Ravens coach John Harbaugh repeatedly took blame for Baltimore’s poor performance Thursday night in Miami that led to a 22-10 loss to the Dolphins.
“Outcoached us, outplayed us,” Harbaugh said, via The Athletic. “Bottom line is, this falls squarely on me as the head coach. We were not prepared the way we needed to be prepared. Our schemes weren’t up to snuff. And we weren’t prepared to execute the way we needed to. So that’s it. Not on one player. Our players played their hearts out. … We just weren’t ready, and that’s on me.”
The Ravens offense played its worst game of the year, putting up a season-low 10 points and 304 yards. Unable to handle the Dolphins’ repeated blitzes, the Baltimore offense generated just seven first downs on nine possessions (no more than one on any drive) from the second quarter until midway through the fourth when the Ravens trailed by double-digits.
Coming off an 89-play overtime win in Week 9, the Ravens lacked juice on a short week. At points amid the struggles, quarterback Lamar Jackson was seen yelling on the sideline.
“I was hot,” Jackson said. “We weren’t scoring any points. We were putting our defense out there. They played a great game. The Dolphins had their great plays on offense, but I feel our defense played lights out, man. We just weren’t getting it done on offense. So that’s why I was mad. If you were on offense, you would be mad, too.”
The Dolphins brought waves of pressure, utilizing Cover-0 (all-out blitzes) with safeties Jevon Holland (21 blitzes) and Brandon Jones (17) coming after Jackson. Cover-0 is usually an all-or-nothing proposition for defenses, a big sack or a long gain. Most defenses use it sparingly. Brian Flores’ club kept dialing it up Thursday night.
The Ravens never could find an answer.
“(Cover) Zero is like one of those things where you have to make them pay, you know?” tight end Mark Andrews said. “I don’t think early on we did that enough. That’s one of the things, you make them pay early on, they kind of get out of there.”
According to Next Gen Stats, Holland and Jones blitzed more times than any DB in a game since 2016 (when Next Gen Stats began tracking data). Holland, the No. 36 overall pick in the 2021 draft, was a stud all game, generating four QB pressures and a sack on 21 pass rushes (19.0 pressure percentage).
It’s not as though Jackson hasn’t seen blitzes before. The Dolphins blitzed on 51.1 percent of Jackson’s dropbacks, the third-highest rate in Jackson’s career.
On Thursday night, however, he couldn’t find an answer until it was too late. Jackson generated just 111 passing yards through three quarters as the Ravens trailed 6-3. He finished 26-of-43 for 238 yards, one TD, one INT and a 73.8 passer rating. Baltimore never did make Miami pay for hits blitzes, as Jackson recorded a 37.5 passer rating on passes of 10-plus air yards.
The Ravens’ three points through three quarters marked the lowest point total in Jackson’s career as a starter. In previous games, Baltimore has overcome poor starts to roar back for a win. The Dolphins didn’t let them Thursday.
“Every week. It’s ridiculous,” Jackson said of the slow starts. “I don’t understand it either.”
Harbaugh again pointed to himself and his staff as the reason for the slow starts and the inability to find the gas pedal against Miami.
“It’s hard to win on Thursday night, but we’ve done it before and we’ve been successful,” Harbaugh said. “We just played poorly and it’s because of our coaching. I didn’t do a good job getting these guys ready.”
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