The Ravens were one of the top teams in the NFL at taking away and protecting the football last season on the way to their victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
That's no longer the case this season for defending champions.
The Ravens (4-6) have fallen to 23rd in the NFL in turnover differential with a minus-5 total. They have forced seven interceptions and six fumble recoveries, but the 13 interceptions from quarterback Joe Flacco and five lost fumbles as a team put them in the negative.
Last season, the Ravens finished tied for eighth in the league in turnover margin with a plus-9 differential. They intercepted 13 passes and recovered 12 fumbles. Flacco threw just 11 interceptions for the entire regular season, and the team lost five fumbles.
The Chicago Bears intercepted Flacco twice in the Ravens' 23-20 loss in overtime on Sunday at Soldier Field, with one returned for a touchdown. One of his interceptions was thrown into heavy traffic on a pass intended for tight end Dallas Clark and picked off by rookie middle linebacker Jon Bostic.
"I don’t ever get into all that in the public forum," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when asked about Flacco's interception to Bostic. "Those things are all addressed very aggressively in-house in our meeting room. And our guys take responsibility, and there is accountability, and it’s never one thing.
"So, we all need to be better. We need to collectively be better. What we can’t be doing is turning the ball over in those situations -- for whatever reason. And we’ve had too much of that this year. You talk about turnovers, let’s talk about all of it -- all three phases."
Turnovers have played a big role in the Ravens' recent struggles. They've lost four of their past five games.
The Ravens have lost several close games this season, going 2-4 in games decided by three points or less. In their past five losses, the Ravens have fallen by a combined 17 points.
"The thing that we talked about was the fact that we create too many opportunities for our opponent," Harbaugh said. "That’s what we’ve done too much this year, and that’s the biggest difference [from] other years when we’ve won these close games. You can’t give your opponent opportunities that they don’t necessarily [create].
"They are going to make enough plays on their own without creating opportunities for them or plays for them. And that’s where we have to be better. We’ve got to do a better job of that starting right now. And that’s got to be Job One. We haven't gotten enoughturnovers, that's one thing that would help us."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun