This loss stings. There is no other way to put it.
Losing a divisional game to a team that the Ravens usually defeat is tough. Nevermind that it came in overtime after holding 14-3 and 21-9 leads. Nevermind that Josh McCown picked apart the secondary, throwing for 457 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 71 percent of his passes.
This was a terrible game for the Ravens and a dagger in the bubble of optimism that many fans had begun to create after defeating Pittsburgh.
So without further ado, here is the good, bad, and ugly from last Sunday's game.
The Good: Justin Forsett
For all the talk about the defense (and rightfully so), Justin Forsett quietly had a nice game running the ball. Forsett carried the ball 21 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, while adding four catches for 49 yards before leaving due to an injury. The Ravens need Forsett to stay healthy and keep producing on the ground if they hope to win games this season. After a slow start, in the last two games, Forsett has rushed for 271 yards on 48 carries (5.6 yards per carry).
With the wide receiver depth continuing to get thinner, Forsett will be relied upon to carry the ball quite a bit. If he continues to post numbers like these, it will bode well for the Ravens offense. He will have a chance for another strong performance next week against San Francisco, who ranks 21st in the league in rushing yards allowed.
The Bad: Injuries
The injuries continue to mount for a team that was already decimated by injuries. The Ravens were already without the likes of Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Terrell Suggs, and others. In overtime, the Ravens were without players that take up one quarter of their salary cap. Smith, Perriman, Campanaro, Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore, Chris Canty, Lardarius Webb, and Will Davis) were not on the field during the overtime period.
Injuries cannot be used as excuses, but take a look at that list. There is hardly any position that has not been hit by devastating injuries. And with the news that Will Davis has been announced to have a torn ACL, the injury outlook is not getting better. A large portion of the Ravens poor start to the season can be chalked up to lackluster play, but if you do not think the amount of injuries piling up has a hand in it, I would question your sanity. Many teams would struggle with the number of injuries the Ravens have.
The Ugly: The Defense
The Ravens' defense looked out of place on Sunday. Period. There is no reason for Josh McCown to look like a pro-bowl quarterback out there. The playcalling was not up to standard. Penalties extended Cleveland drives, especially in the fourth quarter, and the Baltimore defense did not look like they were up to the challenge.
Maybe its the coaching, maybe its a lack of leadership, but it is not a talent issue. There are talented players on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe a coaching change, such as Nathan Beaucage has vehemently supported, is what the Ravens need to get back on the right track, but this defense will continue to struggle moving forward if things do not change. It will not get easier the rest of the way. The defense looked out of sorts on Sunday and the Ravens cannot and will not win football games when the defense plays that poorly.