Coming out of the Ravens' win over the Broncos three Sundays ago, head coach John Harbaugh complimented his defense's tackling and said their ability to wrap up a ball-carrier and quickly bring him to the ground was one of the things that made the Baltimore defense so effective.
He did not repeat those comments this week after the Ravens' abysmal defensive effort against the Bills.
"We didn't tackle well in the secondary, and I don't think we tackled really well at all in the game," Harbaugh said earlier this week. "That was probably the biggest factor. There were probably eight plays that went for big yards that could have been controlled with better tackling, so that was disappointing and surprising."
The missed tackles were all over the place last Sunday.
Fabian Washington missed a few. Dawan Landry wiffed on a couple. Even Ray Lewis got juked out by Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a couple times and allowed Buffalo to pick up some extra yardage.
This isn't a problem that the Ravens' defense has traditionally had to deal with, but it's something they absolutely will focus on when they return from their bye week.
"Consistency is the name of the game," cornerback Chris Carr said. "It's kind of like we've been tackling very well and we've been covering well this whole season, so we just don't want a pattern of this. It's one of those things that's glaring on film that you know that you need to correct, so hopefully, we come back and we'll correct those mistakes."
A number of the Bills' big-gainers last Sunday came off short-to-intermediate passing plays in which the receiver was able to shed a tackle and turn upfield.
Three of Buffalo's five longest plays came on short passes to wide receiver Steve Johnson, who gained a combined 99 yards on those plays.
"It's more an emphasis when it's the secondary, because when you miss a tackle then the big play is the big play," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "But those little dunks and dinks and dunks happen all the time in the front seven, but it's just exposed more when a corner misses a tackle and he breaks for 30 or 40 yards. Bottom line is, turn him inside, make the play and just hold him up and just slow him down. That's the way we've always played defense. It's a very simple process, actually."
The question from here is how the Ravens will go about correcting the tackling errors. In today's NFL, practices are not full-contact, so the players won't be able to duplicate game scenarios mid-week and focus on their tackling that way.
But Harbaugh says there are still ways that the team can work on improving their ability to bring ball-carriers down, including some on the practice fields.
"You correct it on tape." Harbaugh said. "We do do some drills. I think the best way to do it [is] you do it in practice, and you emphasize team tackling, pursuit, and you emphasize proper angles to the football. We try to practice really fast, and we want our guys to tag off the right way in practice. So, if we get them in position to make those tackles, emphasize tackling high as opposed to tackling low, we'll be in good shape.
"We have a good tackling defense, so I feel confident that we'll be a good tackling defense the rest of the way."