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Injury-filled Ravens wasted a great chance to improve to 3-0 with poor communication

Your Monday evening news update (9/25/2023)
Your Monday evening news update (9/25/2023) 01:30

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — John Harbaugh blamed a communication breakdown for the clock management mistake that might have cost Baltimore the game against Indianapolis.

The Ravens can learn from that error and correct it easily enough. The same can't be said of the team's growing list of injuries.

Of the 22 players who started on offense and defense for Baltimore in the season opener, six of them were out for Sunday's 22-19 overtime loss to the Colts.

That doesn't count cornerback Marlon Humphrey, a hugely important member of the secondary who hasn't played at all this season while recovering from a foot operation. Or Justice Hill, who started at running back in Week 2 but didn't play last weekend because of his own foot problems.

"It's definitely something that we're contending with," Harbaugh said Monday. "We have to."

Harbaugh has plenty of experience dealing with injuries during his coaching tenure in Baltimore. The past couple of seasons, the Ravens have done a pretty good job overcoming absences — unless quarterback Lamar Jackson was the one hurt.

Jackson is healthy at the moment, but in Sunday's game, Baltimore (2-1) seemed to be feeling the effects of its other injuries. The offensive line, missing two starters, had a hard time protecting Jackson.

And the losses at running back — J.K. Dobbins is out for the season and Hill was missing against Indy — forced the Ravens to rely on practice squad call-ups such as Kenyan Drake, who had a key fumble.

Gus Edwards, another running back, had to be evaluated for a concussion Sunday.

Still, the Ravens led 19-16 after Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew stepped out of the end zone for a safety with 2:03 remaining. With only one timeout left, Indianapolis was in trouble, and Baltimore prepared for a possible onside kick on the ensuing free kick.

The Colts kicked deep, and a fair catch by Zay Flowers meant no time ran off the clock. Thanks to the two-minute warning, their one timeout and a third-down penalty on Baltimore receiver Nelson Agholor, Indianapolis managed to get the ball back just 22 seconds after the safety. The Colts then drove for the tying field goal.

Harbaugh said the Ravens thought the clock was under 2:00 before the free kick, so the fair catch made sense.

But when it was set back to 2:03, Flowers clearly would have been better off returning the ball to run the clock down to the two-minute warning on that play.

"I'll take responsibility for that," Harbaugh said. "We just got to be better at that. That should not have been a fair catch, we knew it, and we didn't get the word to Zay like we needed to."

Harbaugh said in hindsight the Ravens should have called a timeout before the kick.


It was another mostly impressive defensive effort from Baltimore, which allowed only one touchdown and sacked Minshew five times.


The Ravens couldn't move the ball consistently — to the point where they squandered two overtime possessions after taking over around midfield. Jackson ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns and completed 71% of his throws, but he was sacked four times and the protection problems may have played a role in the team's lack of a deep passing game.


It was a spectacular performance from second-year safety Kyle Hamilton, who had three sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.


Rashod Bateman had only one catch for 6 yards as the Ravens continue to rely heavily on Flowers (10 targets and eight catches) in the passing game. Bateman has only seven catches on the season for an average of 8.4 yards.


The Ravens put WR Tylan Wallace (hamstring) on injured reserve Monday. Now the wait begins to see how many of last weekend's inactives are able to practice this week.

Harbaugh also said Baltimore was signing backup quarterback Josh Johnson back onto the 53-man roster. The Ravens released Johnson last week because of their other injury problems.

"We needed to have enough guys who were healthy (and) active," Harbaugh said. "He was good about it because he knew it was the best thing for this week. He deserves a lot of credit for that."


11 — The number of yards the Ravens gained in overtime. Their two possessions began at the Indianapolis 48 and the Baltimore 46. A field goal in either situation would have won it.


The Ravens don't play at home again for a while. They're at Cleveland and Pittsburgh the next two weekends followed by a trip to London to face Tennessee.

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