Ravens Stick To Game-Plan

Jim Rogash

At the end of the first half, Baltimore Ravens fans were questioning the conservative play-calling.

The Baltimore Ravens were only trailing 13-7 at the end of the first half, but anyone who watched the first thirty minutes knew it could have and perhaps should have been a much larger deficit. The play-calling seemed suspect, with short, ineffective runs up the middle and a lack of passes into the middle of the field and deep along the sidelines.

Fans were clamoring for offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell to open up the playbook in the second half. Little did we know that the Ravens were sticking to their guns and calling the game that they had prepared for all week. The game changed in the final 30 minutes as the Ravens totally dominated the New England Patriots on both sides of the ball, but it was on the offense that the change was most noticeable.

In the first half, the Ravens ran the ball 14 times for only 53 yards, a 3.8 average, compared to only 12 pass attempts. In the dominating second half, Baltimore had 19 rushing attempts but threw 24 passes, utilizing the entire field, especially the middle that had virtually been ignored in the first half.

Caldwell, Flacco and the Ravens knew what their plans were all along and thanks to some questionable play-calling on the part of the Patriots at the end of the first half, the deficit was not one that would change the strategy one bit. As the game progressed and the Ravens game-plan began to become clear, it showed that the coaches knew what they were doing all along.

The change in tempo from the first to second halves was evident in the time of possession battle. New England owned the clock in the first half, holding the ball for 18 of the game's first 30 minutes. However, in the second half, the trend reversed itself, with the Ravens owning the ball for almost 20 of the final 30 minutes.

Play-calling is only a part of the game, although a very important part. However, if the players execute, it almost doesn't matter what plays are being called if they gain ground on each play. The NFL is an extremely competitive league, with great minds on both sides of the ball. In the Ravens thorough victory, they showed they won both the battle on the field as well as the sidelines.


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