As Ravens defense looks to fix its problems, offense adjusts to shouldering more responsibility

"We're not trying to put our defense our there with no points." said Lamar Jackson. "That's our job, and we didn't do it today."

The Ravens debuted their new-look offense in historic fashion this season, setting multiple records in wins over the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals, two of the league’s worst defenses.

The showing was flashy and the numbers were gaudy, but what would happen when the offense faced “real” defenses, many wondered.


Facing two better defenses, the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns, the Ravens offense has failed to replicate the explosive plays and productivity from its first two games.

After a shaky performance last week against the Chiefs, quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 24 of 34 passes (70.6%) for 247 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s 40-25 loss to the Browns, but his streak of not throwing an interception ended at 248 passes.


Down 33-18 in the fourth quarter, Jackson was intercepted by safety James Whitehead while forcing a deep pass in double coverage to tight end Mark Andrews. Jackson was picked off two passes later on the offense’s next possession by defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence after the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage.

The Browns played without three starters in the secondary — both starting cornerbacks missed the game because of hamstring injuries — but the Ravens offense couldn’t take advantage in the passing game.

For the second consecutive week, two of Jackson’s top targets — Andrews and rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown" — had quiet afternoons.

After becoming the first Ravens wide receiver since 2016 to record back-to-back 100-yard performances, Andrews has been held to seven catches for 46 yards and one touchdown in his past two games.


Andrews is also dealing with a lingering foot injury, which has forced him to miss practice and placed his game status in question for the past three weeks.

Brown has recorded six catches for 71 yards in his past two games after becoming the first player in NFL history to debut with multiple 40-yard receiving touchdowns.

Jackson said after Sunday’s game that similar to the Chiefs game, the Browns worked to take away the big pass plays the Ravens have exploited.

“We stuck to the game plan,” Browns cornerback T.J. Carrie said. “[We] packed the box as much as you can. Play overtop of No. 15 [Brown], don’t let him get anything cheap. Fight the ball downfield, so eventually, we would get some takeaways and turnovers."

The Ravens entered Sunday’s game without a single giveaway but turned the ball over three times.

Running back Mark Ingram II’s third-quarter fumble stopped a promising drive that entered Cleveland territory when the team was down 17-10. The Browns scored on the following possession to take a two-score lead.

“Mistakes happen," Jackson said. “We just got to go out there and punch it in. Shoot, I threw an out [route] to Marquise that hit the ground. Bad ball. If we would have kept that drive going, we would have scored points. It’s not a one-man show. It’s a team thing."

The offense hasn’t struggled mightily, but the unit’s need to score points has been amplified amid the defense’s mishaps.

When asked how this year differs from previous ones with the offense not being able to depend on the defense as frequently, Jackson interjected, saying, “[We] still can.”

“Like I said, our job is to score points,” Jackson added. “If that’s going on, we just got to punch it in a lot more. We’re not relying on our defense to go out there and stop everyone.”

Early deficits can steer a run-first, ball-dominant offense such as the Ravens’ off-course, as has been the case the past two games.

For the foreseeable future, the offense will have to carry more of the load as the defense looks to correct its problems.

“Just learn from the mistakes,” said wide receiver Willie Snead IV, who recorded two catches for 61 yards and a late touchdown.

“We’ve got to be better on offense and defense. We’ve got to help them out. It was just a bad game for us. We all have games like these. We’ve just got to come to work on Monday, watch the film, learn from it and get ready for Pittsburgh next week.”

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