LONDON — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said the players didn’t practice like zombies after their overseas flight, but that’s exactly what the team resembled in Sunday’s 44-7 embarrassment against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Ravens looked slow and lost in their first game played outside the United States. The result: A loss that matches the worst margin of defeat in the Ravens’ 21 years of existence and ranks as the second-worst loss in the 10-year history of the NFL international series (one point shy of the mark).
“We got our butts kicked in all three phases,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said. “That might be one of the worst losses — if not the worst loss — I’ve ever been a part of.”
Baltimore had better hope jet lag was the reason for this epic disappointment, and this is not an ominous sign of what’s to come. Even though the Ravens entered the game as one of the NFL’s 10 undefeated teams, this Baltimore squad was far from perfect, giving up up big plays on defense and sputtering on offense. Turnovers were the key in building a 2-0 start.
But without forcing a turnover Sunday, Baltimore was simply a team that couldn’t get the ball to its playmakers and paid the price for too many lapses in coverage.
How much did the 7 1/2-hour flight and five-hour time difference affect the Ravens?
“I don’t know,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t really matter at this point.”
Flacco finished with a career-low 28 passing yards, the fewest by any quarterback with at least 15 attempts in a game since Derek Anderson threw for 23 yards in 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Flacco threw two interceptions and didn’t complete a pass — at least not to a Ravens player — until there was 4:15 left in the second quarter.
“We kind of all traded turns making bad plays,” said Flacco, who was 8-of-18 for a passer rating of 12.0. “That leads to big losses and bad football.”
The defense, which had given up 10 total points in the first two games, allowed that many on the Jaguars’ first two drives and finished with the second-most points surrendered by the Ravens over the past 15 years. Even the special teams didn’t go unscathed. With the Jaguars up 37-0 in the final minute of the third quarter, the Ravens watched Corey Grant take a fake punt and run 58 yards.
This marked the fifth-most points allowed in franchise history and the sixth time in the Harbaugh era that Baltimore has been held to seven or fewer points.
“It’s bad,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “They out-executed us in every phase of the game. That’s what happens in the National Football League when you don’t come ready to play.”
What has to be unnerving for the Ravens is this happened against a Jaguars team that had lost by 21 points a week ago. The Ravens will get a chance to prove where they stand the next two weeks, when they play host to their AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers and then travel to the Oakland Raiders.
“One loss or one win never defines a season,” Harbaugh said. “What defines a season is how you respond to the adversity you face.”
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