Ravens report card: Offense

Ravens report card: Offense
September 30, 2013, 10:00 am
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Clark: "We weren't near good enough"

It's time to get out the red pen and grade the offense after the Ravens' 23-20 loss to Buffalo. Let's just say if this were a real school, they would be staying after school with a tutor or repeating a grade. The report card ...


Joe Flacco set a franchise record with five interceptions, and he admitted after the game that he never saw the defender on two of them. Two came off tipped balls, and another was a forced pass under pressure that was underthrown to Torrey Smith in the end zone. That cost the Ravens a likely three points at least. Flacco aired out a beautiful 74-yard pass to Smith, but he threw way too many balls to the blue jerseys.


The backs probably deserve an 'incomplete'; they were hardly seen after halftime, as if they dropped the class in mid-semester. But when they were in the game, they were nonfactors. Rice insisted he was healthy enough to play but showed nothing, with five carries for 17 yards. He was also nonexistent as a receiver. What happened to the checkdowns to Rice? Bernard Pierce is supposedly healthy and showed even less, with four carries for 7 yards. The backs also had missed blocks in pass protection, which led to some of the 12 hits Flacco took.


The game began with a penalty on guard Kelechi Osemele and went downhill from there for this group. The line got manhandled on run plays and had trouble holding off the pass rush. Facing one of the worst run defenses in the league, the Ravens could not open any holes. The Ravens averaged 2.7 yards on those rare occasions when they ran the ball. Flacco was sacked four times, hit 12 times and harassed throughout. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was flagged for one of the four penalties on the offensive line.


Dallas Clark had four catches for 34 yards, but is looking old and having trouble getting open. Ed Dickson's nightmare season continued. One of Flacco's interceptions clanked right off Dickson's hands, and Dickson was also flagged for a penalty. Dickson did make one nice catch in traffic and finished with two catches -- double his season total to that point -- for 12 yards.


Torrey Smith remains one of the few offensive bright spots this season. He had five catches for 166 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown catch and a 74-yard bomb that was beautifully thrown by Flacco. Rookie Marlon Brown grabbed his third touchdown catch and used all of his 6-5 frame to grab a third-down conversion on the Ravens' first drive. Deonte Thompson, making his first appearance of the regular season, made four catches for 50 yards. Thompson had to leave with concussion symptoms after making a 33-yard grab, but he got separation on that deep ball -- something that has been sorely lacking from Ravens receivers -- and held on despite taking a shot. He showed a lot of promise.