What a relief it is for the Ravens to be back in the win column. Somehow, despite the struggles of the last four games the Ravens find themselves perched at the top of the AFC North. Coming into the bye week, the Ravens offense was anemic, and that may even be an understatement. In Week 9 against the Steelers, did they look better? Yes, but Marty Mornhinweg’s unit still has a ways to go.
The biggest positive in this game was a better blend between the run and the pass. I, among many, have been desperately calling for the Ravens to hold Joe Flacco to under 40 pass attempts. Against Pittsburgh, Flacco threw only 30 passes and completed 18 of them. Terrance West amassed 15 carries. This split is what the Ravens need on offense.
Flacco’s 241 passing yards looks solid on paper, but it is a slightly inflated number, as 95 of those yards came on one play. The offense cannot rely on 95 yard plays week in and week out. Outside of that one play, Flacco had a very average game, with one interception to go with just one touchdown pass. Also coaches, please don't let Flacco run anymore.
Joe Flacco destroys his knee brace with a slide that is definitely not elite pic.twitter.com/MnZbqtBJ9z— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) November 6, 2016
Surprisingly, the biggest aspect of Flacco’s game that needs improvement is his deep ball. He missed many receivers down field, including overthrowing a wide open Breshad Perriman in the second half. The Ravens got away with it in Week 9, but they will need to capitalize on their opportunities in the future.
All aside, this was one of Flacco’s best games of the year. Plus, he finally has his full personel back. Flacco will likely benefit as Steve Smith Sr. works his way back to full strength, and a matchup with Cleveland on Thursday should be beneficial to the Ravens passing game.
The more surpring takeaway was the lack of a running game. Despite facing a defense that has allowed huge days to running backs in recent weeks, the Ravens as a team totaled 36 rushing yards. With the offensive line returning to full strength, this is somewhat concerning. Maybe Ronnie Stanley and Marshall Yanda aren't at 100%, otherwise, 36 yards as a team against Pittsburgh is not good, not good at all. Yes, the Steelers did get Cameron Heyward back this week, but his return shouldn't have made this much of a difference. Again, facing the Browns on Thursday will give the Ravens a chance to correct their mistakes.
The Ravens were boosted in this game with two fluke plays. A 95 yard Mike Wallace touchdown, and a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown. The offense NEEDS to produce as the team can't rely on fluke plays to bail them out. So let’s celebrate the win, but don't think the Ravens solved their problems just yet.