Ravens Offense Bursting With Confidence as Its Evolution Continues


There were some rough moments for the Ravens offense earlier this season, but to hear quarterback Joe Flacco tell it, the unit's huddle is practically bursting with confidence now.

"Once you get going, get guys confident and give them the freedom and ability to do some of the things we've been doing, things kind of just take off from there," Flacco told the media Tuesday after practice.

"You can tell when we're on the field that we're a confident group, playing together, having a lot of fun."

There are plenty of statistics supporting his point, but none says it better than this: Since Week 8, the Ravens are No. 3 in the NFL in scoring, averaging 30.7 points per game.

Some people who've followed the team all season probably doubted that they'd ever see so much offense in 2017. At different points, Baltimore went 10 quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown and was ranked last in the league in passing.

But to those in the huddle, the evolution of the offense into a prolific unit actually makes sense.

Part of the problem, they say, was they dealt with myriad injuries early in the season, especially along the line and at receiver. Flacco started slowly. But the line is performing much better now, as is Flacco.

It also obviously has helped that Alex Collins has emerged as a quality No. 1 running back. He's ranked No. 10 in the league in rushing and need 156 more yards to become the Ravens' first thousand-yard rusher since Justin Forsett in 2014.

"I think it's a lot of things. I don't know if you want to pinpoint one little thing," Flacco said. "The O-line playing well, definitely. Us not having to jostle around (starters at) a bunch of different positions. There are a lot of things. Me just playing more consistent and better. When you multiply that by 11, you start to get better.

"I also think we have a better feel … I don't know if anyone will admit this … but I think we have a better feel for who are and what we do well. The last handful of weeks, we've definitely been pinpointing that and doing some good things with it."

Wide receiver Mike Wallace agreed that there's a correlation between the offense's rise and its general overall health.

"We lost some guys early in the year and we were kind of scrambling around, trying to put things together, patch it up," Wallace said. "You have big plans going into a season. You have Marshal (Yanda), you have Alex (Lewis), you have Dennis (Pitta) and other guys, and then, before you even get to the season, you lose like five of those guys.

"I don't care what kind of team you have; it's hard to bounce back from that right away. It takes time. You don't just find an 88-catch tight end like (Pitta) sitting on the street. You have to find other guys and try to figure out how to make a good game plan and get guys involved. It just takes a while to get everything meshing."

Several weeks ago, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg suggested that Flacco was moving better and feeling better after he missed training camp and the preseason with a back injury.

But Flacco was not buying that as a major factor in the offensive surge.

"I've felt pretty much the same all throughout the year," he said. "Obviously, it's progressed a little bit over time. But I wouldn't say it is anything earth-shattering from Week 2, 3, 4, 5 to where we are now."

He also deflected the idea that he's entering one of his patented January hot stretches, only a little earlier this time. In the past three weeks, he has thrown for 826 yards and five touchdowns, with only one interception.

"I just think this team as a whole is starting to hit its stride. That's really what it's all about," Flacco said. "I think we're a very motivated team. I think we've got a lot of pep in our steps. I feel like were coming on."

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