BALTIMORE — The Ravens have struggled to tackle opposing players throughout the season.
The problem was magnified in Week 7 against the Bengals when cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Chuck Clark whiffed on a tackle that allowed an 82-yard touchdown to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
Two weeks earlier, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz threw a screen pass to Jonathan Taylor, who ran for a 76-yard touchdown.
Taylor was not even touched by a defender on the play.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh is determined to fix these issues over the bye.
"There are a lot of things that go into it," Harbaugh said. "When you watch, yes, we didn’t tackle well. There is no question about that. The biggest problem we have on defense right now, in terms of the big plays, is not getting guys on the ground. Whether it’s been underneath slant routes, or screen routes, or in one case, we got the screen and go – that’s the first time we’ve had one thrown over our head, really, I believe this year.
"Most of them have been catch and run plays, and that’s going back to the Kansas City game. That’s been on and off a problem all year. Until we get that fixed, we’ll be a very mediocre defense, generally speaking. Our guys understand that."
The Ravens allowed an opponent to rack up more than 500 yards of offense for the second time in three weeks.
Opposing quarterbacks have found holes in Baltimore's secondary, which is hindered by the season-ending knee injury to cornerback Marcus Peters.
Anthony Averett has filled in admirably in Peters' absence despite being targeted the most times in the NFL. Humphrey managed his first turnover of the season with an interception against the Bengals but has missed several tackles throughout the year.
The Ravens have allowed 2,073 passing yards over seven games, the worst performance in franchise history. Baltimore is just the third team in NFL history to allow three 400-yard passers in the first seven games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Much of the issues stem back to failing to bring players down after they catch the ball.
"When we play really good defense, we’re tackling, and that has to get done," Harbaugh said. "There are a lot of reasons for that. Sometimes, we’re not pushing to the right zone, so there’s more space in there than there should be. Other times we take a bad angle. Sometimes, the guy is not covered. There are different reasons for it, but the results are uniformly not good.
"You’re a consistently good defense when you consistently do all the little things well. When we start doing all the little things well, then we’re going to be a better defense.”