Run Game Losing Ground At An Alarming Rate
In Sunday’s contest in Seattle the Ravens went into full panic mode with the game still in reach and failed to utilize their number one threat on the ground in Ray Rice. It is a given that “Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has to be more patient with the running game and avoid abandoning it for the aerial attack.” Pointed out by Tony Lombardi, www.ravens24x7.com, “Down by 12 at half to the 29th ranked offense in the league that puts up an average of 16 points a game, the Ravens ran the ball just once – ONE TIME in the second half during the 34 offensive snaps taken after intermission.”
Which brings up a major area of concern, the downward tend of the Ravens rushing attack.
The ‘rushing yards per game’ has not only steadily declined this year, but it has dropped out of the top 10 last year and through the mid-way point of 2011.
The numbers speak for themselves (below). The Ravens have one of the most dynamic running backs in Ray Rice and the team brought in one of the best fullbacks in Vonta Leach. They also made a concerted effort to sign Marshal Yanda and move him back to his strength at guard. With all that, the Ravens rushing attack is ranked 22nd. That’s not personnel, that’s play-calling, that’s on the coaching.
Here’s a look at the rushing attack since 2008 to present:
2008: Ranked 4th
Yards per game: 148.5
4.0 yards per carry
2009: Ranked 5th
Yards per game 137.5
4.7 yards per carry
2010: Ranked 14th
Yards per game: 114.4
3.8 yards per carry
2011 Ranked 22nd (though week 10)
Yards per game 99.0
4.0 yards per carry
Jamison Hensley former Baltimore Sun writer and now ESPN’s AFC North writer, puts it well:
Falling: Stock Watch: “Ray Rice‘s impact. The Ravens running back has been averaging 12.3 carries the past four games, including a season-low five on Sunday. Rice’s decrease in carries came right after he ran 25 times in a win over the Jets and 23 times in a victory over the Texans. Rice is a threat to break any run for a touchdown, which everyone saw on his first carry against Pittsburgh two weeks ago (a 76-yard run that was called back for holding). Baltimore showed a commitment to the running back when it made Vonta Leach the league’s highest-paid fullback. Not using Rice is mind-boggling.”