Why the Ravens run game is still their bread and butter

Street Talk Why the Ravens run game is still their bread and butter

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So, who else called Torrey Smith’s record tying first 3 grabs for touchdowns on his 5 reception 152 yard day?

Not me!

Then again, I doubt many people expected Smith to even make a catch after all the criticism the rookie wide out has had to endure since what seemed like his first snap in preseason.

Not to take away from the Ravens passing game that featured Joe Flacco racking up a career best 389 passing yards, while spreading the ball around to 7 different players en route to a franchise best 553 total yards…BUT, the Ravens did not get all of these yards through the air.

A successful day on the ground led to 168 total rushing yards courtesy of the dynamic duo that is Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Rice had a huge day as he usually does churning out 81 yards on the ground, carrying the ball only 9 times while picking up another 83 through the air. Ricky Williams also picked up a respectable 42 yards on 5 carries.

Although both backs saw limited carries in a pass happy day for the offense, Williams was able to average 8.4 yards per carry while Rice averaged 9 yards per rush. Rice’s total was largely in part to a huge 53 yard gallop. But these juicy yard per rush attempts figures are not too far off from the season average as both backs average over 5 yards per rush on the season.

For as long as I can remember you could always count on two things with Baltimore Football:

·         An Intimidating greedy defense; and

·         A hard nose relentless rushing attack

Neither of these things seem like they are about to change any time soon, but with the new found passing attack and deep threats the Ravens possess some fans may wonder if the days of a run first mentality is going to disappear.

I wouldn’t count on it.

There are 2 general philosophies in this league about how an offense operates. You have those who claim you must run to set up the pass and those who say you must pass to set up the run. Baltimore will more than likely always prefer the first choice.

Just look at the off season acquisitions and moves made by the Wizard himself. The signing of Ricky Williams  to serve as Rice’s backup; the pickup of Pro Bowl center  Andre Gurode; and the contract extension of Marshal Yanda to solidify the right side for years to come.

Many fans may read into the last two moves as ways of keeping Joe upright so he can toss the long ball, but could you also make the argument that the investment in these players was made to improve the Ravens rushing attack?

And let’s not forget about the acquisition of the league’s premier battering ram, fullback Vonta Leach.

Enjoy the quick scores and the flashy aerial attack while weather permits. But let’s make no mistake about it – the Ravens will eventually lean on the legs or Messrs. Rice and Williams, particularly when the teeth of winter begin to bite down.

After all, running the ball down their opponent’s throat is quite simply in the Ravens’ DNA!

 

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Matt Kelly

About Matt Kelly

Matt is currently a sophomore at Frostburg State University studying Geospatial Mapping Sciences. After school he plans to pursue a job dealing with business or sales planning while still making time to blog about sports. Although he attends college close to Steelers country,  he bleeds purple and black all year long!   Matt is also a fan of professional tennis and plays for Frostburg's varsity tennis team. A Ravens fan since he was 13 years old (editor's note: What happened prior to 13?) he became immediately hooked on everything football after watching his first Ravens game.   A regular observer of the NFL Network (sometimes disagreeing out loud with what they say) Matt is a sponge for NFL news. He's also a big Orioles fan and he catches as many Anaheim Ducks games as possible. More from Matt Kelly

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