Ravens ‘Looked Bad’ On Punt Return

Cardinals returner Patrick Peterson broke five tackles on his way to the 82-yard return.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Categories: Garrett Downing, Week 8 vs Cardinals

With Baltimore trailing 10-3 in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against Arizona, the Ravens punted the ball away and looked to the defense to come up with a stop.

The defense, however, didn’t have a chance to make that stop.

Arizona’s 2011 first-round selection Patrick Peterson fielded the punt, cut back to the inside, and broke five tackles on his way to the 82-yard return, giving Arizona a two-score lead and stunning the home crowd.

“We looked bad on that,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “We didn’t get down the field fast enough. We didn’t look fast at all. We didn’t tackle.”

The return was the second special teams touchdown the Ravens have allowed this season, with the first coming on a 107-yard kickoff return by the New York Jets Joe McKnight.

The difference between the punt return and the kickoff return was that Peterson’s touchdown was the result of missed tackling, while McKnight was untouched on his way to the end zone.

McKnight’s touchdown came on a play with “poor kickoff coverage,” Harbaugh said, but the players were in position to stop Peterson, they just didn’t tackle.

“It’s not like we got blocked,” Harbaugh said. “We had six or seven opportunities to get them down, and we missed them all. So, that’s the biggest thing about that play.”

The Ravens did not allow a special teams touchdown all of last season, and Harbaugh’s background as a special teams coach has always made that a focus. In the three previous seasons since Harbaugh took over the team, the Ravens have allowed just three returns for touchdown.

Part of that has to deal with the coverage, but ultimately, it just comes down to the basics.

“Well,” Harbaugh said, “you’ve got to tackle, you know?”

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