It certainly isn’t “Breaking News” that the Ravens offense has struggled at times when it comes to producing first quarter points.
But they’ve certainly improved over the past two weeks.
When asked on Wednesday following practice if there is something behind the Ravens’ recent quick starts to games, Joe Flacco had this to say.
“I don’t know. [When] we come out here, one of the first things we do once we get done [with] individual [warm-ups] is we’ll do some kind of situation that’s the usually the first drive of a game against our defense – competitive.
“And we always do red zone competitively with those guys on Wednesday’s practice. I don’t know if that’s what’s helped us, but it’s something that we try to focus on. It’s good to see that it’s kind of carried over a little bit.”
Just how often does it help to start fast?
In the Ravens five wins on the season, the offense has amassed 45 points during the first quarter including a season high of 28 against Tampa in week 6.
While first quarter points don’t assure the of a win, it certainly improves the odds.
“We have. We’ve put a couple things in the practice that we think put an emphasis on a lot of different situations. We’re big into situational football,” remarked John Harbaugh on Wednesday when asked if adjustments have been made to improve upon getting off to a fast start.
“So, some of those things aren’t traditional situations we’ve actually included, and we work on them often. The specifics would probably be boring for everybody, but…
“We’ve worked on starting the game. That has been something we’ve done through training camp, and we do it usually about once a week. We have a first drive of the game. It’s nothing elaborate. It’s just a drill.”
In three games this season, the Ravens failed to find the endzone or manage to kick a field goal through the first 15 minutes of a game resulting in losses in two out of those games including the season opening loss to the Bengals.
As the Ravens head to Cincy with a 5-2 record sitting atop the AFC North, they cannot afford to get off to a slow start in a battle for first place.
“It’s great film to evaluate yourself on – look at the things you did great, but also look at the things you did poorly [like] not looking the ball in, second-guessing yourself,” said wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. about preparing for the Bengals.
“So, we kind of went through that immediately right after and tried to build on that each week to improve that.”
While it may be true to some extent that it isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish, establishing a rhythm right out of the gate yields positive results.
And as we’ve seen over the past two weeks by the time the fourth quarter rolls around those quick starts have had opposing defenses waving the white flag.
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