OWINGS MILLS, Md. — John Harbaugh’s mood was exactly how you might predict it to be 24 hours following the Ravens’ third loss against a sub-.500 team this season.
The Baltimore coach was tense and defensive, clenching his teeth in response to a few questions and providing noticeably short answers on a number of occasions. While Harbaugh was clearly ready to move on to this week’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, his thoughts remained unchanged regarding the Ravens’ 22-17 defeat to the lowly Seahawks.
“It feels the same way that it did [Sunday] night,” Harbaugh said. “Very disappointing loss, one that we have to regroup from, improve in a lot of different areas, and get ready to play this week. Every week in this league is a new week. Every game is a new game. At the end of the year, they count up how many you win and how many you lose.”
As media asked him about the psychology connecting the Ravens’ three losses to teams with losing records and the team’s spirits in the aftermath of the surprising defeat, Harbaugh’s explanation for the loss was blunt: three turnovers, two missed field goals, an erratic passing offense, and a defense that couldn’t get off the field in the game’s final drive.
“We put ourselves behind the eight ball [in] too many situations and then ended up losing by just five points in a tough environment,” Harbaugh said. “You play better football, you win football games like that. That goes to all of us. That’s what we have to do — we have to coach better, we have to play better — and we’ll win those three football games [we lost].”
Answering many questions with the same theme — only different wording — Harbaugh closed the press conference with the quote of the afternoon when pressed about a perceived attitude of simply moving on to the next week before taking the proper time to focus on mistakes after three defeats to teams with losing records.
Did the Ravens take time to lick their wounds before picking themselves up off the mat on Monday?
“Licking wounds? No, we’re not licking any wounds,” Harbaugh said. “We are moving on. We correct our mistakes, and we go practice on Wednesday. And we get ready to play on Sunday.”
Running away from the run?
A heated topic of discussion on sports talk radio and internet message boards was the Ravens’ one-sided offensive attack that featured 53 passing attempts to only 12 run plays. After an initial uproar was created when Ray Rice received only eight carries in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last month, the star running back received only five rushing attempts against the Seahawks.
The argument can certainly be made that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and the Ravens panicked too soon in abandoning the run, but an early 10-0 deficit and two lost possessions in the first half — thanks to kick returner David Reed’s two fumbles — threw the offensive game plan out the window. Harbaugh also acknowledged that quarterback Joe Flacco checked out of a run play on the opening drive of the second half when he had his pass tipped into the air and intercepted, leading to another short field goal by Seahawks kicker Steve Hauschka.
“When you don’t have very many plays [in the first half], it’s hard to build up your running game,” Harbaugh said. “When you’re down, you have to throw it to get back in the game. I think every game is different. You’ve got to do in any particular game what you’ve got to do to try to move the ball.”
While many continue to call for Cameron’s job with the Ravens’ perceived refusal to run the football, Harbaugh made it clear that there was no plan to have such offensive imbalance. However, the game situation of being down two possessions and a 4-3 defensive front that continues to give the Ravens problems made it difficult to establish the ground attack.
“In the end, we definitely want to have more runs,” Harbaugh said. “I think that’s indicative of having the lead and having more plays, especially early in the game. The way the game went, we had to throw it. And based on some fronts they were giving us early, we felt like we had to throw it, too.”
Searching for answer at kick returner