Ravens slacked on running game in second half
The Bills had the lead the entire game so the Ravens were always under pressure and running the ball was a risky move. But quarterback Joe Flacco and head coach John Harbaugh said that running simply wasn’t getting the job done so they scrapped it. Harbaugh said “We’re not running the ball well. We’ve got to run the ball better.”
Even though the Bills have the second worst run defense in the league with 155 yards allowed a game, the Ravens had managed only 15 yard from seven carries during the first half.
Flacco wasn’t one to complain about shifting to a passing game. Discussing the strategy, he said “If I don’t throw picks, then the passing game probably would have thrown for 300-some and we would have scored a couple touchdowns and maybe won the game.”
“We made the decision at that point that that was how the game was going to be. In the normal flow of things, yeah you want to be able to get the run game going a little bit,” he said. “But when a game turns like that, you just have to adapt and do what you can.”
The third quarter went on without a single run from the Ravens. Although they were behind by 13 points, they cut the lead to 6 at the middle of third quarter.
With under six minutes left on the clock for the second quarter to end and the Ravens getting nearer to the end zone, Rice got his first carry. Flacco missed a pass on the next play and the Ravens got a field goal. The second run came with about 2 minutes remaining in the second half and the Ravens were at the 50 yard line. Rice advanced 2 yards.
Rice has recently returned after healing from a hip injury sustained last week. Commenting on the strategy, he said they were handicapped from making running plays. “When you fall behind like that in the second half, you can't pound the rock,” he said.
Flacco also shared his views, adding that integrating a passing game could also let the runners benefit. “We’ve got to maybe become a little more physical, maybe mix it up more early on. If we can get some of our passing game going, then we can hit on some of those runs,” he said. We’re just not good enough right now, I guess. That’s probably the simplest explanation.”