The Baltimore Ravens’ decision to give running back Ray Rice a miniscule five carries in last Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks has received much deserved criticism.
In fact, the Ravens decision to run the ball just 12 times on 66 offensive plays has received even more well-deserved criticism.
However, Head Coach John Harbaugh stood by the Ravens’ play-calling during his Monday press conference, saying that he felt that the looks the Seattle defense presented and the game situation led the Ravens to decide to lean heavily on their passing game, according to Dan Kolko of MASNSports.com
“I don’t know how you would do it any differently,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, we were in a situation where we lost two possessions (because of turnovers). We had basically four possessions in the first half, the last one was with 46 seconds left, and that’s a two-minute possession. Two of those possessions went really well, and two of them we had four or five plays on. So, when you don’t have very many plays, it’s hard to build up your running game. And when you’re down, you’ve got to throw it to get back in the game.
“So, I think every game is different. You’ve got to do in any particular game what you’ve got to do to try to move the ball. In the end, we definitely want to have more runs. That’s indicative of having the lead, having more plays, especially early in the game. But, the way the game went, we had to throw it. And based on some fronts they were giving us early, we felt like we had to throw it, too.”
If you look at last Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks and the loss the Ravens suffered several weeks ago to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night, it’s easy to make similar comparisons.
Against the Jaguars, Rice carried the ball just eight times, while the Ravens had just 12 carries as a team. Meanwhile, Joe Flacco threw the ball 72 percent of the team’s offensive plays, and the offense struggled greatly, posting just seven points.
Against the Seahawks, Flacco threw the ball even more as his 62 passing attempts accounted for 79 percent of the team’s offensive plays. Though the Ravens offense did manage to put up 17 points.
Regardless, for this team to ultimately get where they want to go, and do what they want to do, there has to be a much more balanced attack. A formula that involves Joe Flacco throwing the ball more than 70 percent of the time, or even 60 percent of the time for that matter is not going to get it done for the Ravens.