It’s easy to pin the the Baltimore Ravens heart breaking loss on the defense chocking down the stretch. But the Ravens yet again were handicapped by its offense, its offense that seems both scared and unwilling to throw the ball down field. It has never hurt the Ravens as much as it did on Christmas Day.
Against the Steelers, the Ravens stalled in the red zone time after time. Trading touchdowns for field goals cost the Ravens the game, and the AFC North title.
Because the new offensive system seems to not involve passes that travel over 15 yards in the air, the Steelers were able to move their safeties up, and stop the Ravens for a short gain. It is thus no surprise that the Ravens had 17 third downs in the game. The offense only converted nine of them. Even when the Ravens needed a hail mary to score a touchdown, Flacco threw a short pass over the middle to a tight end.
The short passes had a direct correlation to Ravens drive’s stalling short of the end zone. The Ravens left a large number of points on the field, and thus allowed the Steelers to get back into the game.
As the defense brings up its safeties and corners to stop the short passes, the running game becomes more difficult as more players are in the area to make tackles.
It’s not that the Ravens don’t have the talent to have a good offense, the problem lies in a system that handicapped the Ravens. Mike Wallace, one of the premier deep threats in the NFL, only had 21 receiving yards. Wallace should have been used to stretch the defense downfield, opening space for the running game, however, he was not used as such. It was clear that the Steelers offense could score at any time, but the Ravens could not.
Former Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman was bad, and current offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg isn’t any better. It’s time to find an offensive coordinator for the long term. Someone who can take the talent that the Ravens have, and utilize it create an offense capable of competing for a title, as with the dink and dunk system the Ravens have now, they don’t stand a chance.