Published January 13, 2015
Joe Flacco acknowledged he's still not in sync with the Ravens' new and injury-depleted group of receivers.
He's not getting much help from Baltimore's running attack, either.
The Buffalo Bills exposed the Ravens flaws by intercepting Flacco a career-high five times while allowing a mere 24 yards rushing in a 23-20 win Sunday.
"We're definitely going to get better," said Flacco, who went 25 of 50 for 347 yards passing and two touchdowns. "A lot of that falls on me today, just throwing the ball to the wrong team. If we don't do that, this game probably goes a little different."
What's different is the makeup of his offense, after Anquan Boldin was traded to San Francisco, and with Jacoby Jones (knee) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) both sidelined.
That left Flacco leaning on returning starter Torrey Smith, who had five catches for 166 yards and a touchdown.
The Ravens (2-2) also abandoned the run. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for a franchise-low nine carries. Their 24 yards rushing matched the second-lowest total in team history.
It was a stifling performance by the Bills (2-2), who bounced back after allowing 182 yards rushing and 513 yards offense in a 27-20 loss to the New York Jets.
Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso and converted safety Aaron Williams each had two interceptions.
"We imposed our will," defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said. "We were not going to let them push us around."
Here are five things to know from a game in which the defenses combined for eight turnovers (three by Buffalo):
KIKO IS OK: Alonso continued to emerge as a difference-maker at middle linebacker. His first interception led to Dan Carpenter's field goal that put Buffalo ahead 23-14 late in the third quarter. His second interception ended the Ravens' last-chance drive with 57 seconds remaining.
The second-round pick out of Oregon extended his interception streak to three games, the longest by a Bills rookie linebacker. And it's the longest streak by any Buffalo linebacker since Darryl Talley had a three-game streak in 1992. Alonso now has four interceptions and a forced fumble.
"I just go out and play my hardest," the soft-spoken Alonso said. "I'm just trying to get better every single day."
UNBALANCED BALTIMORE: Attempting 50 passes and just nine runs isn't exactly what Ravens coach John Harbaugh is looking for from his offense.
"We're not running the ball well," Harbaugh lamented. "We didn't play well at all. I'll take responsibility for that. It was a poor performance."
The Ravens failed to rush for a first down, and their longest run was a 7-yarder by Rice in the fourth quarter.
The Bills, by comparison, finished with 203 yards rushing against a Ravens defense that had given up a combined 224 in its first three games. Fred Jackson's 16-yard touchdown run was the first rushing TD the Ravens allowed this season.
SAFETY HELP: After being switched from cornerback to safety this offseason, Buffalo's Aaron Williams returned to his former spot to shore up an injury-thinned defensive secondary missing both starters: Stephon Gilmore (broken left hand) and Leodis McKelvin (right hamstring).
Williams' second interception was a leaping grab of a pass intended for Smith in the end zone. The two interceptions are one more than Williams had in his first two seasons in Buffalo.
Veteran safety Jim Leonhard, who's starting in place of Jairus Byrd (plantar fasciitis both feet) had Buffalo's other interception.
SHORT TURNAROUND: The Bills have little time to celebrate or heal as they prepare to play at Cleveland on Thursday.
Among Buffalo's injured players was running back C.J. Spiller, who hurt his left ankle in the third quarter. Spiller said "it's going to be tough," when asked if he might be ready to play Thursday.
DEPLETED WRs: The Ravens, who play at Miami on Sunday, lost two more receivers to injuries, including Deonte Thompson, who was being evaluated for a possible concussion. Thompson was hurt in the fourth quarter after making a 33-yard catch along the right sideline and getting hit by Leonhard, who was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver.
Receiver Marlon Brown and cornerback Lardarius Webb both did not return after hurting their thighs.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org