The players know it, the coaches know it, hell even you and I know it: the Ravens run game is struggling beyond anyone’s wildest nightmares.
Whether the problems stem from the offensive line’s blocking scheme, the health of Ray Rice and/or Bernard Pierce, or even possibly the fact Rice has lost a step, the Ravens’ run offense has been an unmitigated disaster. However, they have a chance to shine this weekend against the Bears.
Entering Week 11, the Chicago Bears’ run defense is the second-worst in the league, giving up 129.4 yards rushing per game. They’ve been plagued by injuries, but the loss of defensive tackle Henry Melton has perhaps been the toughest for their run defense.
With the Ravens “boasting” the NFL’s 30th ranked run offense and looking for a breakout game, this should be a welcoming stat. The Detroit Lions rushed for 145 yards last week against the Bears, who also allowed 123, 209 and 199 yards rushing the three previous games.
Rice told members of the media this week that he has “no doubt at all” that he’ll be able to return to his old form over the team’s final seven games.
“If I doubted myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Rice said. “I’m at full strength. The Ravens are going to need me at full strength late in the year. It might be a blessing in disguise that I went through something early. Now we’re trying to get back on track, so I can get myself back to whatever you call ‘full strength.’ I know I am able to make plays. I leave the doubt and the naysayers out there. When there’s opportunity, you’ll definitely see it. We just haven’t had the opportunity to show it.”
Well I for one am hoping the opportunity presents itself this Sunday and the run offense shows some continuity. With the weather getting cold and the AFC North heating up you have to be able to run the football.
For a team averaging just 73.1 rushing yards a game, it is likely now or never to fix the run game. There won’t be a better opportunity to seize some positive momentum than this week against the Bears’ porous front.
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