Ravens QB Joe Flacco talks about the focus on the passing game over the running game. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun video)

Along with quarterback Joe Flacco misfiring for five interceptions, tight end Ed Dickson's suspect hands and a sleepwalking running game, the Ravens offense has also been infected by the penalty bug.

During a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Ravens were penalized eight times for 59 yards.

It's not the amount of penalties so much as the timing of them that made it difficult for the Ravens to gain traction as an offense.

The Ravens were penalized on their first two offensive plays of the game.

First, left offensive guard Kelechi Osemele was flagged for a facemask penalty one week after offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie was penalized twice for facemask calls and was fined $7,850.

On the ensuing play, running back Ray Rice committed a false start. That's rare for a running back.

Later in the drive, on a third down, offensive guard Marshal Yanda got hit with a false start. That led to a punt.

In the second quarter, offensive tackle Michael Oher was flagged for holding. One play later, Dickson dropped the ball and it deflected into the hands of former Ravens safety Jim Leonhard for an interception.

In the third quarter, it was Dickson who committed a false-start penalty, and Osemele was flagged for illegal formation because he didn't line up properly.

"We have to find a way to win the tough games, but, at the same time, not find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties," said wide receiver Torrey Smith, the lone bright spot for the offense with five receptions for 166 yards and one touchdown on a dozen targets. "Same thing two games in a row in terms of offense. We're starting from behind the count because we're having penalties and things like that.

"We just have to go out there and play football and make plays. I think that we have the ability. We just have to go out there and do it. We dug ourselves in a hole and we had to try to dig ourselves out. We were close, but not good enough."

awilson@baltsun.com
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