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Turnovers, Missed Opportunities Continue To Hamper Ravens Offense

October 18, 2017
OWINGS MILLS Md. -- The Ravens continue to lament their missed chances during a 27-24 overtime loss to Chicago Oct. 15, as Baltimore twice had to settle for field goals despite starting two series of downs inside the Bears' 10-yard line. The Ravens also committed three turnovers, all in Bears territory.

As a result, the Ravens failed to score an offensive touchdown in the game, and they have just nine offensive touchdowns in six games. They rank tied for 28th in red-zone percentage (44.4). 

"We're not doing as good a job in the red zone as we need to score points," head coach John Harbaugh said. 

"It's a hit or miss league," said receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed the Bears game with a shoulder injury, "and up to this point, we've probably missed more than we've hit."

On one of those series against the Bears, at the end of the first half, quarterback Joe Flacco threw three straight incompletions. Wide receiver Chris Matthews appeared to be open in the end zone on third down but stumbled and lost his footing as the ball came his way. The other series, early in the fourth quarter, included a first-down pass to Ben Watson that lost a yard, an incompletion to Nick Boyle and then an illegal pass by Flacco after he crossed the line of scrimmage.

Two great scoring chances, six points. 

"But the other thing," Harbaugh said, "is once you get in that area, or on your way to that area, not to give up opportunities, too. We had three opportunities that we gave away."

Harbaugh was referring to a fumble by tight end Maxx Williams at the Bears' 20-yard line, an interception at the Bears' 28-yard line that bounced off receiver Breshad Perriman's hands and an interception -- returned 90 yards for a touchdown -- that bounced off receiver Chris Moore. 

"Usually when you look at the big picture point … about scoring touchdowns, it's taking yourself out of those opportunities by making those kind of mistakes," Harbaugh said.

Flacco has thrown eight interceptions this season, tied for second-most in the league, although both interceptions against the Bears glanced off his receivers. 

"The bottom line," Flacco said, is that those turnovers against the Bears "took points away from us. … Field goals in those situations definitely would have made a difference or could have made a difference.

"It doesn't matter why or how ... we just got to make sure they don't happen anymore."

The Ravens' struggling offense faces a formidable task at the Minnesota Vikings Oct. 22. The Vikings (4-2) rank No. 5 in overall defense, No. 4 in red zone defense and No. 5 in scoring defense, allowing 17.2 points a game. Like the Ravens, the Vikings are at plus-2 in turnover differential.


B. WILLIAMS RETURNS TO PRACTICE: Defensive end Brandon Williams, who has missed the past four games with a foot injury, was back at practice Oct. 18. The Ravens have sorely missed his presence in the middle of the defense. The Ravens rank 30th in the league in run defense, allowing 141.3 rushing yards a game. The Bears rushed 54 times for 231 yards, the most ever by a Ravens opponent. Defensive tackle Carl Davis, who missed the Bears game with a hamstring injury, also returned to practice.

CANADY ALSO BACK: Cornerback Maurice Canady, who is on injured reserve, practiced Oct. 18 for the first time since suffering a knee injury early in training camp and is now designated to return from IR. Canady's return to the practice field begins a three-week window after which he must either be added to the 53-man roster or stay on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Canady, who was in the running for the starting slot cornerback job after Tavon Young went down in the spring with torn ACL, must practice for a minimum of two weeks before he can be activated. The sixth-round draft pick last year played in four games in 2016 before going on injured reserve for the rest of his rookie season. 

This year, for the first time, teams can designate two players to return from injured reserve, up from one in previous years. But to be eligible to return, a player had to be on the original 53-man roster and must be on IR for a minimum of eight weeks. The most likely candidate for the other IR-DTR spot is running back Danny Woodhead, who would be eligible to return to game action at Green Bay Nov. 19. 

PERRIMAN STILL IN CONCUSSION PROTOCOL: Perriman did not practice Oct. 18, and Harbaugh said he remains in concussion protocol after taking a hit to the head against the Bears. Other Ravens not present at the media-viewing portion of practice included running back Terrance West (calf), tight end Watson (undisclosed), tight end Maxx Williams (ankle), offensive guard Matt Skura (knee), offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (undisclosed), cornerback Jimmy Smith (Achilles) and outside linebacker Tim Williams (thigh). 

VIKINGS MUM ON STARTING QUARTERBACK: Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer did not commit to either injured Sam Bradford or Case Keenum as the starting quarterback against the Ravens, but Harbaugh said it won't matter to the Ravens. Bradford started in Week 1 and then returned to start Week 5 against the Bears but was pulled from that game in the first half as he was visibly hampered by a knee injury. Keenum has started the other four games. "It's not going to change our game plan," Harbaugh said. "We're going to have a game plan for their offense. They're both a little bit different in the way they play. We'll just play the quarterback that's out there. … We'll talk to our guys about both guys and run our defense."

Follow Bo on Twitter @bsmolka    

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox