Nowhere to Go but Up?

Street Talk Nowhere to Go but Up?

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The players and coaches for the Baltimore Ravens didn’t mince words after the debacle in London.

They took full responsibility for the 44-7 loss to the Jaguars and were already thinking about the next game against Pittsburgh before their charter left Heathrow.

At the end of the day, Baltimore is still 2-1 and sits atop the AFC North with the Steelers. However, the stakes of their Week 4 matchup became higher with the loss to Jacksonville.

If the Ravens lose to Pittsburgh, they will be 2-2 with a road game looming against the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr. who threw four touchdown passes against them last season. So, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was smart to quickly turn the page following the Jaguars game.

“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. So we’ve got to work on the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s how we respond.”

The key is the final part of that response.

How will the Ravens respond against their division rival with portions of their fanbase apparently miffed at players for taking a knee during the National Anthem in London? (That’s another story. So for now, let’s just focus on football.)

The Ravens will face an uphill battle if defensive tackle Brandon Williams remains out of the lineup with a foot injury. Without Williams clogging the middle, the Jaguars ran for 166 yards on 35 carries. His presence would be a huge boost against the Steelers and their dynamic running back Le’Veon Bell.

Baltimore’s secondary, however, was healthy and still struggled against Jacksonville. Quarterback Blake Bortles spent the first two weeks trying to keep his job until playing against the Ravens.

Bortles was 20 of 31 for 244 yards with four touchdowns. He threw to nine receivers, including three touchdown passes to tight end Marcedes Lewis. After the game, the Ravens’ secondary owned the poor performance. That was probably the only bright spot coming from this game.

“I can’t give you an excuse why we played so bad,” safety Eric 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.”

Despite the defensive struggles, the Ravens had more problems on offense. Quarterback Joe Flacco had the worst game of his career. He completed eight of 18 pass attempts for a career-worst 28 yards with two interceptions. He finished with a quarterback rating of 12.0.

Flacco could face more questions this week about the back injury that kept him out of training camp. The long flight across the Atlantic Ocean certainly couldn’t have helped.

Flacco chalked up the loss to Jacksonville as another learning experience and he is focused on getting better against Pittsburgh. A victory against their archival would exorcise any leftover demons from the fiasco at Wembley.

“We’re all going to get back in there together and make this thing happen,” Flacco said. “These losses can be lonely, but at the same time, we have a good team and we’re all going to go back in there and work on it together. That’s going to help us big-time.”

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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