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Ravens Aim To Start Faster

Posted Oct 9, 2012

Baltimore has scored just three points on opening drives this year.

The Ravens have a bell-shaped offense in terms of yardage so far this year.

They’re very good in the second and third quarters – in fact the best in the league with 599 yards and 658 yards – respectively.

But Baltimore has put up just 314 yards in the first quarter, ranking 22nd in the league, and 423 yards in the fourth quarter, also ranking 22nd.

For Baltimore’s fast-paced, hurry-up offense to be most effective, it would be ideal to put opponents on the ropes early on and force them to play catch-up. So far, that hasn’t happened except in one game.

“It’s important. We like to play with leads,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday afternoon.

“That’s something that we’ve tried to develop and I think we’re going to have to look at the tape real hard and see what the little things are in there that are keeping us from doing that. But, yeah, that’s a concern.”

The Ravens notched a field goal on their first drive of the regular season following a 52-yard pass to Torrey Smith against the Cincinnati Bengals. They haven’t scored on an opening drive in the four games since.

Baltimore has scored 20 first-quarter points to 40 in the second quarter, 44 in the third and 26 in the fourth.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has a 58.9 quarterback rating in the first quarter compared to his overall season rating of 89.9. Flacco’s thrown two first-quarter interceptions and no touchdowns.

So what’s been the problem?

“I don’t know,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “You just play. There is not science behind it, you’ve just got to execute well.”

Harbaugh said the key is getting first downs. Baltimore has struggled to move the chains.

“There are a lot of reasons,” Harbaugh said. “When you watch the tape, there are a lot of reasons – none of them I’m really interested in sharing with you at this time.”

The Ravens had issues with drops on Sunday in Kansas City. Their yards are also impacted by the fact they have only received the ball first to start a game once this season. They’ve kicked off first four times, meaning fewer possessions in the opening quarter.

Baltimore will look to get off to a hotter start this Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, who have been outscored 17-7 in the first quarter so far this year.

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