Three-and-out with the Ravens

Three-and-out with the Ravens
September 30, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Ravens-Bills: 3 and Out

Three-and-out with the Ravens

First down: The Ravens will have to live with Joe Flacco throwing more interceptions.

The trend started in preseason, and has continued into the regular season. Flacco’s career-high five-pick performance Sunday gave him seven interceptions already this season. He has never thrown more than 12 during any season. That looks destined to change. An anemic running game and building chemistry with new receivers has forced Flacco to throw more often. On some interceptions, Flacco’s receivers have let him down. But on others, Flacco has not seen the field well enough, or has forced throws into tight spaces. Flacco won’t throw five picks every week. But he is likely to throw more in 2013 than he ever has.

Second down: The Ravens’ running attack is one of the worst in the NFL.

Hardly anyone expected that, but it’s true. Ray Rice may not be fully recovered from his hip flexor. But whether Rice plays or not, whether Rice or Bernard Pierce get the carries, the Ravens are doing next-to-nothing on the ground. The offensive line must take much of the blame. Rice and Pierce are not missing holes. They cannot find holes. That has to change, or the Ravens will continue to struggle offensively, especially on the road.

Third down: The AFC North is no powerhouse.

Welcome to the mighty AFC North, where the Ravens, Bengals, and Browns are all 2-2, and the Steelers (0-4) are winless. The Ravens might only need nine or 10 wins to take the division. However, we could also be looking at a division that will produce just one playoff team.

Extra point: Torrey Smith is second in the NFL in receiving yards (435), trailing only Julio Jones (481) of the Falcons. In a Ravens offense that is struggling, Smith is playing superb football.