Here’s a stat that I never thought I would read: the Baltimore Ravens are the best offense in the league. That is, at least, when it comes to putting seven points on the board when they get into the red zone. Following their 27-14 victory over the Denver Broncos yesterday, they have successfully scored touchdown on all 12 of their trips into the red zone so far this season.
Not only is that the best mark in the league, it’s also the best mark to start a season in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Scoring a touchdown on each of a team’s first 12 trips into the red zone is something that had never before been done in NFL history.
And the Ravens have been the team to do it. The Ravens and Joe Flacco at quarterback. The Ravens that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be hosting next week. Can they be the first team to keep them out of the end zone once they get inside the 20?
On explaining Baltimore’s success in this area, Flacco told reporters that they have “had a good mix” of rushing and passing. “I think we’ve probably thrown the ball in six times and run the ball in six times. If you can do both of those things, especially when you get down tight inside the 5-yard line … that helps a lot. It takes a lot of pressure off your offense. We’ve got good playmakers, and we put a lot of pressure on the defense with the guys that we have out there”.
The Ravens went three-for-three in the red zone yesterday against the Broncos, with each of their three touchdowns coming from inside the 20. Those three trips were capped off by a six-yard run by Alex Collins, a one-yard run from Buck Allen, and another score from Allen on a 12-yard reception.
Even the highly prolific Kansas City Chiefs have not been as efficient in the red zone this season as the Ravens. Following another convincing win yesterday, Patrick Mahomes’ troops have now scored touchdowns on 11 out of 12 trips into the red zone. That one failure actually game against the Steelers—just kidding. They went four-for-four against the Steelers.
While execution is critical when the field gets shorter and shorter, Head Coach John Harbaugh also complimented the playcalling of his offensive coordinator in the red zone. “I thought some of the plays have been really brilliant”, he said. “We’ve had some play-action plays, where some guys have been wide open, some easy throws, stuff like that”.
For what it’s worth, the Steelers’ six-for-seven in the red zone this season is among the best marks in the league, just behind the Ravens, Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals.