The last four years have seen the Baltimore Ravens go through a much harder and much more difficult road to the postseason than the previous 5 seasons. In 2013, the Ravens were eliminated on the final day of the season. In 2014, they defeated the Cleveland Browns on the final day of the season to get to the playoffs and proceeded to defeat the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round. The very next season was destroyed by injuries and bad luck. Then in 2016, the Ravens came close to getting in, but just weren't good enough as they lost on Christmas night to the Steelers.
All of this has lead to the now infamous 32-34 record that gets talked about a lot. To go along with the 32-34 record since Super Bowl XLVII, one of the biggest problems that has been talked about over the last two seasons now has been the offensive identity. Simply put, they don't have one and 2016 was very disturbing as the team refused to run the football. They refused to be the balanced offensive attack that you need to be to get into the postseason.
All you have to do is look at the Championship matchups this upcoming week. All four offenses have balanced attacks that have helped propel them to this point. The sad thing is, the Ravens easily could've been that type of offense. They just chose not to.
When it comes to the Ravens in 2016, they had quarterback Joe Flacco throw the football 40 times or more in 11 games this season. They were 4-7 in those games. That's not going to work. No quarterback, no offense, and no team will have success with that formula. Especially the Baltimore Ravens. There is one record the Ravens do have over these last four seasons that should show them what they need to do going forward.
Over the last four seasons, when Joe Flacco has 35 or less passing attempts and the rushing attack has 20 or more carries, the Ravens are 17-6. Including 3-0 this year. That right there says it all. Even in the Ravens playoff win over the Steelers, Flacco had 29 passing attempts, while running back Justin Forsett had 16 carries. Flacco also had 8 rushing attempts and Bernard Pierce had 1 carry for a touchdown. That's 25 rushing attempts in all by the Ravens in that win.
17-6 when the Ravens show the ability to be a balanced offense is the most important record to look at instead of 32-34. It is important because that is the Ravens identity and what they need to be. It is a record that should matter to the Ravens as they head into the offseason. Those 17 wins, 18 if you include the Steelers playoff win, needs to be looked at long and hard because that is the heart of how the Baltimore Ravens win football games.
Judging by the way the Ravens spoke about the running game and being balanced at the end of the season press conference, it will and rightfully should be the formula. Bottom-line, 17-6 needs to be emphasized more. Those wins based on a balanced offense need to go up for the Ravens to make the playoffs next season. The Ravens have the quarterback, two running backs and a young offensive line to increase their win total next season. It's up to the Ravens coaches and front office to make sure that happens.