Ravens report card: Offense

Ravens report card: Offense
September 23, 2013, 11:00 am
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Were there offensive line problems, despite big win?

It's time to get out the red pen and grade the Ravens offense after the 30-9 win over Houston. The Ravens offense again played the first half as if it had pulled an all-nighter, failing to score a first-half touchdown for the second straight week. But then the Ravens took charge in the second half and pulled away to a convincing win. The report card please ...


Joe Flacco again was not spectacular but was error-free for the most part. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 171 yards, and for the second straight week he did not throw an interception. Receivers got their hands on a few incompletions, but in some cases Flacco led the receiver too much or missed a spot. Flacco was sacked twice but did a good job avoiding Texans pressure.


The Ravens run game still has yet to hit the ground running this season. With Ray Rice sidelined, Bernard Pierce shouldered the load and ran a career-high 24 times for 65 yards. Toss out a 25-yarder and Pierce averaged less than 2 yards on his other 23 carries. Shaun Draughn took over as the No. 2 back but did little, with 4 carries for 2 yards. Fullback Vonta Leach carried three times for 8 yards. Through three games, the Ravens are averaging 2.6 yards a carry; only woeful Jacksonville is averaging less.


For the most part, the line kept Joe Flacco upright against a tenacious front seven. They also did a good job staying disciplined as Flacco used hard counts to repeatedly draw Houston offside. But penalties were a problem for the line in the first half -- with two face-mask calls against Bryant McKinnie and a holding call on Kelechi Osemele. And Houston won the battle in the trenches in the running game.


Dallas Clark and Flacco seem to be starting to get in synch, with Clark catching four passes for 46 yards. He was targeted seven times, and had one bounce out of his hands early. Is Ed Dickson still on this team? Technically, he started, but he seems to be relegated to a blocking role. Dickson was thrown to on the first play against Cleveland two weeks ago, but not at all since. He was a nonfactor in the pass game for the second straight week.


When the Ravens offense needed a spark, Torrey Smith stepped up. He caught a 48-yard pass down the sideline early in the third quarter -- the Ravens' longest play from scrimmage this season -- and three plays later caught a 24-yarder to set up a touchdown run by Bernard Pierce. Smith finished with five catches for 92 yards. Marlon Brown (two catches, 6 yards) had a quiet day and is struggling to get separation. Brandon Stokley had just one catch for 9 yards, but in typical Stokley fashion, it came on third-and-5 and moved the chains.