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Upon further review: Costly patterns dooming Ravens

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Upon further review: Costly patterns dooming Ravens

Sunday’s 25-20 loss to the 49ers was a microcosm of the Ravens’ season. They have lost five games by a total of 22 points. The Ravens have become masters of playing just poorly enough to lose.

You can’t point to one thing keeping the Ravens (1-5) from winning, because too many things have gone wrong. They give up big plays. They commit costly turnovers and penalties. They squander opportunities. They have suffered key injuries.

The worst part for the Ravens is that they can’t seem to change the pattern. You hear similar quotes every week, from players and from coaches. We have to play better. We have to play smarter. We’ll keeping working and we’ll fix it.

Then comes another game, and their frustration continues.

RELATED: How Baltimore (literally) dropped the ball in latest loss

Here are five things costly patterns the Ravens need to change, or the results won’t change.

Key interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco

On Sunday, Flacco threw two interceptions, and neither had anything to do with lack of weapons. In the second quarter, Flacco forced a throw into double coverage. In the third quarter, he tried to throw the ball away, but instead threw a popup into the middle of the field that became an easy interception for cornerback Kenneth Acker. Both turnovers led to 49ers field goals.

“You get two stupid mistakes by myself,” Flacco said. “It starts with me , just not making those mistakes. We can’t afford to do that right now. We have to go play fundamental football, and take care of the football, and then when plays are presented we got to make them…I didn’t play smart.”

Flacco has almost as many interceptions (seven) as touchdown passes (eight).

Glaring breakdowns in the secondary

At some point in every game, usually more than once, you see a receiver wide open against the Ravens. On Sunday, ex-Ravens receiver Torrey Smith left newly-acquired cornerback Shareece Wright in the dust for a 76-yard touchdown. In the first quarter, fullback Bruce Miller was so wide open, he rumbled for a 52-gain. The pass defense may be getting worse, not better.

Squandered opportunities

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker slipped while attempting a 45-yard fourth-quarter field goal, and missed it off the crossbar.

Steve Smith dropped a ball in the end zone in the second quarter for what could have been a touchdown.

That’s a potential 10 points for the Ravens they let get away, But again, that’s a familiar pattern.

Lack of production from wide receivers not named Smith

Here is Steve Smith’s line from Sunday – seven catches, 137 yards, one touchdown.

The rest of the Ravens’ wide receivers had six catches combined, although Kamar Aiken did make a superb catch on a two-yard touchdown reception.

An opposing receiver having a huge day

Sunday it was ex-Raven Anquan Boldin (five catches, 102 yards) topping the century mark against the Ravens. He became the fifth player to have a 100-yard receiving day against the Ravens, joining Gary Barnidge, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and A. J. Green.

MORE RAVENS: Instant Analysis: 5 things to know about Ravens' loss to 49ers

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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