John Harbaugh: Patience Needed With The Run


The Ravens' run-pass ratio is up for debate following Sunday's 43-13 loss in Houston, just as it was after Baltimore's 24-23 loss in Philadelphia.

This time, Head Coach John Harbaugh agrees that changes may need to implemented.

"We could have stayed with the run a little more patiently," he said Monday.

"We probably all say we could have been a little bit more patient with the run – whether it's Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce or whoever it is."

The Ravens handed the ball off to Rice just nine times and he churned out 42 yards (4.7 per carry), with a long of 17 yards. He caught all five passes he was targeted on, but just for 12 yards.

Baltimore didn't give any touches to the rookie backup Pierce. Fullback Vonta Leach had one run and quarterback Joe Flacco scrambled twice. There were 12 total rushing plays to 43 passes.

Harbaugh talked not only about making sure Rice gets his carries. He also envisions more for Pierce, who is averaging 5.3 yards per rush this season with a high of six for 48 yards against Cleveland in Week 4.

"We need to get Bernard out there more. We need to get him some more carries and touches, because he brings a different little style," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh also had a conversation with Leach about his role on the plane ride back from Houston, where Leach was used on just 14 of the team's 61 snaps.

Leach has had less of an impact as a blocker this year with the increased passing attack and use of the no-huddle. He has found a larger role in the passing game with eight receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.

"We want to use him more than that – absolutely," Harbaugh said. "He is handling it like a pro. He wants to play, and he knows he can help us."

The questions about the run-pass ratio have mostly centered around three drives in particular.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron and Flacco started the game running. They gave Rice three rushes on the first drive, which resulted in a 51-yard field goal.

But with a 3-0 lead on the next series, the Ravens threw all three times and quickly punted.

After Leach's lone run to get them out of the shadow of their own end zone to start the next drive, Flacco passed twice in a row. He was sacked and fumbled, then sacked again for a safety, which shifted the game's momentum.

The Texans marched down the field for their first touchdown to take a 9-3 lead near the end of the first quarter.

Baltimore then handed the ball off to Rice on first down and he picked up three yards. The next pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and intercepted for a pick six. In a flash, the score was 16-3 with Houston in the lead* *only nine seconds into the second quarter.

"Once they got the tip-ball interception, we felt like we needed to try to get back in that thing a little bit more quickly because of the type of team they are," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens actually came out running again with two straight handoffs to Rice that collectively picked up five yards. Their third-down pass was incomplete and another punt ensued.

Houston punted again, and this time the Ravens came out throwing.

They tried taking a shot to Torrey Smith on first down, but Flacco sailed it well beyond the speedster just before taking a big hit. Then Flacco fired a pass over Smith's head as he was open in the right flat. Flacco dumped a pass off to Rice for a 7-yard gain on third-and-10. Three passes and a three-and-out.

The Texans got the ball back and scored a touchdown with just six plays to take a 20-3 lead. At that point, Baltimore especially had to score a lot and quickly.

They threw on every remaining down in the first half (eight straight), capped off by another Texans interception on a tipped pass. Baltimore ran just five times in the second half, including Flacco's two scrambles.

"We want to get the ball in all of our playmakers' hands," Harbaugh said. "We probably didn't do that like we wanted to."

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