After hanging on for Sunday's wild 30-28 win in Philadelphia, Head Coach John Harbaugh and multiple players talked about being happy to get, and especially win, a fight.
Most of their wins this season and last were by double digits. Veteran defensive end Calais Campbell said it's games like this which build "championship character."
In the next breath, however, the Ravens said they know they have a lot to clean up during their upcoming bye. Baltimore is 5-1 but has yet to play up to its potential. On one hand, that's a good thing considering it's still October. On the other, it leaves them with a lot of work to do.
Baltimore committed 12 penalties for 132 yards, including many on the offensive line that short-circuited drives. On defense, the Ravens missed multiple opportunities for turnovers that could have changed or essentially ended the game.
"Penalties were a big factor. Way too many penalties," Harbaugh said. "The pre-snap penalties were just not good. We had too much trouble lining up. We had assignment issues that we were not happy about. So those are things we'll have to go to work on."
Baltimore's offense was flagged for nine of the 12 penalties, including seven by the offensive line. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley had three and every other lineman except center Matt Skura had one.
At one point, the Ravens had three straight penalties (Tyre Phillips holding, Orlando Brown Jr. illegal formation, Stanley illegal block) that gave them a first-and-35.
It's one thing to get a penalty after the snap in the course of the action, but the Ravens drew five flags that were pre-snap (false start or illegal formations). Stanley and Brown were both flagged for not being lined up close enough to the line of scrimmage.
"It's always unfortunate when we shoot ourselves in the foot," Brown said. "That's something that Coach 'Harbs' has been on us about since Day One – since I've been here – even before I've been here. We've got to do a better job of making sure that we play more efficient and don't shoot ourselves in the foot."
On the Ravens' first drive of the second half, a false start by tight end Mark Andrews backed the Ravens up on a key third-and-4, then Lamar Jackson took a sack for an 11-yard loss, knocking the Ravens out of field-goal range. The Eagles scored on a long 74-yard touchdown run two plays later.
That's an example of how much of Sunday's game went. The Ravens would have control, but a mistake would leave the door open for the Eagles.
The mistakes weren't just on offense, the defense was dominant for the first half, but contributed some penalties and mistakes in the Eagles' 28 second-half points.
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee had a gift-wrapped interception bounce off his hands at the end of the first half. Campbell had a standout game with three sacks, but a roughing the passer penalty at the end of the first half gave the Eagles a shot at a 52-yard field goal that could have been the difference (it was missed). A roughing the passer penalty on a third-down incompletion by Jihad Ward in the fourth quarter gave Philadelphia a new set of downs that they used to score a touchdown.
Safety DeShon Elliott had a strong game with two forced fumbles, but he dropped an interception that would have essentially sealed the game (the Ravens led, 30-14 in the fourth quarter). The Eagles scored a touchdown two plays later and converted the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game.
Elliott was clearly sick about the way the game got too close for comfort at the end.
"We've got to learn to finish," Elliott said. "When you've got a lead like that, you can't let off the gas pedal. We let off their necks. I feel like we have to be better than that."
That will be a sentiment echoed throughout the next two weeks. The Ravens are playing well. They're 5-1 after all. But they're better than that, and they know it.
"The mentality here with Lamar and 'G-Ro' [Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman] and everything that Lamar brings to the game is scoring every drive. That's where we want to get to. We want to be perfect," Brown said.
"We want to be the best offense to touch the field in the world, consistently – play-in, play-out, series-in, series-out. We're just not there yet. We understand that we've got a lot of work to do."