John Harbaugh said after his team fell to 3-4 on the year. "We did the things to lose those games. That's it."
The miscues have varied from game-to-game, and no one player is to blame.
In Sunday's 24-16, quarterback Joe Flacco threw a pair of interceptions, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan fumbled inside the 5-yard line after recovering a fumble, left tackle Alex Lewis was flagged for a hold that wiped off a huge gain and the defense missed too many tackles that led to big plays.
"It's us against ourselves," said defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
"We're losing the game over small mistakes, things that we can fix," safety Lardarius Webb said. "It's not like we're just getting our [butt] beat. But we're doing little things and giving the game up."
Just like last season, the Ravens have stayed close in every game of the year. All seven games have come down to one score, and the Ravens have come to expect that just about every game will come down to a few decisive plays.
"For our team with where we're at right now, we're not going to be a margin-for-error team," Harbaugh said. "It's not going to be like that. We need to be a sound, tough-minded, fundamentally smart football team."
Cutting down on penalties was a point of emphasis through the week after the Ravens were flagged 15 times last Sunday against the Giants.
Baltimore cut down on the penalties this week – they were flagged four times for 35 yards – but they were still incredibly costly penalties. A holding penalty on Lewis wiped off a 52-yard run by Terrance West in the second quarter that would have given the Ravens first-and-goal from the 4-yard line.
Harbaugh described it as a penalty that "should have never happened."
As the Ravens decreased the penalties, a new problem emerged. The Ravens had too many missed tackles on defense, including late in the first quarter when Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa took a short pass over the middle and turned it into a 69-yard touchdown. Enunwa shrugged off an attempt from linebacker Zachary Orr and then outran the secondary to the end zone.
The touchdown got the Jets back in the game by making the score 10-7.
"I overlapped too much trying to make up for a teammate, and he cuts back and then there's no one else there and it's just bad," safety Eric Weddle said. "Bad fundamentals as a defense to give up a play like that."
The Ravens may have hurt themselves the most by committing three turnovers in a span of six minutes in the third quarter. Flacco threw interceptions on back-to-back drives and Jernigan coughed up a fumble.
"If we were out there playing really good football, we would probably be able to live with a mistake here and a mistake there," Flacco said. "When you look back at those types of tight games, you look at the penalties and the things you missed, and you kind of forget that we're just not playing good. We're not good right now. That's the biggest thing."
Finding ways to cut down on the mistakes is Baltimore's main focus going into the bye week. Harbaugh said his team is practicing well, but they need to get that to translate in the games.
The Ravens now have two weeks until their Week 9 matchup with the rival Steelers, and they know they have an even slimmer margin for error going into the second half of the year.
"It's frustrating because I know we're better than what we're putting out there on the field. We've got the talent, we've got the guys here. We're just kind of giving up the game," Webb said. "We just have to stick together as a team."
Check out the photos from MetLife Stadium as the Ravens battle the Jets.