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The Difference Between the Two Offenses

I put a synopsis of this post in a comment responding to the comparisons of the two offenses. For years the Ravens have been offensively challenged, leading to them even being the subject of bad jokes:

How do you keep the Baltimore Ravens off your front yard? Erect a set of goalposts!

A guy walks into a bar with a cat. He asks the bartender if they can watch the game together, as their TV is broken and the cat likes to watch the Ravens. The Ravens kick a FG early in the game and the cat jumps up and holds its front paws in the air, signaling the FG good. Everyone in the bar is amazed and the bartender asks the man, "what does he do for a touchdown?" The man replies, "I don't know, I've only had him for three years!"

There are a ton of more ones, each as bad as the ones above (although I like the cat one!).

Anyway, as I've said before, this is not your father's Ravens' offense (?). This team can score, is the 10th highest scoring team in the NFL and is averaging over 24 points per game. In fact, over the past eight games, I've heard that the Ravens are the highest scoring team in the entire NFL over that span! This offense has added two things that have plagued this team over the years, both of which are the reason for our offensive success. I'm not talking about individuals, players or coaches. I'm talking about what we are able to do on the field, regardless of the people planning or executing it. For the first time in recent Ravens memory (no slight to the Vinny Testeverde offensive-minded teams of the early years), we have the two big things that lead to offensive success and points on the scoreboard. That is the ability to have long, time consuming, ball control drives that eat up clock, wear down defenses, keep the opposition offense off the field and end up with points on the board. The other thing is that we also now have the big play ability to break open a close game or put the proverbial nail in the coffin of a beatdown or blowout. This can be accomplished though the perfect execution of a routine play or through the same of a trick play. The Ravens have regularly accomplished both of these offensive options on a regular basis this season. The scary thing that this presents to opposing defenses is that we've done it regularly and with great success. Many teams try it and don't succeed, which in itself, puts the defense on alert. However, to do it successfully with regularity presents a totally different mindset for defensive gameplanning by our opponents.

This is the difference betwen us and the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh always seems to make the little plays to extend the drives that end up with points when you thought they would bog down, get sacked or not make the play. Ben Roethlisberger always escapes the expected sack by shrugging of the defensive player better than anyone else in the league, and then takes a few steps to hit Hines Ward for the short gain and the key first down to keep the Steelers in the game. That is why with their three losses, they still have not been blown out in any game while the Ravens have been blasted twice. However, don't read much into this, as the Steelers have lost to the same two teams that blew us out, but both times they lost at Heinz Field, while we were crushed as visitors. Coincidence? I think not.

The Steelers do not seem to be able to make the big play. That is a bold statement, but they are much more of a ball control dink and dunk pass team than one looking for the long pass or trick play. Their offensive line has not been able to give Roethlisberger the time to make a big pass or trick play, so they rely on ramming the ball down your throat or frustrating the hell out of you and wearing you down with their extended drives.

Wthout the threat of the big or trick play, they have more opportunities to fail and face a tougher time to score. However, they are a good team and have found the ways to do both, as their record is not anything other than excellent. In a tough defensive game coming up like this one as well as their next one at Tennessee, that might make it a bit more difficult to put points on the board than a team like the Ravens, who can now score from anywhere on the field at any time.

Must be nice to be us, huh?