Slow Start on the Road Dooms Offense Again

Street Talk Slow Start on the Road Dooms Offense Again

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The Ravens offense went scoreless in the first quarter for the third time in a road game this year and was unable to mount a comeback after falling behind to Seattle 10-0. Once might be a fluke, twice might be hard to explain, but three times is a disturbing trend that can’t be ignored.

For some reason this year the offense can’t get off the bus against inferior teams and a game that should have been a cake walk turned into a loss that puts a dent in the chances of securing a home playoff game in the post season.

Cam Cameron hasn’t been able to solve the 4-3 defense and once again a team with a losing record is able to hold the offense under 20 points. In the three road losses to Tennessee, Jacksonville and Seattle the Ravens have scored an average of just 12.3 points.

Why does an offensive coordinator ask the league’s 26th ranked quarterback to throw the ball 52 times to a wide-receiving corps that is no better than average on its best day? Was QB Joe Flacco erratic…yes? Should the run game have been abandoned in the first quarter and the QB charged with carrying the burden of predictable play calling for the remainder of the game…no?

It’s clear a more balanced attack is needed for the offense to be successful. Star running back Ray Rice carried the ball only 5 times for 27 yards.  Even the feint of a running game is a basic principle for every NFL offense.  As good as the Packers passing attack is they ran the ball 21 times against the Vikings in their 45-7 win on Monday Night Football. Linebackers still bite on the play-action and it’s not against the rules to hand the ball off from a shotgun formation. If I recall correctly some guy named Brett Favre did it for years.

The remaining schedule, overall, is not daunting, but the next two home games will be against the 5th and 1st ranked defenses for points allowed in the Bengals and 49ers. With seven games left all the goals set in the off season are still within reach if the coaching staff can make the right adjustments.

The NFL is a week to week animal. Keep in mind if the playoffs started today the Ravens would be the 5th seed and travel to Oakland to face the Raiders. Let’s hope this picture changes for the better over the course of the last seven games.

 

Category

2010 (rank)

2011 to date

2011 Ranking

Difference

Pts / Gm

22.3 (16)

25

9th

Tot Pts

357 (16)

225

9th

Yds / Gm

322.9 (22)

340.7

15th

Rush Yds/Gm

114.4 (14)

99.0

22nd

Pass Yds/Gm

208.4 (20)

241.7

11th

1st downs/Gm

18.9 (18)

20.7

10th

3rd Down Pct.

39% (T-16)

40%

T-10th

4th Down Pct.

40% (T-21)

75%

2nd

Penalties

90 (T-18)

59

T-16th

TOP/Gm

31:20 (11)

29:59

19th

Fumbles

22 (T-17)

17

T-2nd

Fumbles Lost

10 (T-17)

10

2nd

Turnovers

+7 (9)

+1

T-13th

Red Zone %

49.2% (22)

45.2%

21st

Flacco QB Rating

93.6 (7)

75.6

26th

Red Zone Conversion Rate for Teams with a Winning Record

Team

2011 Red zone %

2010 Red zone %

1. Tennessee

71.4%

58.1%

2. New England

63.4%

61.9%

3. Green Bay

62.2%

62.7%

4. NY Jets

61.5%

44.3%

5. Buffalo

61.3%

51.4%

6. NY Giants

58.1%

57.4%

7. Atlanta

58.1%

60.7%

8. Oakland

57.7%

52.1%

9. Chicago

54.2%

49.1%

10. Cincinnati

53.9%

49.1%

11. New Orleans

51.1%

51.5%

12. Pittsburgh

50.0%

52.5%

13. Detroit

48.4%

64.4%

14. Houston

47.5%

62.3%

15. Ravens

45.2%

49.2%

16. San Francisco

43.8%

47.6%

17.Dallas

40.0%

59.6%

BTN will track the progress here on a weekly basis. Keep in mind for some categories a decrease is positive, as in the case of Fumbles lost, and an increase is negative, in as the case of Penalties.

 

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Scot Kleinfeld

About Scot Kleinfeld

Scot is a Baltimore native, a Towson University graduate, and has followed sports since the early 1980’s. Scot likes to go inside the numbers and get the real “411” on the wins and losses,  hence his Behind The Numbers column.
 

Besides being an avid sports fan, Scot has been involved with televison sports production as an Associate Producer since 1993 for WMAR, ESPN, ESPNU,ESPN2, and the former Home Team Sports network.  In addition to his television work Scot has written articles for Baltimore Magazine, Lacrosse Magazine and Patuxent Publishing.  These experiences make him a natural as the creator of the Media Watchdog, another of SK’s fine contributions.
 

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