Up next: First look at Baltimore

When the Ravens play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, they will meet Mike Nolan for the first time since he left as defensive coordinator to become the head coach of the 49ers. It'll be interesting to see whether Nolan recognizes the defense. The Ravens have lost their aura of dominance this season, from lapses in the fourth quarter to falling apart Sunday in a 27-13 loss at Cleveland.

The NFL's top-ranked defense from a year ago, the Ravens gave up three touchdowns on their first five drives against Cleveland, including the opening series of the game.

This season, the Ravens defense has given up an average of 22.5 points per game. Last season, the defense allowed 12.6 points per game.

The frustration on the defense peaked Sunday in Cleveland. During the game, linebacker Ray Lewis was seen having several talks with assistant coaches on the sideline.

Asked if he was concerned about the defense, Lewis said, "Sooner or later, you can't trick everybody. Line up and play football. That's it. Line up and beat the man in front of you. There ain't nothing to be concerned about. Bottom line, sooner or later you have to line up and beat the man in front of you. If you're doing that, you got nothing to hold your head down about."

The Ravens, though, aren't changing games like they have done in the past.

The secondary, which is playing without cornerback Samari Rolle (undisclosed illness), has made two interceptions this season. The pass rush, which is without Trevor Pryce (broken left wrist), has recorded six sacks.

Some of the Ravens' struggles could be traced back to another loss - Adalius Thomas. When Thomas signed with the New England Patriots as a free agent, the Ravens placed some of his responsibilities on linebacker Bart Scott.

That has meant less blitzing for Scott, who has no sacks after having 9.5 last season.

"It's what's best for the team," said Scott, who has dropped from the second-leading tackler to the fourth. "Right now, I'm hot. I've got a little bit of a bulls-eye on my chest. Why not take advantage?"

To make matters worse, teams are showing no fear when facing the Ravens defense.

On Sunday, the Browns went after cornerback Chris McAlister, beating him on a 78-yard touchdown pass. When receiver Braylon Edwards caught the ball, he had five yards on McAlister.

"I just didn't play my man," McAlister said. "He made the better play."

The Ravens need to go on a run over the next three weeks, when they play the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills (who are a combined 3-9).

They can't afford another loss knowing the toughest part of their schedule is in November and December.

"At some point, you have to have a sense of urgency," Scott said. "I'm not one to think we're 2-2 and we're OK. You say that all year and then you're sitting outside of the playoffs, saying 'What happened?' Every game is important. Every game could mean the difference between making the playoffs and home-field advantage. We have to tighten these things up because we have a lot more quality opponents coming through."

--- TE Todd Heap pulled his hamstring near the end of the third quarter and did not return. He is unsure about his status for the 49ers' game.
--- TE Daniel Wilcox sprained his foot and did not return. He had missed the previous two games with a sprained ankle.
--- PR-KR Yamon Figurs injured his shoulder and did not return. He could be questionable, which means Cory Ross could be the returner Sunday.
--- OT Jonathan Ogden missed his third straight game with a foot injury after practicing all week. It might be in his best interest to wait until after the bye in Week 8 to return. He was replaced by Adam Terry.
--- CB Samari Rolle was sidelined for a second straight week with an undisclosed illness. Rolle has said the medication has made him lethargic and has affected his coordination. He was replaced by Corey Ivy.
--- DL Trevor Pryce is expected to miss at least one more game after breaking his left wrist in Week 2. He was replaced by Dwan Edwards.
--- K Matt Stover missed two field goals Sunday, the first time he has missed multiple field-goal tries since the 2005 season opener.

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