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Ravens Lament Red-Zone Struggles That Led to Justin Tucker's Historic Day

K Justin Tucker
K Justin Tucker

The Ravens were playing in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but they didn't want to see as much kicking as they did Sunday.

Londoners were treated to a heavy day of booting from Justin Tucker, who knocked six field goals through the uprights – tying his single-game career high set in 2013 in Detroit, when Tucker won the game with a 61-yarder.

It didn't come down to that this time. The Ravens won 24-18, but it was tighter than it should have been for a team that piled up 360 offensive yards to the Titans' 233. Baltimore has scored just one touchdown in each of the past two games.

Baltimore went 1-of-6 in the red zone, though it was really more like 1-of-5 because one came with only enough time to kick a field goal at the end of the first half after the Ravens recovered a muffed punt.

Still, it left a postgame locker room that was happy with the win but not thrilled with the performance.

"A lot of frustration from everyone on the offense," left tackle Ronnie Stanley said. "We know we're going to have to score in those situations to be the team we know we can be. We can fix it and we have the guys to fix it. We have to hold each other accountable."

It wasn't long ago that the Ravens were being lauded for their red-zone success. Through the first four weeks, they had the NFL's No. 1 unit in that regard, scoring touchdowns on 80% of their red-zone trips. 

Lamar Jackson joked that Ravens reporters jinxed the offense after pointing to its early-season success. 

"We do a great job with driving the ball down the field, but it's like every time we get there, it's like we're just kicking field goals, [and then] it's up to 'Tuck,'" Jackson said. "But we don't need that. [We have to] protect the ball. The biggest emphasis was we caught the ball this week. We drove the ball down the field. We protected it, except for that one interception, but we have to punch it in. That's going to help our defense out a lot, and they're doing a great job protecting us."

Dropped passes and fumbles doomed the Ravens in their two losses to the Colts and Steelers this season, so while the offense didn't have a banner day, it at least didn't beat itself.

Though the Titans defense entered the game ranked 15thin the league, it was No. 4 in red-zone defense. Tennessee was blitz heavy in the red zone.

On Baltimore's five true red-zone series, they ran the ball 13 times and threw it just three times, including the 10-yard touchdown pass to Zay Flowers on an extended play. Jackson's number was often called, including on third down on the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but he was stuffed for a 4-yard loss.

"The [Titans] defense is pretty great," Jackson said. "They weren't giving us [any] real chances of making passes. They played great. I wasn't trying to run the ball, but it was what it was. We still finished with the field goals."

Harbaugh said the "best way to put it in the end zone and the red zone is to run it in."

"We haven't been as successful the last two weeks as we were the first [four] weeks. That's kind of how it works. It's a week-to-week league," Harbaugh said.

"We have a quarterback that can do a lot of things in the red zone, [who] can make plays in the red zone. We have receivers that can do it. We're capable of it. I am really thankful Justin [Tucker]. He made all those kicks. It's probably fun for the crowd here to see, but we need to score [touchdowns]. That could have been a much more comfortable game for us if we'd done that."

Tucker did have a good time getting so much action in front of an international audience. He connected from 41, 28, 23, 29, 20 and 36 yards, respectively. It was the first time in his career that he hit four field goals in the first half of a game.

"It was pretty cool to feel love from the fans. Obviously, this is a place in the world where they love kickers of balls," Tucker said. "Being able to put on just a little bit of a show for them was a lot of fun."

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