The bye week came at a good time for the Ravens.
A deflating 41-17 loss to the Bengals was a good reminder that the team still has room for improvement.
Most of the team’s issues on defense revolve around tackling and that’s been a talking point throughout the season.
“There are a lot of things that go into it,” Harbaugh said. “When you watch, yes, we didn’t tackle well. There is no question about that. The biggest problem we have on defense right now, in terms of the big plays, is not getting guys on the ground. Whether it’s been underneath slant routes, or screen routes, or in one case, we got the screen and went – that’s the first time we’ve had one thrown over our head, really, I believe this year.
“Most of them have been catch and run plays, and that’s going back to the Kansas City game. That’s been an on and off problem all year. Until we get that fixed, we’ll be a very mediocre defense, generally speaking. Our guys understand that.”
The missed tackles have been costly at times.
In Week 7 against the Bengals, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Chuck Clark whiffed on a tackle that allowed an 82-yard touchdown to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. That play gave the Bengals a 27-17 lead and the Ravens never recovered.
The Bengals then put the game away with a 21-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon that boosted the lead to 34-17. Cincinnati running back Samaje Perine also had a 46-yard touchdown scamper on the next drive, Both times, the Ravens missed several tackles, a problem that has resurfaced numerous times.
We’re not very consistent yet,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “We’re trying to find ourselves still. We have flashes. We had flashes of it today, and then we had moments where we didn’t play so [well]. One thing for sure is that I believe in everybody we have in the room.
“I believe in my guys. The mistakes we made I know we’re going to fix, and we’re going to go out there and play some good football. In the second half of the season, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure.”
The Ravens also need to fix some issues with the inconsistent running game, which is still ranked fourth in the NFL with 149.4 yards per game.
At 5-2, the Ravens are one of the top teams in the AFC.
They plan to come back strong against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 7 after the bye.
“We played our worst game of the season-worst game in a long time – [and the] Bengals played very well,” Harbaugh said. “They were very prepared [and] played a great game. So, it’s week-to-week. Just like you said, a week ago, you’re being crowned the best ever, and we’re sitting there going, ‘Woah, woah, it’s one week.’
“Now, you want to say, ‘What’s wrong with the run game? What’s wrong with the pass game? You guys are terrible.’ And we’re like, ‘Woah, woah, it’s one week.’ It’s the same message from us. So, that’s how it works. That’s how the National Football League works.”