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Harbaugh on Ravens: 'We need to get better'

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Harbaugh on Ravens: 'We need to get better'

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) There's really nothing eye-catching about the Baltimore Ravens this season - except their record.

Baltimore's inconsistent offense and defensive deficiencies were on full display Sunday in Cleveland, yet the Ravens emerged with another lackluster victory to improve to 6-2 and remain atop the AFC North.

At the midpoint in its season, Baltimore owns the second-best record in the conference and appears on course to reach the playoffs in a fifth straight year.

``By the same token, we're not the team that we need to be. We need to be better,'' coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Monday. ``We need be better on third down. We need to run the ball more consistently. We need to protect our quarterback more consistently. We need to throw and catch better. And that's just on the offensive side.''

Baltimore went six straight possessions without a first down in Sunday's 25-15 win. Ray Rice gained 66 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 98. Joe Flacco completed 15 of 24 passes for 153 yards.

Not exactly the production that Ravens want from an offense that has been called upon to offset a struggling defense that's without injured starters Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.

``A lot of things have to get better or we're not going to be 6-2 in the second half,'' Harbaugh said.

The offense begins with Rice, a Pro Bowl running back who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year. Against Cleveland, he started strong but garnered only 40 yards on the ground after the opening two series.

``We need to be able to run the ball. Absolutely. That's kind of our identity,'' Harbaugh said. ``We want to be a physical football team. ... The truth is, it's going to take different things in different games to win.''

Against the Browns (2-6), it took a fast start and a fourth-quarter rally for Baltimore to secure its 11th consecutive division win. But the Ravens gave up five scoring drives, were outgained 290-282 and allowed 105 yards rushing to rookie Trent Richardson.

Following a season-opening 44-13 win over Cincinnati, Baltimore has won by 1, 7, 3, 2 and 10 points.

``I'm all for blowouts - as long as we're the ones doing the blowing out,'' Harbaugh said. ``We were on the short end of one two weeks ago (43-13 at Houston) and that wasn't too much fun. But blowouts are tough to come by.''

That's why the Ravens aren't about to complain about winning ugly. Especially on the road, where they evened their record at 2-2 after squeezing past the lowly Browns.

``To win a division game on the road is huge,'' Rice said. ``We've never been fancy and pretty, but we find ourselves on top most of the time. That's Ravens football. Our wins are not pretty, but when you are 6-2, there's no complaining about it.''

The second half of the season offers a challenging schedule that begins Sunday at home against Oakland, includes two games with Pittsburgh and features home matchups with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

``We've got the men for the job,'' Harbaugh said. ``We're going to work hard and we're going to improve.''

If the Ravens can perform as they did during the first two series against the Browns - both of which ended in touchdowns - they will flourish. But that kind of consistency has eluded them since the season opener.

``I wish we would go out there and continue to play like we were in the first quarter, and go up and down the field the whole game,'' Flacco said. ``But sometimes it doesn't work out that way, and you have to be ready to continue to play the whole game and play the full 60 minutes, take whatever is thrown your way and go make the best of it.

``Hey, we're a good team. We've been in a lot of situations like this before. So when it does happen, we know how to react, we know how to go out there and keep our heads down and play until it's all over.''

Watching tape of Sunday's game probably caused Harbaugh and more than a few players to wince. But it wasn't all bad.

``Lost in all the talk about things we have to get better at was the fact that we had to win that game,'' Harbaugh said. ``We did not turn the ball over, we had no major negative play in our own end that cost us the game. ... It took some patience, but I was proud of the fact we were able to pull it off.''

Notes: Harbaugh said G Marshal Yanda, who missed several series Sunday, ``tweaked a knee a little bit and tweaked his ankle a little bit.'' Yanda received an MRI and the results showed nothing significant, Harbaugh said. ... G Bobbie Williams sprained an ankle and will likely be rested during the week but is expected to play Sunday.

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Ravens vs. Vikings: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Ravens vs. Vikings: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Like much of the season thus far, the Ravens' offense struggled Sunday against an also struggling Bears.

It seemed as if their offense was playing in slow motion for part of their 27-24 OT loss.

Joe Flacco went 24 for 41 for only 180 yards and threw two interceptions. 

The Ravens had a shot at getting the win but couldn't capitalize on two special teams plays that helped them force the game into OT, leaving many questions about the state of the Ravens' offense.

RELATED: WEEK 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS

The team hasn't had much luck in presumably easy matchups, and now they are headed to Minnesota to take on the 4-2 Vikings.

The Vikings are coming off a 23-10 win against the Packers where quarterback Case Keenum threw for 239 yards and one touchdown. 

Star running back Dalvin Cook tore his ACL in Week 4 against the Lions and is out for the rest of the season, causing the team to lean on Latavius Murrary and Jerick McKinnon. 

Against the Packers, McKinnon rushed for 69 yards and one touchdown.

Something the Ravens and Vikings have in common is a surplus of injuries. 

Vikings starting quarterback Sam Bradford is still dealing with an aggravated knee injury and isn't expected to make his return Sunday against the Ravens.

