For the first three quarters of their 13-3 loss Saturday to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens ran the ball often, and they ran it well: 27 carries for 194 yards (7.2 per carry).
In the fourth quarter, though, with time slipping away and their scoring chances dwindling, offensive coordinator Greg Roman changed his plan. The Ravens ran it just once over the three drives that spanned the fourth quarter, a 4-yard carry by running back Gus Edwards on the second play of the period. Their final 11 plays were all passes.
“It wasn’t that we were opposed to running the ball, but when you run the ball, the clock runs,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “And we were looking at how many possessions we were going to get, and called more passes. We didn’t run the ball in the fourth quarter once we got after 11 minutes, so you look back at that real hard, and you say, ‘Yeah, we could’ve run it.’ We were hitting them with some good runs, and maybe would’ve popped a few runs because we were doing well.”
Harbaugh said he had a “conversation” Sunday about the team’s pass-heavy tendencies, but that the Ravens’ need for a quick score changed Roman’s plan. The strategic tweak didn’t work: Quarterback Tyler Huntley went 4-for-10 in the fourth quarter for 28 yards, averaging just 2.8 yards per attempt, and was sacked twice. The Ravens couldn’t get past midfield on either of their final two drives before turning it over on downs.
“Once we got to that second possession [with just over four minutes remaining], at that point in time, we were definitely throwing the ball,” Harbaugh said.
Led by running backs J.K. Dobbins (13 carries for 125 yards) and Edwards (seven carries for 55 yards), the Ravens finished with 28 rushes for 198 yards (7.1 per carry). Afterward, though, Ravens players were disappointed that their ground-game dominance hadn’t produced more points.
“Some days you are able to get a ton of offense, and you cannot score,” right guard Kevin Zeitler said. “The ball just did not roll our way today. Obviously, it is on us. You should not rush for 200 yards and have three points.”
Ravens add to practice squad
The Ravens signed guard John Simpson, a fourth-round draft pick in 2020, to the practice squad as a veteran exception. He appeared in 11 games and started two this season for the Las Vegas Raiders, who released him on Dec. 10. In a corresponding move, practice squad outside linebacker Julian Stanford was released. Stanford appeared in one game for the Ravens, playing 12 snaps on special teams in a Week 12 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Comments are closed.