Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer 75d

Time to push the panic button as Joe Flacco, Ravens' offense sputter

BALTIMORE -- This week, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco insisted it was too early to say the NFL's worst-ranked offense is playing poorly.

Sunday's dismal performance in a 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers says otherwise.

Flacco finished 31-of-49 for 235 yards and two interceptions as the Ravens fell to 2-2. This comes after he was held to a career-worst 28 yards passing last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I sucked," Flacco said. "It wasn't good."

This time, the inability to get anything going on offense can't be blamed on an overseas trip to London. The Ravens were facing their biggest rival for first place in the AFC North, and they were sleepwalking for most of the game on offense.

This offense under coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is broken, and there doesn't appear to be a quick fix. It's these types of lackluster efforts that have cost offensive coordinators their jobs in Baltimore. Just ask Cam Cameron and Marc Trestman.

The emotions got so heated that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin threw his helmet to the ground and then yelled at Mornhinweg.

Asked about the offense's frustration level, Maclin said, "It's high. It's frustrating."

Flacco's struggles can be summed up in a couple of streaks. He has led Baltimore to only one touchdown in his past 28 drives. Flacco has also thrown an interception in 10 straight games, the longest current streak in the league and the worst of his 10-year career.

Flacco couldn't stretch the field Sunday (his longest completion was 16 yards) and he was widely inaccurate at times. He overthrew a wide-open Breshad Perriman for an easy touchdown.

But Flacco isn't alone in this second straight flop. Wide receiver Mike Wallace dropped a 30-yard pass. Running back Alex Collins continued to be the offense's biggest playmaker, but everyone holds their breath that he doesn't fumble again. The offensive line failed to hold up in pass protection, allowing Flacco to get hit repeatedly (officially, it was four sacks).

Perhaps this should've been expected. Leading receiver Dennis Pitta suffered a season-ending hip injury in the offseason, Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was lost for the season with an ankle injury in Week 2, and Flacco missed all of training camp and the preseason with a lower-back injury.

The Ravens' defense wasn't dominant, but it put the offense in a position to succeed. An interception by safety Eric Weddle gave the ball to Flacco and the offense at the Steelers' 18-yard line. But the Ravens could only manage two incompletions and a sack in a four-play, minus-6-yard drive that ended in a field goal.

Baltimore's fourth-quarter comeback attempt produced two interceptions, leading to boos from the home crowd. After one pick, the usually reserved Flacco waved his hand in disgust.

"I wasn't good enough to get us back in the game," Flacco said.

The frustrations -- and struggles -- on offense cannot be denied.

"You're not going to make a bunch of changes. You just have to improve," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "There were some flashes in there, and we have to build on those things. It's a process. You have to go to work, and you work to improve. We have playmakers out there, and we can put the ball in people's hands. We can run the ball -- we've shown that. We have to eliminate the mistakes and make more plays."

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