If you only looked at the box score, it wouldn’t have reflected the Ravens’ continued offensive struggles.
The 360 total yards wouldn’t have shown that they didn’t score a point until 6:06 remained in the third quarter and that they punted on eight of their first 10 possessions - with the other two drives ending in a turnover and the Packers taking over from their own 1 on downs.
Joe Flacco’s 342 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions didn’t reflect that he led eight three-and-outs.
“I think I’ve got to be better and we all have to be better or we’re not going to win football games,” Flacco said after Sunday’s 19-17 loss to the Packers.
The biggest problem for the offense, as illustrated above with all the punts and three-and-outs, is that it cannot sustain drives.
The running game was again perhaps the main culprit, as Baltimore finished with just 47 rushing yards, its second-lowest total of the season and a significant step back from last week’s season-best 133 yards on the ground.
That inability to rush the ball has contributed to why the offense is off the field almost as quickly as it gets on it.
“It’s tough when you don’t have any success on first and second down, and you’re putting yourself in third-down situations, and the one way you score touchdowns or kick a field goal is you convert four third downs to get there when you get 12 yards at a time - 12 yards, 12 yards, 12 yards,” Flacco said.
“In order to sustain drives, you need to get first downs on first and second down, and you need to get a couple chunks in there, and we’re not doing that. We’re getting one big chunk and then we’re putting ourselves back in third down and long situations and we’re not getting it.”
But what can the Ravens do to fix it?
“I guess we have to be better on first and second down,” Flacco said. “I think in the second half there, we got a little bit more mixed, we got in a little bit more of a groove, a little bit of our quick game got going, and I think it opened up some holes in the run game. We’ve just got to continue to work and continue to have faith and go out there and play hard that we’re going to to get this drive done.”
While not directly calling out offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell or the play-calling, Flacco said he wouldn’t mind seeing the Ravens vary things in those situations. The team went to the run heavily on first and second downs.
“I always feel like we can mix it up a little bit more on first and second downs just to get everybody going,” Flacco said. “It’s tough to say when we’re just not running the ball up to the ability that we think we can run it at. If we were running the ball better, we wouldn’t be talking about it. We’re just not getting the yardage and the creases that we need right now in that part, and we’re kind of unsuccessful at a lot of other things we do just because of that.
“We’re getting put in bad situations, kind of fighting an uphill battle every single drive, and when you do that, everything slows down, you don’t get up to the line fast. You start making mistakes. We had a couple penalties today, too, with guys to the face, and then in the start of the second half, just false starts that killed us.”
Tailback Ray Rice was just as critical of the running game, knowing that the team’s 72.7 rushing yards per game is far from good enough.
“We’ve just got to execute at a high level. We would love to run the ball better. It’s not something you plan on - going out there and messing up,” Rice said. “The run game has to get better. We’ll just keep sawing away at it and get ready for next week.”
Personnel-wise, the Ravens had two big differences from recent weeks with Eugene Monroe making his first start at left tackle and Jacoby Jones back on the field for the first time since spraining his knee in Week 1.
Monroe didn’t feel uncomfortable in his first game with his new team.
“I felt solid. I’ll definitely check the film tonight and I’ll assess it a little more, but I think I did a good job,” Monroe said. “I felt comfortable and the communication with (Kelechi Osemele) right next to me was good. We were on the same page.”
Jones made an immediate impact with two catches for 42 yards and a touchdown, as well as four kickoff returns for 102 yards, including a 35-yarder.
Jones said he knew he’d be playing well before Sunday arrived.
“I knew when I was playing, the coaches knew,” he said. “I’m not going to tell (the media) and get in trouble with John Harbaugh. That would be my behind. ...
“I’d feel better if we got the win. Health-wise, I was good. If I can go, I’m playing.”
Other positives included Tandon Doss, who made four catches for a career-high 99 yards, including a 63-yard reception.
Dallas Clark added four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown while Marlon Brown contributed three catches for 71 yards. Flacco also praised the offensive line for improved pass protection.
But in the end, 17 points and 238 yards in the second half wasn’t enough to make up for the earlier woes, as the Ravens slipped to 3-3, snapping a streak of 13 straight home wins over NFC opponents.
“I think we just need to continue to get better,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ve got the right people. We’re doing the right things. The thing that we’re not going to do is overreact. You don’t go in there and make any kind of major adjustments when you know you’re doing things well and you’ve got the people to do it.
“We’re a work in progress, no doubt about it. We would have loved to have won this game. We had a chance to do it in the end. We didn’t get it done. They did, give them credit. It’s going to be a long season, and we’ve got plenty of opportunities going forward to become the team we think we can be, and we’re working toward that right now.”