There is little denial that the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills was certainly an ugly one, but the biggest question coming out of the game was 'what happened to the Ravens running game?' Yesterday during his press conference, Head Coach John Harbaugh took responsibility for the complete abandonment of the running game.
What classifies as running game abandonment? How about running the football just twice, yes twice, the entire second half and just nine times the entire game for a measly 24 yards.
“That’s my call all the way. I just felt like we weren’t running the ball well enough to win the game running the ball,” said Harbaugh, who added that he respected differing opinions about the lack of rushing attempts. “Looking back on it, I feel the same way. After watching the tape, I feel we did exactly the right thing to try to win that game. So, no second-guessing myself on that. That was my decision, and that’s the way we went with it.”
At one point, the Ravens threw the ball 31 straight times from the second quarter until just under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It does not take a genius to figure out that Baltimore has absolutely no confidence in running the football right now and why should they? Currently they are averaging 2.6 yards per carry, which is tied for the second worst average in the NFL.
Heading into the game, the matchup seemed like a great time for the Ravens running game to get back on track as they were playing against a Buffalo defense that entered Sunday ranked 30th in the league against the run and had surrendered 182 rushing yards a week earlier against the Jets.
The fact that Harbaugh came out yesterday and took full responsibility for abandoning the running game is actually a good thing for a couple of reasons. First off, you always want a head coach to protect both his players and his coaching staff and that is what he was doing. Secondly, by coming out and saying that, he knows it is an issue and did not get snarky or obnoxious when asked about the running game when it is obviously a weakness at this point.
Baltimore will need to get some things straightened out this week in practice as they will travel to Miami to take on the 3-1 Dolphins.
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