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1. The post-bye Ravens looked a lot like the pre-bye Ravens

Despite an agonizing loss to Pittsburgh heading into their bye week, the Ravens seemed confident they were on the verge of a renaissance. They had achieved mid-season course corrections in the past. So why not in 2013? Well, the Browns game put any such notions to bed. The Ravens offense again stumbled to a slow start. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce couldn't find running room behind a reconfigured offensive line. Joe Flacco's accuracy came and went. The Ravens started one possession on their own 10-yard-line because of a special teams penalty. They left the middle of the field unprotected because of miscommunication in the secondary. Coach John Harbaugh and the team's best players have spent the whole season saying these problems are fixable. But if that's the case, why were the failings of Week 9 so terribly familiar? I'm not even counting Tandon Doss' muffed punt, which handed the Browns a 21-10 lead. Doss has excelled as a punt returner; he just made a mistake at the wrong moment. It would be wrong to pin the Ravens' struggles on such instances of bad luck. This team's flaws are more fundamental. Harbaugh had never lost coming off a bye week, seemingly a testament to his problem-solving skills. But perhaps this team simply doesn't have enough first-rate starters on the offensive line or in the defensive backfield. Those are problems that can't be solved with two weeks of rest and a few tweaks.
Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun
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