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Ravens News 10/9: Touchdown drought, players of the week and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Week 5 NFL Team of the Week - GORDON MCGUINNESS

PUNTER

Sam Koch, Baltimore Ravens – 73.2

The Ravens offense struggled on the road in Cleveland, but Koch was once again at his best, consistently putting the Browns offense in tough starting position. Of his eight punts, seven landed inside the Cleveland 20-yard line.

RIGHT GUARD

Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens – 87.2

After a slow start to the season in his return from injury, Yanda is back. From 63 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed just one hit and one hurry and has not allowed a sack in pass protection since Week 7 of the 2015 season.

Thanks in part to Yanda’s blocking, the Ravens rushing offense showed signs of life against the Browns. Alex Collins and Buck Allen combined to produce three carries of more than 15 yards.

Ravens go from historic perfection to 123-minute TD drought - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore’s 12-9 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns extended the Ravens’ touchdown drought to 123 minutes, 3 seconds. It’s a rut that has included poor throws from Joe Flacco, debatable play-calling, ill-timed turnovers and a dozen punts.

The last time Baltimore crossed the goal line was midway through the first quarter of the Sept. 30 game in Pittsburgh. Since that Alex Collins 3-yard touchdown catch, the Ravens have gone seven quarters and one overtime period without reaching the end zone.

How has this happened?

”I’ll take a look at it and figure it out,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s a big, giant huge question that can’t be answered that simple.”

On Sunday, Flacco forced too many passes, wide receiver Michael Crabtree dropped too many throws and the team failed too often to commit to what had been a productive running game.

The only Ravens player to accept responsibility for the offensive struggles was Crabtree. He dropped passes in each of the first two drives and had a potential winning touchdown pass bounce off his hands in the final minute of regulation.

”Put this game one me,” Crabtree said.

Michael Crabtree wasn’t the only offensive player to struggle in Cleveland. Nonetheless, his end zone drop was the most egregious play of the game.

Three takeaways from Browns’ Week 5 win over Ravens - Michael Hoag

[Baker Mayfield is] a fighter. That guy can make plays. He’s a playmaker. He’s has that ‘it’ factor to him. We were talking a little trash on the field,” Ravens safety Tony Jefferson said after the game. “You have to respect a guy like that, especially a rookie who’s coming into a defense like ours.

“I thought he did pretty well today. We weren’t good enough.”

Baltimore’s defense had been rolling following two dominant performances heading into Week 5. The Pittsburgh Steelers looked helpless and confused against them in a 27-14 home defeat last week. A clearly flustered Ben Roethlisberger said he wasn’t “on the same page with anybody right now” after the loss.

And the Ravens’ defense again showed up big this week, harassing Mayfield for five sacks and more than a dozen pressures. But those efforts weren’t enough to derail Mayfield’s Browns offense from finding a way to beat them.

Baltimore’s defense certainly played well enough to win in Week 5. They held Cleveland’s rushing attack to four yards per attempt, made ten tackles in the backfield, deflected eight passes and recorded eight hits on Mayfield.

NFL insider notes: Stick a fork in the Falcons, Dolphins fall apart and more on Week 5 - Jason La Canfora

I really wanted to buy into the Ravens’ offense as being a unit that could play at an efficient level on a weekly basis, but at least once a month you get a heavy dose of what the worst aspects of a Marty Mornhinweg/Joe Flacco offense looks like, particularly on the road. (Why they didn’t attempt a running play in the final minute of regulation, at the 10, with all their timeouts, against a gassed defense, is beyond me.) Sunday’s stinker in Cleveland re-affirmed that. On the bright side, Baltimore’s defense is legit and still hasn’t given up a second-half touchdown

The Ravens offense will have a chance at road redemption against the Titan’s seventh ranked defense in Week 6.