By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun
9:10 PM EDT, October 13, 2013
Running back Ray Rice could hardly believe what happened Sunday as another patented failure of the Ravens' running game unfolded.
Rice was repeatedly stuffed, unable to reach the Green Bay Packers' end zone despite a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line during the second quarter of the Ravens' 19-17 loss at M&T Bank Stadium. Rice gained two yards and one yard before being tackled for no gain on third down. Then, backup Bernard Pierce was shut down on fourth down for no yards to squander a prime scoring opportunity.
"We would love to run the ball better," Rice said. "It's not something that you plan on, going out there and messing up. The run game has to get better.
"They created piles. They did what good goal-line defenses do. I never had a fair one-on-one shot with a guy. There was always two or three [defenders] in the hole."
Rice acknowledged frustration after rushing for just 34 yards on 14 carries, averaging 2.4 yards per run. The Ravens were held to 47 yards on 22 carries with Pierce limited to 9 yards on six runs.
"What you saw out there is not what we put out in practice, we practiced so hard," Rice said. "I'd use the words, 'a little frustrated.' This is one of the hardest-working teams in the NFL, I believe. I know for a fact what we get in between weightlifting, practice and everything we do, what we put out there is a little bit frustrating."
Despite the presence of a three-time Pro Bowl runner in Rice, Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and a large offensive line, the Ravens have gained little traction with the run this season. They were stymied by a huge Green Bay defensive line led by B.J. Raji.
Through six games, the Ravens have rushed for just 436 yards for an average of 72 yards per game and 2.7 per carry.
"It's frustrating," Leach said. "We had our chances and they just stopped us. We need to go back and look at what we're doing. It doesn't matter how stout they are, we just got to get the ball in there. We're just not on the same page. We're just not clicking right now."
Monroe gets first start
It was a relatively quiet debut for left tackle Eugene Monroe as he made his first start since being acquired via a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Monroe replaced Bryant McKinnie and had an uneventful game with one sack allowed.
"I felt solid," Monroe said. "I'll definitely check the film and I'll access it a little more, but I think I did a good job. I felt comfortable and the communication was good. We were on the same page."
McKinnie was inactive after complaining during the week of having fluid in his left knee drained. He wasn't listed on the injury report.
McKinnie hasn't ruled out being traded. And the Ravens have explored the possibility of trading McKinnie with a few teams expressing interest, according to league sources.
"It's definitely disappointing to sit there and watch your team lose," said McKinnie, who's guaranteed a $1 million base salary. "You have to learn from it."
Jacoby Jones is back
Kick returner and wide receiver Jacoby Jones played for the first time since spraining his right knee against the Denver Broncos in the season-opener.
Jones displayed no signs of rust after a four-game absence or lingering effects from the injury, catching an 11-yard touchdown pass. A Pro Bowl selection last season for special teams, Jones also returned four kickoffs for 102 yards and had a long return of 35 yards.
"If I can play, I can go," Jones said. "I'm fine. As long as I'm not on the sidelines watching, I'm good. I wouldn't say rust, but you do need to get a feel for the game back. It's fast. It's not like practice."
Jones celebrated his touchdown by flipping the football to his mother, Emily London Jones, and aunt in the stands.
"That's my mom, she's famous for dancing and everything," Jones said. "My aunt has been through breast cancer, so that ball was really going to her."
The Ravens had their second punt in six games blocked when reserve safety Anthony Levine allowed Ryan Taylor to get past him to take the football off punter Sam Koch's right foot.
The Ravens wound up regaining possession when strong safety James Ihedigbo recovered the football off the hands of fullback John Kuhn.
"I've got to be more assignment-sound," Levine said. "That was on me. I didn't make the right call."
Dumervil tough to stop
Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, forcing a pair of fumbles.
He's up to 68.5 sacks for his career and five for the season.
"Give credit to the coverage," Dumervil said. "I was just pushing inside, and our guys were winning the one-on-ones. I was just happy to help our team make a play."
Suggs' streak ends
Rush linebacker Terrell Suggs' streak of five games in a row with at least one sack ended. He has seven sacks in six games.
Suggs did record 10 tackles with one for a loss to move into second place on the Ravens' all-time list behind middle linebacker Ray Lewis.
Run over by rookie
The Ravens were repeatedly gashed by Packers running back Eddie Lacy as the big rookie bulled forward for 120 rushing yards on 23 carries.
That included a 37-yard run on the second play of the game.
"It was a grind, both blocking and running the football," Lacy said. "We kept the same mindset, just kept pushing and pushing."
Lacy rushed for 65 yards on eight carries by halftime.
"He creased us a couple times," Dumervil said. "Our guys have to do our job and make a better play."
The Ravens also scratched nose tackle Terrence Cody (sprained left knee), offensive linemen Jah Reid, Ryan Jensen (foot surgery), wide receiver Brandon Stokley (hip, groin), rookie linebacker John Simon and defensive end Marcus Spears (knee). ... The Ravens reported no new injuries with nose tackle Haloti Ngata leaving the game briefly with a strained left elbow before returning. ... The Ravens dropped to 10-1 at home under coach John Harbaugh against NFC teams. Heading into Sunday, the Ravens had won 13 consecutive home games against NFC opponents. ... The Packers went 0 for 4 in the red zone.
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