OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- One week after a promising performance, the Baltimore Ravens are back to figuring out ways to fix a broken offense.
Compounding that challenge, Baltimore's run defense played just as poorly.
The Ravens did not score an offensive touchdown in a 27-24 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears. Baltimore also gave up 231 rushing yards, the most the franchise has ever allowed.
The loss dropped the Ravens to 3-3 and into second place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, who picked up an uplifting win on the road against the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh insists there are solutions to the team's problems heading into a Week 7 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Harbaugh is confident his team can make a run at the playoffs.
"Spinning your wheels and being at .500 is in the hunt," Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference. "We're very much in it. We've had three really good games, and in some ways, excellent games. We've had three not so good games. We need to find a way to win games. You need to stack as many wins as you can."
Much of the problems against the run could be solved if nose tackle Brandon Williams is able to return to the lineup from a foot injury. Baltimore allowed just 85 rushing yards per game when Williams was in the lineup. In the past four games he has missed, Baltimore has allowed 169.5 yards per game.
The players acknowledge that Williams' absence has hampered the team's ability to stop the run.
"It will be a big difference. He's a guy that demands two blockers at all times," defensive tackle Willie Henry said. "So, that leaves a lot of one-on-one matchups for the other defensive linemen like (Michael) Pierce and other players that make plays. It keeps linebackers free and clean. It'll be exciting when he gets back."
The solutions are not nearly as simple on offense.
Quarterback Joe Flacco had another poor game against the Bears, going 24 of 41 for 180 yards with two interceptions. He had a 48.8 passer rating and did not complete a pass for more than 17 yards.
However, Flacco is hampered by a group of receivers who struggle to catch the football. On the year, Flacco has thrown for 1,003 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 66.1 passer rating. He missed all of training camp with a sore back, and has been sacked 12 times this season.
"You keep going back at it, and you keep slinging it around, and you keep handing it off," Flacco said. "You keep doing everything you can. No matter what happened in the past. Everybody always says -- and it is a bit cliche -- about putting it behind it you and moving on to the next one, but it is what you have to do. It is easier said than done, but it is what we have to, and I think we have the guys that can do it."
So far, though, the players on offense have struggled to produce. The Ravens travel to Minnesota in Week 7 and another loss would mean an uphill climb to make the playoffs for just second time in the past five seasons.
The Ravens pride themselves on special teams making key plays. That unit had one of its best games against the Bears, almost single-handedly keeping the team in the game.
Bobby Rainey, who was signed by the team Tuesday, returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter that gave the Ravens some life. Michael Campanaro returned a punt 77 yards to pull the Ravens to within 24-22 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter.
With the offense still struggling, Baltimore could continue to rely on special teams to help put points on the scoreboard.
"I kind of knew they brought me in here to play," Rainey said. "I knew I was coming here to play. In the position I was in, I had to learn quickly. As a professional, you just have to pick up and go. It doesn't matter what your circumstances are. I knew I had a big role coming in on special teams. In the position I play, I try to bring a spark to the team."
For the third straight year, injuries are having a devastating impact on the Ravens. The team has a league-high 16 players on injured reserve and had seven players inactive against Chicago because of injuries.
The Ravens lost two more players this week. Tight end Maxx Williams had to leave the game with an ankle injury that had kept him out of the previous three games. Williams was hurt after catching a pass, but lost a fumble on the play that ended a potential scoring drive on the 19-yard line.
Williams, a second-round draft pick in 2015, has been hampered with injuries throughout his career. He could now be the 17th player headed to injured reserve.
In addition, receiver Breshad Perriman suffered a possible concussion when he was hit attempting to catch a pass in the second quarter. The ball caromed off him into the hands of Bears cornerback Bryce Callahan, who returned it 52 yards to set up his team's first touchdown. Perriman also missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh did not have an update on either player Monday. However, he said the team simply needs to absorb those type of setbacks moving forward.
"We are going to need to go better than .500 the rest of the way to accomplish what we want to accomplish," Harbaugh said. "We need to get 10 wins."
NOTES: WR Jeremy Maclin (shoulder) did not play against the Chicago Bears after being limited in practice throughout the week. The team sorely missed Maclin and could not manage an offensive touchdown. Maclin has caught 16 passes for 159 yards and leads the Ravens with 28 targets and two touchdown receptions. ... TE Maxx Williams appeared to aggravate the ankle injury that kept him out of the past three games. Williams had to leave the game against Chicago after making a 6-yard catch that would have given the Ravens a first down. However, Williams fumbled and Chicago recovered. He has just six catches for 32 yards this season. His status for Week 7 against Minnesota is uncertain. ... WR Breshad Perriman suffered a possible concussion against the Bears when he was hit trying to catch a long pass from Joe Flacco. The ball bounced off Perriman's hands and was caught by cornerback Bryce Callahan, who returned it 52 yards. Perriman, the team's first-round pick in 2015, missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. He has caught just four passes for 26 yards. His status for Week 7 against Minnesota is uncertain. ... RB/KR Bobby Rainey made a big impact in his first game for Baltimore. Rainey, who was signed on Tuesday for depth, had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown -- the sixth-longest in franchise history. However, he did not have any rushing attempts. The team signed Rainey when running back Terrance West was lost indefinitely with a calf injury. ... WR Mike Wallace caught three passes for 30 yards against Chicago. He now has 501 receptions for 7,563 yards and 54 touchdowns.
REPORT CARD VS. BEARS
--PASSING OFFENSE: D - Quarterback Joe Flacco was 24 of 41 for 180 yards with two interceptions. He had a 48.8 passer ratings and did not complete a pass for more than 17 yards. However, his receivers had numerous drops and both interceptions came off deflections. Flacco was also sacked three times.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: B - Alex Collins and Javorius Allen split carries and combined for 123 yards. Both were effective making plays even when the pocket collapsed. They are capable of providing a spark for the beleaguered offense.
--PASS DEFENSE: C-minus - Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was asked to manage the game and completed 8 of 16 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown. However, both Ravens safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle struggled in coverage and missed tackles. The unit did not have an interception.
--RUSH DEFENSE: F - The Ravens allowed the Bears to run for 231 yards, the most the franchise has ever allowed. Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 167 yards, including a vital 53-yard scamper in overtime. The team desperately needs NT Brandon Williams (foot) to get back in the lineup.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Bobby Rainey, who was signed by the team Tuesday, returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and Michael Campanaro also had a 77-yard punt return for a score. This unit almost single-handedly kept Baltimore in the game.
--COACHING: D - The Ravens fell to 1-2 at home and lost to a rookie quarterback for the first time in the John Harbaugh era. The offense could not manage a touchdown even when given a short field. The defense allowed the most rushing yards in franchise history. Ultimately, though, the blame falls on the players, who continue to make costly mistakes. This team is in danger of missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.