OAKLAND – Here are five things we learned after the Ravens fell to 0-2, losing to the Raiders, 37-33:
1. The Ravens are in trouble, 0-2 for the first time under John Harbaugh.
This was a must-win the Ravens didn’t get, and it left them dead last (0-2) in the AFC North. The result makes the Ravens’ home opener against the Bengals (2-0) next week even more crucial. If the Bengals start 3-0, and the Ravens start 0-3, do you think the Ravens will win the AFC North? I don’t.
2. The Ravens’ decision to stay West before this game didn’t help.
The Ravens spend the week practicing in San Jose, spent nine days on the road, and for what? To go 0-2, that’s what. And they are planning another weeklong stay out West in October when they play the 49ers and Cardinals back-to-back. By the end of October, the Ravens will have spent a lot of time on the road. But if they don’t starting playing better, they’re going to be in deep trouble by the time they reach Week 8.
3. Linebacker Terrell Suggs was missed.
If you give up 37 points to the Raiders, you deserve to lose. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had a ton of time to throw all day. This was the Ravens’ first game after Suggs’ season-ending Achilles injury, and the defense didn’t react well. The amount of time Carr had to throw also led to mistakes in the Ravens’ secondary. Newly-signed pass rusher Jason Babin was not activated for this game, but whether Babin eventually helps or not, it will be difficult for the Ravens’ defense to succeed if their pass rush remains this dormant.
4. The Ravens have a pass-catching tight end in Crockett Gillmore
This was a statement game for Gillmore (five catches, 88 yards, two touchdowns), one of the few Ravens positives to take from this game. He showed his ability not only to get open, and to make powerful runs after the catch. Gillmore overpowered three Raiders defenders to bull his way into the end zone. In only his second year, Gillmore entered the league labeled as a blocking tight end. In truth, he’s an all-around tight end who looks ready to become a weekly weapon in the Ravens’ offense.
5. The Ravens haven’t established an identity.
Last week, the Ravens’ offense didn’t score a touchdown. In this game, the Ravens’ defense couldn’t control Oakland’s offense. With Suggs gone, Steve Smith )10 catches 150 yards), Joe Flacco, and defensive vets like Elvis Dumervil and Chris Canty must help younger players to keep from panicking.