- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2017

BALTIMORE — Sandwiched between Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh’s post-game press conferences, Ravens safety Eric Weddle told the media he had exactly one minute and 45 seconds to talk after Baltimore’s 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. Harbaugh was already in the room, so Weddle had to make it quick.

He spent most of the time critiquing his own unit’s performance — despite the fact they forced five turnovers for a second straight week.

“We made too many mistakes, too many blown coverages, too many big plays as a defense, so we are not happy about the performance we had,” Weddle said. “We let those mistakes creep in, and if we don’t fix them, it’s going to hurt us down the road.”

Weddle, who had an interception, wasn’t alone. The Ravens are 2-0, but most of the team’s defense Sunday cautioned about giving up big plays. 

“You can never take a game for granted, but like I said, the standard is very high here, and we did some things that we are kind of kicking ourselves in the butt for,” said outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who forced a stripped-sack fumble. “We are going to go back to the drawing board and try to fix them.”

The Ravens became the third team since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to record at least four interceptions in the first two games of the season. They also had five turnovers in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history.

The Browns had 386 yards, 300 of which was through the air. Rookie quarterbacks DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan made their fair share of mistakes, but found receivers in space for big plays.

Harbaugh said his team was “pretty hacked off” about the errors.

Six different Browns receivers had their longest gain be 20 yards or more. The Ravens, on the other hand, had just one with Benjamin Watson catching a pass for 23 yards. 

“If you want to be great, you can’t have complacency,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “That is all that is. … To be a great defense, we have to avoid big plays and not let them score.”

Still, 10 forced turnovers in two games is rather remarkable considering the Ravens had 14 for the entire 2015 season, which neared the bottom of the league. In 2016, the Ravens had 28 turnovers, which ranked in the top half.

Mosley said the Ravens are getting takeaways because of the front seven’s consistent pressure. Baltimore, he said, has also taken away the run game and forces teams to throw more, making them one dimensional.

In the offseason, the Ravens coaching staff preached creating more turnovers.

“Guys are out there making plays,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “I need to join the party, I haven’t gotten one yet.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide