Can the Ravens catch the Steelers while they're down?
First down – Trying to establish the running game early is not working.
Their offensive line doesn’t create enough holes. They are falling behind in every game. So instead of relying on first-down running plays early, the Ravens need to throw on first down more often. Try to get into more manageable second down and third down situations. Quarterback Joe Flacco seemed to endorse this after Sunday’s game, saying “I always feel like we can mix it up a little bit more on first and second down just to get everybody going. We’re getting put in bad situations and like kind of fighting an uphill battle every single drive.” Listen to your quarterback, Ravens coaches. Throw more on first down early in the game, and maybe that will help set up the run later.
Second down – The Ravens need to kick the Steelers when they are down.
The Steelers are down (1-4), but not done. They finally won their first game. No doubt they will be stoked to play their archrivals, the Ravens. If the Ravens win Sunday and drop the Steelers to 1-5, it would be demoralizing for them. But a win over the Ravens would lift the Steelers to 2-4, while the Ravens would only be 3-4. The Steelers still have five games left against teams from the AFC North. They have not packed it in – yet. The Steelers are on the ropes, but the Ravens have a chance to deliver a knockout punch Sunday. They can’t afford to waste it.
Third down – Something is wrong with the Ravens’ punt protection.
Sam Koch had a punt blocked for the second time this season on Sunday. The Ravens got a huge break, because the Packers muffed the recovery, and the Ravens fell on the football for a first down. However, opponents have found they can exploit the Ravens’ punt protection. If the Ravens don’t fix it, Koch may have another blocked punt in his future.
Extra point – To have his fifth consecutive 1000-yard season, Ray Rice needs to average 80.3 yards over his last 10 games. Rice hasn’t rushed for 80 yards in any game this season. Would you say the odds are against him?