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Gary Kubiak shoulders blame for offensive struggles vs. Texans

Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was visibly under the weather Wednesday afternoon, enough so that team officials issued a warning about getting too close to him.

Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was visibly under the weather Wednesday afternoon, enough so that team officials issued a warning about getting too close to him.

Kubiak is suffering from a cold, but his pride is also stinging following the Ravens' worst offensive performance of the season during a 25-13 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans. The Ravens generated a season-low 211 yards of total offense on 68 plays to average 3.1 yards per play against Kubiak's old team, rushing for just 33 yards on 16 carries.

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Quarterback Joe Flacco was under major duress from Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. Flacco was hit 10 times overall, sacked twice and was noticeably uncomfortable in the pocket. He was intercepted a season-high three times and had a 41.7 passer rating.

"Yes, Joe took a lot of shots," said Kubiak, who was fired by the Texans as head coach last year. "Start with me, I didn't do a good enough job. We didn't play good enough on offense. We can play a lot better than we have throughout the course of the year. You have to have a short memory."

It was a major departure from how the offense has been upgraded this season since Kubiak was hired during the offseason, ranking 11th in total offense, seventh in rushing and eighth in scoring offense. The Ravens are now 10 points shy of breaking the franchise single-season scoring record after finishing 29th in total offense last year.

"I think offensively some of the things that we've been through, and the running back situation starting the season, I think you have to feel good about some of the things that have happened throughout the course of the year," Kubiak said. "Obviously, we were disappointed in how we played last week. We have to play a lot better than that.

"Evaluations will be at the end, but there are some players that have done some really good things. I think the biggest thing we've done offensively is we've gotten better at protecting the quarterback and we run the football. Those are important."

The Ravens didn't utilize chip-blocking assistance often to try to contain Watt, who had eight tackles, four quarterback hits and one sack. There was a lot of blitz pressure up the middle, too, from inside linebackers Brian Cushing and Akeem Dent.

"We obviously got some A-gap pressure, but we've been getting that all year," Kubiak said. "We didn't handle it as well as we've handled it before. If you're not doing it well, then you're going to continue to get it. They have a great player outside [Watt].

"When you start chipping him and you get inside stuff, too, that makes it even tougher. The way you handle those things is to run the ball, and we weren't able to do that last week."

Now, the Ravens will probably have to start two rookie offensive linemen in tackle James Hurst and guard John Urschel on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns with right tackle Rick Wagner on injured reserve with a Lisfranc sprain  and left tackle Eugene Monroe unable to practice due to an ankle injury.

Wagner had successful surgery Wednesday morning with Carolina Panthers team doctor and foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson performing the procedure, according to a source.

"They're going to have to play well for us to continue playing this year," Kubiak said of Hurst and Urschel. "We believe in them. They both play hard, they're both very smart and they get to play next to a center [Jeremy Zuttah] who's a very, very sharp guy."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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