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Ravens need much more from Joe Flacco and C.J. Mosley

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NFL: International Series-Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the blame for the Baltimore Ravens hideous 44-7 loss in Week 3 falls at the feet of coordinators Marty Mornhinweg and Dean Pees. Jacksonville’s play callers were routinely one step ahead of the Ravens coaches. Baltimore was whipped in all three phases of the game, this was the definition of a team loss.

Nevertheless, two players in particular must play much better if the Ravens are to make a postseason run this season. Franchise quarterback Joe Flacco and defensive centerpiece C.J. Mosley had horrendous performances in London. The Ravens were a flawed team to begin with and several unfortunate injuries have exacerbated the situation. Baltimore will be dead in the water without improvement from arguably their best remaining offensive and defensive players.

Flacco produced the worst statistical game of his career on Sunday. He completed just 8 of 18 passing attempts for 28 yards and two interceptions before being pulled for backup Ryan Mallett. In fairness, he did not have much help as Mornhinweg’s playcalling was unable to provide much time in the pocket or scheme receivers open. Still, the quarterbacks who earn franchise player money find ways to make plays; whether by audibling at the line, using deceptive cadence to create free plays or standing tall in the pocket and delivering catchable balls when under duress.

As has become commonplace in road games, Flacco was largely inaccurate during the first half. Then came a disheartening parade of check down passes, with Flacco essentially waiving the white flag. The official game book credits the Jaguars with two sacks on Flacco and five quarterback hits, hardly ideal but not a total mauling either.

Flacco made a profound statement in postgame interview: “You gotta keep guys heads up ... So much of this game is confidence. And going out there and getting it done.” Hopefully Joe can heed his own advice going forward.

Mosley was equally disappointing in Week 3. He was definitely hindered by Pees’ perplexingly passive gameplan. And the Ravens heralded safety tandem was equally ineffective in coverage. Still, Blake Borltes managed a 128.2 quarterback rating, often by targeting Mosley on underneath routes and in the middle of the field.

C.J. is a two-time Pro Bowler and generally regarded as Ozzie Newsome’s best first round draft pick of this decade. He led the team in tackles, but Week 3 was one of his worst games as a professional. The lowlights include being the closest defender in zone coverage on Allen Hurns touchdown grab, allowing a 30-yard touchdown in man-to-man coverage on Marcedes Lewis and failing to bring down Leonard Fournette short of the end zone in the fourth quarter. The Ravens need more from their capable inside linebacker.

Fortunately the NFL is a week to week league, as evidenced by many of the surprising results this past weekend. With Pittsburgh coming to Baltimore in Week 4, the Ravens have a prime opportunity to begin the year with a 3-0 mark in their division. The Steelers are coming off their own embarrassing loss in Chicago.

The upcoming showdown between arch rivals next Sunday will be another tough test for the club. The Ravens desperately need Flacco and Mosley to get going.