Ravens running back Terrance West suffered a calf injury Week 5 against the Raiders and did not play against the Bears in Week 6. Tight end Maxx Williams hurt his left ankle in the second quarter of Sunday's game, as well as wide receiver Breshad Perriman who suffered a concussion. Both plays caused a turnover.

The Ravens lead the series 3-2 and haven't faced the Vikings since 2013.

Here's everything you need to know to watch Ravens, Vikings. 

Week 7 Ravens vs. Vikings Game Info:

Who: Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings

What: Week 7 NFL regular season 

When: 1:00 p.m.. ET, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017

Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

TV Channel: CBS

Live Stream: NFL Game PassCBS All Access

Radio: WBAL New Radio 1090 

Point Spread: Minnesota, -5.5

Over/Under: 40

Weather: 63 degrees, partly cloudy

BALTIMORE RAVENS 2017 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1 (Sun, Sept. 10): 20-0  at Cincinnati Bengals (W)

Week 2 (Sun, Sept. 17): 24-10 vs. Cleveland Browns (W)

Week 3 (Sun, Sept. 24): 44-7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (in London) (L)

Week 4 (Sun, Oct. 1): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 5 (Sun, Oct. 8): at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. (W)

Week 6 (Sun, Oct. 15): vs Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m. (L)

Week 7 (Sun, Oct. 22): at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m.

Week 8 (Thur, Oct. 26): vs. Miami Dolphins, 8:25 p.m.

Week 9 (Sun, Nov. 5): at Tennessee Titans, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10 (Sun, Nov. 12): BYE week

Week 11 (Sun, Nov. 19): at Green Bay Packers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12 (Mon, Nov. 27): vs. Houston Texans, 8:30 p.m.

Week 13 (Sun, Dec. 3): vs. Detroit Lions, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: (Sun, Dec. 10): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m.

Week 15: (Sun, Dec. 17): at Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: (Sat, Dec. 23): vs Indianapolis Colts, 4:30 p.m.

Week 17: (Sun, Dec. 31): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

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Ravens lose in OT after offensive struggles haunt team once again

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Ravens lose in OT after offensive struggles haunt team once again

BALTIMORE -- When the Chicago Bears weigh the good and bad facets of their performance against the Baltimore Ravens, it's likely they will come up with this conclusion:

Who cares? We won.

After blowing a 14-point lead, allowing two long kick returns and committing two turnovers, the Bears used a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth in overtime to secure a 27-24 victory Sunday.

"You got to be able to take whatever situation you get and make something out of it," defensive end Akiem Hicks said. "I wanted to get a good W, go home and relax. The coming down to the wire thing is not my favorite style, but . however you get it, you just got to appreciate it."

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Jordan Howard ran for 167 yards, including a 53-yarder that set up the game-winning score for the Bears (2-4), whose two wins this season have come in overtime.

Howard's long run in OT put Chicago at the Baltimore 40. After rookie Mitchell Trubisky completed an 18-yard pass to Kendall Wright, Barth delivered the decisive kick.

"It wasn't always perfect -- it seldom is -- but we're just happy to get out of here with a win," Bears coach John Fox said.

Making his first career start on the road, Trubisky directed a conservative game plan that leaned heavily on the run. The first-round draft pick completed 8 of 16 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.

"We took what the defense gave us," the rookie said. "The run game was working, so let's keep pounding the rock."

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Howard had 36 carries and the Bears gained 231 yards on 54 attempts.

"Whatever it takes to win," Fox stressed. "This week, we had to run the ball -- and we did."

Baltimore (3-3) trailed 17-3 in the third quarter and 24-16 late in regulation before capitalizing on special teams play to get back in the game.

Bobby Rainey took a kickoff 96 yards for a score to begin the comeback and Michael Campanaro brought back a punt 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:37 remaining. The 2-point conversion was successful , setting up overtime.

"Those two special teams touchdowns were huge," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

The Ravens weren't the only ones to capitalize on big plays. Chicago used a halfback pass from Tarik Cohen to Zach Miller for a first-half score, and Adrian Amos returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown for a 24-13 lead with 5:08 left.

Baltimore was in position for the go-ahead score when Amos got his first career interception on a pass that bounced off the chest of receiver Chris Moore, who was covered tightly by Kyle Fuller.

Chicago forced three turnovers and frustrated quarterback Joe Flacco throughout the afternoon. Operating without injured receivers Jeremy Maclin (inactive) and Breshad Perriman (second-quarter concussion), Flacco went 24 for 41 for 180 yards with two interceptions.

Trubisky put Chicago ahead 17-3 in the third quarter with an on-the-run, 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dion Sims, who outfought Tony Jefferson for the ball in the end zone.

That put the Ravens in a precarious position, especially with a struggling offense.

Rainey alleviated the pressure by taking the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. After being tripped by a teammate, Rainey popped to his feet, broke right and went the distance.

Campanaro did his part later, but it wasn't enough.

"Sometimes your special teams kick in and score two touchdowns, which is great," tight end Benjamin Watson said. "But Chicago did a better job of closing than we did."

The Ravens were coming off a 30-17 win in Oakland in which they did not commit a turnover, didn't allow a sack and were penalized only once.

In this one, Baltimore gave the ball away twice, permitted two sacks and was flagged five times -- in the first half.