Kansas City, Mo. - Kansas City outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were constant presences in the Baltimore Ravens' backfield Sunday.
Matched up against an exclusive 3-4 defensive front for the first time this season, and talented outside linebackers in Hali and Houston, Ravens offensive tackles Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele struggled.
Hali and Houston each had two sacks Sunday.
"We did some good things, and we did some not so good things," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "I'd say we were inconsistent, probably. It's going to happen sometimes on the road against two excellent pass rushers. ... We got edged once or twice in one-on-one. We got beat inside once or twice - one time on what we call a 'me-game' where the end goes first and the tackle comes around second. So, those are things we are going to definitely have to work on."
It didn't help that Ravens receivers had trouble getting open against a physical Chiefs secondary that employed press-man coverage for most of the game.
"Obviously they've got some talented pass rushers and the ball's got to get out quick," Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta said. "They played physical. They played hard. ... You have to be conscious of those guys [Hali and Houston], and do what you can to slow them down, and really try to get the ball out of your hand quickly."
3-4 defenses typically have better, more athletic pass rushers than their 4-3 counterparts.
The Chiefs were the first of three straight 3-4 defenses the Ravens will face leading up to their bye week.
Baltimore hosts the Dallas Cowboys Sunday before traveling to face the Houston Texans Oct. 21.
Cowboys outside linebacker Demarcus Ware had five sacks in the Cowboys' first four games.
Texans defensive end J.J Watt leads NFL defense lineman with 7.5 sacks. Outside linebackers Connor Barwin (11.5) and Brooks Reed (six) combined for 17.5 sacks last season.
"We've been seeing 4-3 teams for the last couple weeks," Ravens running back Ray Rice said. "[The Chiefs] were our first 3-4 team that we've seen this year. Needless to say, we're going to see 3-4 teams the next couple weeks, and I'm glad we saw one right away that was pretty good, and now we get to make adjustments."
Those adjustments will also involve Baltimore's receivers doing a better job against press-man coverage, an area they struggled with against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 and the Chiefs Sunday.
Harbaugh indicated Sunday's opponent, Dallas, has corners that like to be physical at the line of scrimmage as well.
"[Kansas City] has two excellent corners, and they played very well," Harbaugh said. "Just like this week, these guys have two excellent corners. People are willing to match their corners up, and we just need to take advantage of that and make some plays. That's what our guys want to do."
STARTING SLOW: For the third straight week, Baltimore's offense failed to score a first quarter touchdown.
The Ravens picked up one just first down on their first two drives Sunday before getting in position for a short Justin Tucker field goal late in the first quarter.
Tucker's field goal represented Baltimore's first points in the first quarter since Vonta Leach's 5-yard touchdown run during the opening quarter of the Ravens' loss to the Eagles Sept. 16.
Tucker's kick was Baltimore's only points of the first half Sunday, a half that ended with the Ravens having compiled just six first downs.
Harbaugh was asked Monday the key to finding an offensive rhythm earlier in games.
"Getting first downs. That's the key," he said.
Flacco finished Sunday just 13-of-27 for 187 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He was 7-of-17 for 64 yards in the first half.
The offense fared slightly better in the second half. Each of their first three possessions of the second half stretched into Chiefs territory, including two that extended into Kansas City's red zone, but those three drives translated into just six combined points.
Baltimore was 1-of-9 on third downs prior to its final drive of the fourth quarter.
"I don't think we got in a great rhythm, especially in the first half," Pitta said. "I just don't think we were on the field long enough. We didn't finish drives. We did some good things, and made some plays when we had to to win the football game, but we've got a lot to correct."NO TIMETABLE ON SUGGS: Harbaugh disputed a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen that said outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon surgery) was planning to make his season debut Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns.
"Yes, I saw the report," Harbaugh said. "I talked to Mort' about that. I don't know where he got that. He didn't get that from me."
Suggs had surgery in May to repair a partial tear of his right Achilles tendon.
At the time, he estimated he would able to return in four to six months.
Baltimore placed Suggs on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in late August. Players on the PUP list must sit out a team's first six games, which means the earliest Suggs can return is Oct. 21 against the Houston Texans.
The Ravens will then have three weeks following the Houston game to either activate Suggs or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Harbaugh said last week that Suggs "is going to play" at some point this season, but emphasized Monday the team has no idea when that will be.
"None of us know. None of us know," Harbaugh stressed, later adding, "We don't know yet. Once he gets out there and starts practicing, then we'll have a better indication. ... He looks pretty good right now, but he's not going through any football workouts yet. He hasn't been through a practice or anything like that yet, and I don't think you know until you see him practice."