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Ravens Run Twice In Second Half

Posted Sep 29, 2013

Baltimore ran for just 24 yards despite facing the NFL’s second-lowest ranked run defense.

The Ravens’ run game was so bad that they all but abandoned it in the second half of a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday.

Baltimore ran the ball just two times in the final 30 minutes.

Part of that was because the Ravens were trailing the whole time. But Head Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco indicated it was more because running the ball was simply ineffective.

“We’re not running the ball well. We’ve got to run the ball better,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Despite going against a run defense that entered the game as the second worst in the league (155 yards allowed per game), Baltimore had just 15 yards on seven carries in the first half.

The Ravens’ two runs in the second half went for nine yards, adding up to a total of just 24 rushing yards on nine attempts Sunday in Buffalo.

Flacco, who threw five interceptions, tossed 28 second-half passes in the Ravens’ 23-20 loss. His final pick, a tipped pass intended for tight end Dallas Clark, essentially sealed the game.

Flacco didn’t fault the decision to turn to the passing game.

“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,” he said.

“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. But when a game turns like that, you just have to adapt and do what you can.”

The Ravens didn’t run the ball at all in the third quarter. They were trailing by 13 points at the start of the quarter, and trimmed it to six midway through the third.

Rice got his first carry of the second half with less than six minutes left in the game and the Ravens nearing the end zone. He weaved up the middle for seven yards on second-and-12. Flacco tried to hit Rice in the back of the end zone with a lob pass on the next play, but it went incomplete. Baltimore settled for a field goal.

The Ravens’ second run play of the second half came with about two minutes remaining and the Ravens at the 50-yard line. Rice got just two yards, despite it being a passing situation.

Rice, who returned to action after sitting out last week with a hip injury, said the game situation is what dictated so few runs.

“When you fall behind like that in the second half, you can't pound the rock,” he said.

Baltimore entered Sunday’s game tied for the second worst run game in the NFL. Through the first three games, the Ravens averaged just 2.6 yards per carry.

Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell stayed patient with the run in the previous two games against Cleveland and Houston. But in both of those games, the Ravens had a lead in the second half and were simply trying to run out the clock.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie said he would have to watch the film to determine what exactly went wrong in the run game Sunday.

“We didn’t run it that much. I guess just the rhythm [was off],” McKinnie said. “[The run game] definitely is not where it needs to be. We need the run game so they respect play action and that stuff.”

Flacco offered his explanation, and even said the passing game could help the runners.

“We’ve got to maybe become a little more physical, maybe mix it up more early on,” he said. “If we can get some of our passing game going, then we can hit on some of those runs. We’re just not good enough right now, I guess. That’s probably the simplest explanation.”

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