It’s no secret that the Ravens offense often struggled to convert on third downs throughout the 2013 season.
Some failed conversions were due to the ineffective offensive line not being able to get enough push on short yardage situations for either Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce to move the chains. Some chances were lost when receivers inexplicably ran their routes a yard short of the markers.
Whatever the reason, Joe Flacco and company managed to convert just 36.4% of third downs in 2013, converting 92 times on 253 attempts.
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, however the Ravens continued to put themselves in those situations time and time again on the offensive side of the ball the entire season. One unfortunate theme though, was how the team managed to shoot themselves in the foot, ending up in third-and-long situations following penalties time and again.
Of the 112 penalties the Ravens obtained in 2013 (tied for the NFL’s sixth-worst) 61 came on the offensive side of the football.
The top two infractions the Ravens suffered on offense were false starts (28) and offensive holding (16). I know the first thing you think of when you hear the term “False Start” is Michael Oher. Surprisingly though, Marshal Yanda (5), A.Q. Shipley (4) and Torrey Smith (4) were all ahead of Oher in that category – Oher only had three false starts in 2013.
Offensive holding was another drive-killer for the Ravens in 2013. 16 offensive holds were called on the Ravens resulting in 160 yards lost throughout the season for a team that struggled to move the ball and the chains. Oher (3) Gino Gradkowski (3) and Eugene Monroe (2) led the team in those infractions.
With a possible revamped offensive line in 2014 coupled with a new offensive coordinator, the Ravens need to play smart football.
You can have the best offensive guru calling plays but as long as the offense continues collecting the referees’ laundry, converting first downs will continue to be a struggle for an already struggling unit.
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