OWINGS MILLS — It was an especially ugly performance for the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line.
Unable to hold blocks in a key red-zone situation in a 27-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, the line also allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to be battered for three sacks and roughly eight quarterback hits.
Plus, the Ravens rushed for only 66 yards while averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
“They’ll tell you they’re not happy about it,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I was impressed with their defense. We thought we had a chance we would block their front a little bit better in the run game, and it didn’t happen.”
Offensive tackle Jared Gaither was exploited by relentless rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews for two sacks.
Both Gaither and rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher jumped offsides.
And veteran offensive guard Ben Grubbs might have had the worst game of his NFL career as he was manhandled at the point of attack by B.J. Raji and Cullen Jenkins.
“I have to make no excuses,” Grubbs said. “I’m a man, and I’m going to stand up for my responsibilities. I have to play better, and I think everybody in this locker room would say the same thing.
“It wasn’t a good game for me. I have to prepare better during the week and get ready to play on Sunday.”
Grubbs underwent surgery during the offseason to clean out bone spurs in his left ankle. He also had a tendon attached.
“It has been a factor,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been fighting through it and he can play better than he did obviously on Monday night, and I’m very confident that he will.”
Added Grubbs: “I wouldn’t say it’s affecting me.
Over the past two games against the NFL’s top-ranked defense at the time, including five sacks surrendered against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, the Ravens have allowed a total of eight sacks.
“I have confidence in our group,” said center Matt Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl center. “I have confidence in our coaches, and they have confidence in us. If you start questioning what you’re doing, then you start to change stuff up.
“There are no magical answers. We just get back to work and play to a level that we can play at.”
When running back Willis McGahee was tackled for a two-yard loss by cornerback Charles Woodson, offensive guard Marshal Yanda allowed immediate penetration.
“We all missed some blocks,” Yanda said. “We know we can play better than that.”
“We mis-executed the play and let a linebacker come through,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “It wound up eating the guard who would be coming around to block the guy who was unblocked in the hole, which was Woodson.
“Willis McGahee did what I think any back would have done there. If he can just pull his right foot out of that tackle, we’ve got a chance.”
One play later, Flacco threw a costly interception in the end zone.
Cameron defended the line’s play even though it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t good, including by their own admission.
Flacco wound up throwing three interceptions and running back Ray Rice lost the first fumble of his career.
“We have a prideful group,” Cameron said. “It was a collective effort. It wasn’t just the offensive line. There wasn’t anybody coming out of that game that felt like they couldn’t have done more to help us win the game. With us, it starts with taking care of the football, and that wasn’t the offensive line’s fault.”
TRAINING ROOM: Free safety Ed Reed (strained groin, foot) didn’t practice again Thursday.
Also not practicing for the second day in a row: wide receiver Mark Clayton (tweaked right hamstring), Gaither (foot), tight end L.J. Smith (ankle), linebacker Jarret Johnson (left shoulder, back) and offensive lineman David Hale (concussion).
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (sprained medial collateral ligament) and kicker Billy Cundiff (concussion) were limited again.
Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney joined the injured list with a back problem and was limited.
Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee, hip, ankle) participated fully again.
The Ravens didn’t previously list Flacco as having a knee injury. It’s believed he also has a sore shoulder.
QUICK HITS: Detroit Lions defensive tackle Grady Jackson was downgraded to not practicing after being limited the previous day, and quarterback Matthew Stafford (separated left non-throwing shoulder) didn’t practice again. Five other starters, including defensive end Dewayne White (toe), free safety Louis Delmas (ankle), offensive lineman Daniel Loper (foot), punter Nick Harris (left knee) and linebacker Ernie Sims, were limited. Cornerback Will James (neck) participated fully after being limited Wednesday. … The Lions employ former Ravens pro personnel director James “Shack” Harris as senior personnel executive and former Ravens fullback Sam Gash as running backs coach and former Ravens scout Jeremiah Washburn as assistant offensive line coach. The Lions’ practice squad includes former Ravens running back Cedric Peerman and tight end Jake Nordin. … Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was named as USA Football’s All-Fundamentals team. “This is pretty cool,” Ngata said. “This is kind of surprising. Definitely work hard to work on your fundamentals and technique. It basically started in high school and little league, and I just kept on learning things as you to college and now here in the NFL. Added defensive coordinator Greg Mattison: “You can be as big as Haloti and play as great as he does, but if he doesn’t play with fundamentals, that would be high on my list. To me, that might be one of the highest honors you can get because that means a guy that has tremendous talent. I’m honored to be part of this guy’s world right now.” … Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg was complimentary of rookie kick returner and cornerback Lardarius Webb, who had a 68-yard return against the Packers. “The thing that I think has served him well is he has real good vision when he’s got the ball in his hands,” Rosburg said. “He’s able to see creases. He runs aggressively, which I really like about him.” … Cameron said that he doesn’t think that Flacco’s injuries have caused his recent slump. “In my mind and I think Joe would tell you, too, his health has not been a factor,” Cameron said. “This is December in the NFL. Everybody’s got bumps and bruised.”