There isn’t a light way to put it. The Ravens were absolutely dominated on Sunday by the Jaguars. After the game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and safety Eric Weddle took the podium, and there surely wasn’t a lack of questions to be asked.
The Ravens defense was so dominant through the first two weeks of the season. It allowed just 10 points in the first two games, and forced the same number of turnovers. But the Ravens allowed 44 points to the Jaguars, and Blake Bortles, a quarterback known for his tendency to throw interceptions, threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions. In fact, the Ravens defense did not force any turnovers. So what changed in Week 3? “They had a good game plan,” Weddle said. “They ran the ball. They threw checkdowns. Didn't force the ball any time throughout the game. We kind of knew that. We didn't tackle particularly well early on in the game. They kept the drives going. You know, but they made plays. They had some good red zone calls that they executed and we didn't. But at the end of the day, we didn't play well, in any phase, let alone not nearly good enough on defense. So, we'll get it corrected.”
In addition, Weddle wasn’t going to make any excuses for his team’s disappointing game. “Yeah, we practiced well. You know, there's really -- I can't give you an excuse why we played so bad,” Weddle said. “We just didn't get it done, and I've never been the one to point fingers or give excuses. We just weren't good enough. I wasn't good enough. I've got to be better and that's the way I look at it. Regardless of what everyone on the outside says, we're going to stick together. We're not going to point fingers or say this was the reason or this happened because of this. We all stunk it up and we'll get better from it.”
Flying all the way to London, suffering an awful loss, and having to fly all the way back to Baltimore can surely be demoralizing, but Harbaugh isn’t going to let this loss derail the Ravens season. “Yeah, we just have to get ready for next week,” Harbaugh said. “It's just one loss. Doesn't matter what the score ends up being. One loss or one win never defines a season. What defines a season is how you respond to the adversity that you face and that's in football, that's in life, that's in anything.”
Weddle was part of a Ravens defense that vastly underperformed on Sunday. The Ravens defense was torched by Blake Bortles of all people. It was a performance that Weddle was not happy with. “It’s not an effort,” Weddle said of how poorly his team played. “We got our butts kicked in all three phases. That might be one of the worst losses, if not the worst loss I've ever been a part of. But I do know one thing about this team is we won't point fingers. We win and lose as a team. All three phases didn't get it done, and that's the bottom line. Jacksonville played their tails off and all the credit goes to them. They outplayed us. But at the end of the day, it's one loss. Whether you lose by one point or 40, we treat it the same. We are going to go back, be critical of ourselves, learn from our mistakes and grow and get better. It's a long season, and we're going to rebound like we always do.”
Harbaugh and Weddle both expressed a similar message of rebounding from this game. It is only Week 3 and the Ravens are still 2-1. This loss, no matter how bad it was, is not going to single handedly destroy the Ravens season. Both the coach and the safety want to respond from the ugly loss.
In order to respond, the first thing that the team will need to do is look at the tape from the loss. The Ravens offensive line was far from great in its first game without Marshal Yanda, the long bright spot being Ryan Jensen. Harbaugh didn’t want to pin blame on any one player (correctly so as there was no one single player at fault) and he wants to let the film do the talking. “That's something you have to look at the tape and just kind of look at every single aspect of the way we played in all three phases,” Harbaugh said. “One thing you know I'm not going to do is sit here and finger point. As a team we didn't get the job done, coaches, players, anybody. We got outplayed. We have to move on and find a way to play better next week.”
Check out Baltimore Beatdown’s Logan Levy’s film analysis on the performance of the offensive line agianst the Jaguars.
After this brutal loss, the Ravens will fly home, and will have to prepare for a huge game as the Pittsburgh Steelers will make a visit to Baltimore this weekend. This rivalry matchup is crucial for the Ravens if they hope to win the AFC North this season. Harbaugh and Weddle both talked about rebounding, and given the upcoming opponent, the team has to rebound very quickly. Weddle knows that it will be challenging, but he and his team must find a way to forget about the letdown in London, and get ready for the critical divisional contest. “It's going to take everyone looking at themselves,” Weddle said. “On the flight home, look at the game tape, talk to your coach. Monday, get in and get some rehab. We had some guys banged up today. It was a physical game. They were on the field a lot. But it's the Steelers. It's going to be a division game. Everything's on the line. So, this game is already behind us. We're going to look at the mistakes, correct the mistakes and already start game planning for Pittsburgh. Because the more we lament, the more we worry about this game, and the more we're ‘woe is me’, we'll get our butts kicked next week. The quicker we can assess what we did wrong, correct it and move on and get ready for Pittsburgh.”
Harbaugh only sees one way to respond from the loss to the Jaguars. “So we've got to work on the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's how we respond.”
It’s not going to be easy to turn around and be ready for the Steelers. The injuries are piling up, and it is key players that are continuing to fall victim. As Harbaugh and Weddle both expressed, the team will need to find a way to put this weekend’s mess of a game behind them, take in all of the film, every second of that brutal film, and get ready to go for Sunday. The team is ready to respond.