Skip to main content

Red-Zone Offense Next To Fix


The Ravens could have blown the Steelers out.

Thursday night's 26-6 final score was already lopsided, yet Baltimore could have had more.

The Ravens offense was efficient and methodical. It punted just twice all night and didn't turn the ball over once.

But one area for improvement was its work in the red zone.

Baltimore had five trips inside the 20-yard line. It scored touchdowns on two of those trips. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens settled for three Justin Tucker field goals under 25 yards.

"We didn't play as well in the red zone in the second half as we would have liked," tight end Dennis Pitta said. "It could have been a lot more points that we left out there."

A large part of the problem was trouble running the ball near the goal line. It's not easy considering there are more defenders in a tighter space, but it's something the Ravens will need to improve on.

The Ravens ran nine times for 7 yards within the 10-yard line. Nobody given the ball had much success.

Bernard Pierce got the first crack at it, but was stuffed going behind right guard Marshal Yanda and tackle Rick Wagner in the third quarter. Quarterback Joe Flacco eventually found tight end Owen Daniels for his second touchdown.

The Ravens tried to throw the ball into the end zone on their next red-zone trip. They passed to wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. twice, but one over the middle bounced away from Smith, and the other on a comeback was deflected by Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor.

Pierce got another shot on the next red-zone attempt. He looked to have a hole on his first try from the 5-yard line, but went head-to-head with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in the hole. Polamalu won.

"He's still got it," Pierce said of Polamalu with a laugh. "They definitely did a good job sealing the edge. Their linebackers were jumping over the top, so there weren't too many creases in there. I wasn't trying to jump."

Flacco was willing to jump, and did so on the Ravens' next red-zone trip. He would have scored a touchdown, but the play was nullified by a false start. Baltimore tried to get tricky with an end-around to Jacoby Jones on the next play, but that was stopped for just a 2-yard gain.

Pierce said he expects the Ravens to "most likely" focus on red-zone preparation this upcoming week.

"When we struggle in one area, we come back and try to definitely focus on it the following week," Pierce said.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content