Ravens need to figure out the run game
It's time once again to grade the offense for its performance in the Ravens' 19-17 loss to Green Bay on Sunday. And as has been the case all too often this season, the Ravens aren't exactly making the honor roll with these grades....
On paper, Joe Flacco's numbers looked tremendous -- 20 of 34 for 342 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. But that was a little misleading. He fumbled twice, missed some open receivers and again failed to lead the offense to anything at all in a scoreless first half in which he was 8-for-19 for 45 yards.
RUNNING BACK: D
Terrell Suggs said after the game that the Ravens "have one of the best running back tandems in the NFL." Well, after six weeks of little productivity, that seems like little more than lip service. The running backs struggled mightily again Sunday, capped by the failure to gain 4 yards on four straight running plays near the goal line. For the game, Ray Rice (14 carries, 34 yards) and Bernard Pierce (6-9) totaled 43 yards on 20 carries, an anemic 2.2 yards a pop. This is no longer a blip. This is a serious problem.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D
The line was beaten at the point of attack in run blocking and in pass blocking. The Ravens failed to gain 4 yards on four plays from the 4-yard line, which falls somewhat on the running backs but definitely on the line as well. The holes were not there for the backs, and Joe Flacco was hammered, sacked five times and hurried other times. The strip-sack just before halftime was one of the game's critical plays. The line was also whistled for four penalties.
TIGHT ENDS: C-
Ed Dickson was MIA as a receiver, not even targeted, but Dallas Clark resurfaced with four catches for 81 yards, including a nifty touchdown catch. And Clark's 45-yard catch-and-run was one of the few first-half highlights. Billy Bajema had one catch but also a penalty, and the tight ends share some of the blame for the run-blocking woes.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C
Torrey Smith had as many catches as No.3 tight end Billy Bajema (one), which is a problem. With Smith blanketed throughout the game, other receivers had to step up. Tandon Doss had a career day, with four catches for 99 yards, and Jacoby Jones returned to action with two catches for 42 yards and a score. Marlon Brown also showed big-play ability with a 59-yard catch-and-run, but still has trouble getting separation, either down the sideline or near the end zone.