Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was officially listed as being sacked only twice and hit six times in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it seemed that he was under a lot of duress.
That might have had something to do with an offensive line that played without both starting offensive tackles: Ronnie Stanley (left ankle) on the left side and James Hurst (back) on the right. Both players had been ruled out Friday, and their absence was noticeable.
“I know Joe got touched a lot and hit a lot,” said rookie Orlando Brown Jr., who made his third consecutive start for Hurst. “So we need to do a better job there. But in my opinion, it’s all about winning, and as a team, there’s four or five plays that make a difference in a game, and you never know when they’re going to come. You’ve just got to chase perfection. I just feel like honestly, we didn’t do enough to win, and we’ve got to continue to grow.”
Brown was flagged once for holding, and left guard Alex Lewis and left tackle Jermaine Eluemunor were each cited for a false start. Lewis and Eluemunor also were called for holding, but Pittsburgh declined those penalties.
“I had some ups and downs,” said Eluemunor, the club’s 2017 fifth-round draft pick who made his first NFL start at left tackle. “But I definitely learned a lot. It was definitely a really good experience for me. This game is a rough, physical game, and I got to play in it last year when I was a rookie. … There’s definitely a lot of things I can learn from.”
Lewis — who made his first start since suffering a pinched nerve in his neck in a victory at the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 14 — acknowledged the challenging of facing a Steelers defense that entered the game tied with the Ravens for sacks per game without Stanley and Hurst.
“It is tough,” he said. “You guys saw it today. We had a couple false starts and holding penalties, and that’s on us. We’ve got to take it as a unit and communicate better up front. I feel like the guys that came in really stepped up big — Orlando, Jermaine. So we’ll get it rolling. We’ve got a nasty little losing streak here, but we’ve got a nice bye coming up to turn things around until the end of the season.”