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The Baltimore Sun

You can blame the Ravens' frustrating season on injuries, penalties and coach Brian Billick's play-calling.

But the biggest problem is turnovers.

With 26 turnovers, the Ravens are tied with the Houston Texans for the NFL lead. They have lost 17 fumbles and thrown nine interceptions, and are on pace to commit 41 turnovers this season, which would set a team record.

If the amount of turnovers isn't staggering enough, the impact has been devastating.

In their six losses, opponents have converted the Ravens' turnovers into 84 points, an average of 14 points a game. The Ravens' average margin of defeat has been 12.3 points.

The turnover problem has been magnified the past three weeks:

In a 38-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 5, the average starting field position for the Steelers off the Ravens' four turnovers was the Ravens' 17-yard line.

In a 21-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 11, the average starting field position for the Bengals off the Ravens' six turnovers was the 50.

In Sunday's 33-30 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens had allowed only a field goal off two turnovers until quarterback Kyle Boller's interception was returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

It would be an easy solution if the turnover problem could be isolated.

Three Ravens return men (Yamon Figurs, Cory Ross and Ed Reed) have fumbled at least once.

Another bizarre twist is quarterback Steve McNair fumbling seven times in six starts. He had never fumbled more than seven times in a season and had a combined eight fumbles in the previous three seasons.

Yet, it's not a surprise that turnovers have ruined the Ravens' season.

In 2005, the Ravens had their worst season under Billick, going 6-10 in a mistake-filled campaign. They committed 36 turnovers (15 fumbles, 21 interceptions), which were converted into 100 points by opponents.

Last season, when the Ravens rebounded to 13-3, they turned the ball over 23 times, which led to just 27 points for opponents.

This season, the Ravens are again having problems holding onto the ball. During their four-game losing streak, turnovers (15) have more than doubled touchdowns (seven).

Until they can reverse this trend, the Ravens will continue to give games away.



A look at how the Ravens' turnovers have affected their past five seasons:

Opp. pts.

Year Rec. TO off TO's

2003 10-6 38 110

2004 9-7 23 72

2005 6-10 36 100

2006 13-3 23 27

2007 4-6 26 87

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