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News & Notes: Offensive Play Call Operation 'Needed to Be Faster'

HC John Harbaugh

Far too often, the Ravens were rushing to beat the play clock before snapping the ball during Sunday's 28-27 loss to Jacksonville.

The problem has cropped up in other games over the past several years, and Head Coach John Harbaugh wants it to stop.

"It's on us," Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of substituting in the first half. We ran more complicated plays and formations, in terms of shifting. I don't think we got off the field as quick as we can.

"(Offensive Coordinator) Greg (Roman) told me, 'I got to call the play faster.' Communicate it better in the huddle or whatever. The whole thing needed to be faster. The rhythm and tempo was not like we needed it to be at all."

Harbaugh said the Ravens did a better job in the second half and ran more no-huddle plays. But the overall crispness of the offensive operation is something Baltimore will examine closely after a game in which they struggled in the red zone and squandered opportunities to score more points. 

Another sequence they'd like to do over occurred early in the second quarter, when Lamar Jackson was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one at midfield. The officials originally ruled that Jackson had made a first down on his third-down run. But the ball was re-spotted and placed short of the first down marker, setting up fourth-and-one.

The Ravens were late getting to the line on fourth down and the play overall looked disjointed. Instead of calling timeout or punting, the Ravens ran a quarterback sneak and Jackson was stoned. The Jaguars quickly answered with a four-play touchdown drive to take the lead – another costly change of momentum in a frustrating game for the Ravens.

"I'd like to have that one back," Harbaugh said of the fourth-down play. "We didn't run it well. We didn't communicate it well. It was just a bad play. 

"I don't want to make excuses. We thought it was a first down, then it wasn't a first down, then the play clock's running. We've still got to be on top of it. I think Lamar has been really good at that over the years, he's one of the best guys at dealing with the play clock and getting the ball snapped. We have to adjust as coaches on that. It's up to us to organize it in a way that we don't get in that situation."

Ravens Considered Using More Clock Before Oliver's Touchdown

The Ravens faced a strategic decision on their final scoring drive, after advancing into the red zone trailing 20-19 with under three minutes to play. 

In a perfect scenario for the Ravens, they would have run the clock down much farther before taking the lead, leaving the Jaguars with little or no time to respond. Instead, Jackson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Josh Oliver with 2:02 left, then Jackson hit Mark Andrews for a successful two-point conversion that gave Baltimore a 27-20 lead. 

Unfortunately for the Ravens, that was enough time for Trevor Lawrence to lead Jacksonville on a 75-yard touchdown drive, followed by a successful two-point conversion to win the game.

Harbaugh said the Ravens thought about taking more time to score. 

"It was definitely a consideration, and we would have probably gone more for that if we thought we could milk it all the way down," Harbaugh said. "They had three timeouts. So, you've got to get the first downs, too.

"We didn't really want to kick a field goal and leave time on the clock. So, if we were going to leave time on the clock, it needed to be a touchdown. It didn't look like we were going to be able to get it all the way down to a walk-off."

DeSean Jackson Makes Impact With Big Plays

DeSean Jackson had two catches against the Jaguars and both were big. He used his speed to get behind Jacksonville's secondary in the fourth quarter for a 62-yard completion that set up Oliver's touchdown. In the second quarter, Jackson caught a 12-yard sideline pass for a first-down conversion.

Jackson reached 21.72 miles per hour on the 62-yard catch, according to Next Gen Stats, which was the fastest time for any Ravens ball carrier this year. It was an indication that the 35-year-old wide receiver could play a key role down the stretch.

"Yes, it was great," Harbaugh said. "He had a nice, deep out route, timing route, and Lamar threw a strike right on the sideline. It was a big chunk play for us. And then the deep over route, the line route, as we call it, that was a great play. It came open beautifully, [and] Lamar threw a strike. Those were helpful plays for us. If he can kind of keep coming like that, I think that will be helpful to us, big time."

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