Ravens' offense falters again in loss to Packers

BALTIMORE - Joe Flacco stood in front of the media about 15 minutes after the Ravens' 19-17 loss to the Packers Sunday and was asked seemingly the same questions that he has been after now each of Baltimore's first six games of the season.
What led to the offense struggling? Why does the offense continue to get off to slow starts? What's wrong with the running game?
The troubling part for the Ravens is that their problems offensively don't appear much closer to being solved than they were after the first game of the season.
Baltimore has shown flashes offensively, and it did during the second half on Sunday. But for the most part, the offense has been largely inept this season, and it was once again against Green Bay on Sunday.
"[Our] defense played a heck of a game for us," Rice said. "We would have loved to have helped those guys out, but things didn't go our way."
Flacco and the offense did make some plays late to get back Baltimore in the game. The Packers led 16-3 entering the fourth quarter, but Flacco threw two fourth quarter touchdowns to get the Ravens within 19-17 with two minutes, four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
But, as Flacco alluded to after the game, the offense just wasn't good enough Sunday for Baltimore to win the game.
"It was just overall not good," Flacco said. "We just couldn't get anything going, and you can't expect to play that badly for that long and win a game."
The final numbers are a bit deceiving.
Flacco completed 20 of his 34 pass attempts for 342 yards and the two touchdowns without throwing an interception.
And largely behind Flacco, the Ravens finished with 360 yards, which is considered a solid yardage output.
But for three quarters Sunday, Baltimore could barely move the ball.
The running game was once again an almost complete non-factor. Flacco couldn't get much going in the passing game prior to the fourth quarter. And the offensive line, even with Eugene Monroe in at left tackle instead of Bryant McKinnie, continues to be a problem in both the running game as well as in pass protection.
The Ravens did score points on each of their final three possessions, including touchdowns on each of their two possessions during the fourth quarter, but their first 11 drives ended in either a punt, a turnover or a turnover or downs.
Baltimore had just four first downs through the end of the first half and just five through the end of the third quarter.
"It's tough when you don't have any success on first and second down and you're putting yourself in third down situations and the only you score touchdowns or kick a field goal is you convert four third downs to get there and have to get 12 yards at a time," Flacco said. "Twelve yards. Twelve yards. Twelve yards.
"In order to sustain drives, you need to get first downs on first and second down, and you need to get a couple chunks in there, and we're not doing that. We're getting one big chunk, and then we're putting ourselves back in third down-and-long situations and not getting it."
The Ravens were just 2 of 14 on third down.
They also scored touchdowns on just two of their four drives that did extend into the Packers' red zone.
They scored the two touchdowns during the fourth quarter, but they had to settle for a field goal late in the third quarter after advancing to Green Bay's 5-yard line, and they came up without any points on a drive midway through the second quarter after having a first-and-goal at the Packers' 4-yard line.
"We get down in the red zone there, [and] we just can't score a touchdown," Flacco said. "We couldn't score a touchdown. We had four downs, couldn't score a touchdown in the first half half. Things like that.
"Usually [when we] get down in the red zone, we usually score. We might not get down there a ton of times in the past. But when we do, we score, and we just weren't able to do that today."
Baltimore did still have a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Flacco's second touchdown pass, an 18-yarder to Dallas Clark, cut the Ravens' deficit to two with two-plus minutes remaining.
But for as well as Baltimore's defense may have played for most of the three quarters against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense, Green Bay put together a 7 minute, 35 second drive early in the fourth quarter that ended with a field goal and then picked up two first downs after Flacco's touchdown to prevent the Ravens' offense from getting the ball back with a chance at a game-winning score.
"We knew coming in, studying [Rodgers], he could throw and he could run," Baltimore outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. "He basically just made one more play than we did. We did some good things on defense, but give him credit. They were the better team tonight."
With the loss, the Ravens fall to 3-3 and are now a game back of first place in the AFC North heading into next week's game at Pittsburgh.
"You always want to defend your home," Baltimore outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It's the NFL, and you have to take care of your home games. Hopefully you can win all your home games and split on the road. That's a good formula for success. We just have to come back and get over it quickly and get ready for Pittsburgh."