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Ravens See Offensive Progress In Many Areas, But Need More


The Ravens got back some of their key offensive pieces, including wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., guard Marshal Yanda and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. 

They had some additional time to drill into their issues with extra practice time over the bye.

But the offensive product in Sunday's 21-14 win didn't look all that drastically different from before.

The Ravens defense was lauded for shutting down the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. Baltimore's offense posted three fewer total yards (274) than the Steelers. The Ravens offense scored one touchdown on a 95-yard strike to wide receiver Mike Wallace. Baltimore had 42 total yards in the second half.

So as the Ravens move forward with the league's No. 2-ranked defense, they know they still have to pick it up with the No. 27-ranked offense to become the team they envision.

And while the stats don't show it yet, the Ravens are confident steady progress is being made.

"When you're involved in it, when you're in the middle of it, you see the progress in every little area," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We're making progress in many areas."

Quarterback Joe Flacco went 18-for-30 for 241 yards Sunday against the Steelers. He threw the perfect slant pass to Wallace for the 95-yard touchdown, but tossed a bad pick when the Ravens were threatening to score again in the first half.

Critics have been on Flacco's case about his mechanics, citing back-foot throws as being an issue for Flacco. His interception came as he faded in the face of pressure, but Flacco said that was more a case of trying to do too much.

"That wasn't a mechanics issue as much as it was just a bad decision," Flacco said. "I was hot from the left side so I had to move away from it. There's nothing you can do about that besides just throw the ball into the ground really."

Flacco said he could think of three specific "easy" plays the Ravens should have scored touchdowns on to break the game open. It's frustrating that they didn't convert, but it gives him hope that the chances are at least there (though he'd always like more).

"Even on game day I remember saying to myself, 'That should have been a touchdown. That should have been a touchdown. That should have been a touchdown,'" Flacco said. "We're just not clicking on that level, therefore touchdowns are incompletions and that's a big difference."

Harbaugh had two specific touchdowns missed in mind.

"If we run routes better, if we protect better, if we read things out better – all of the different things that each guy has to do a little bit better – it goes a long way across the board and gets you over the hump," Harbaugh said.

"We make two plays in that game – we have a route up the right sideline and a route up the left sideline – if we make those two plays, I think you see a dramatically different output and therefore outcome. It's that close, but it's that far until you do it consistently. We're doing it a lot of times, but we're not doing it consistently. That's what we have to find a way to do. I'm absolutely certain that we will do it."

The Ravens had one of their best offensive days in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns, the same opponent they will meet Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium. After falling in a 20-point hole, the offense clawed back for a 25-20 victory.

Flacco completed 25 of 45 passes for 302 yards – just five short of his season high against the New York Giants. He tossed two touchdowns (both to wide receiver Mike Wallace) and two interceptions.

The Browns haven't improved on defense since then, as they rank 31st in the NFL, allowing 421.7 yards per game. It may be an opportunity for the Ravens* *offense to get on track.

"We just have to keep staying confident and not lose that belief in ourselves, and get down on ourselves," Flacco said. "We have to realize that we're in a good position. A lot can come from it."

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