The Baltimore Ravens may sit atop the AFC North along with the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 2-0 record, but last year’s 5-11 team still has a long way to go before they start turning many people into believers. After all, their two opponents are currently a combined 0-4, one of which already fired a coach, with the other starting a backup quarterback.
And they narrowly won in both games. The offense has struggled in particular, averaging only 19 points per game, which ranks 23rd currently in the league. Part of the problem has been their struggles in the running back, which has yet to get jumpstarted this season.
The Ravens have just 163 rushing yards through two games, averaging 81.5 yards per game, which also ranks 23rd in the league, and it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. In fact, they have rushed 54 times through the first two games, averaging 27 carries per game.
Even on a very standard four yards per carry, the Ravens should have a total of at least 216 yards through two games, but the problem is that they are only averaging three yards per carry. 3.0185, to be more exact.
And Baltimore is aware of the issues. Right guard Marshal Yanda described the running game as “a work in progress” on Wednesday, saying that, obviously, the Ravens “would want to run the ball better in those first two games”, and that they “just need to keep working at it”.
Head coach John Harbaugh said that “just generally speaking, we want to improve our run game”, adding that “we want that to be a factor. We want people to have to deal with it. That’s what’s important for us right now.
So far through two games, the Ravens have already compiled seven runs of negative yardage, in addition to another six plays for no gain. Those 13 runs account for nearly a quarter of their total carries over the course of the first two games.
They also have only three carries thus far of double-digit yardage, with the longest of those three plays going for 11 yards. Only 19 of their 54 running plays have gone for at least four yards. In other words, 35 of their runs accounted for three yards or less.
Through the first two games, Baltimore has run the ball seven times on third or fourth down, and they only managed to convert two of them, although it must be noted that two of those run fails accounted for draw plays on third-and-long situations. It should also be noted that the Ravens’ run total includes three kneel downs.
“We’ve just got to stay committed”, running back Justin Forsett said about the running game’s woes. “Looking at the film, we’re right on the cusp of having some big runs. We’ve got to be on the same page, we’ve got to make the right cuts as runners and everybody else has to do their job”.
The Ravens’ next opponent, Jacksonville, gave up 150 yards on the ground last week. No doubt they will be looking to get things going on the ground against them.