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Ravens News 9/19: Establishing the run, Andrews contributing and more

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

Getting Alex Collins, Ravens run game on track is ‘big priority’ - Jamison Hensley

If the Baltimore Ravens want to make their way back to the playoffs, they need to clear bigger paths for Alex Collins and the rest of their running backs.

Through two games, the Ravens are averaging 3.3 yards per carry, which is the third-worst in the NFL; they’re behind only New Orleans Saints(2.9) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2.7).

“We’re not in any way pleased with the numbers,” Harbaugh said. “We are very determined to run the ball well because we think it fits our offense, and it’s something that opens everything else up. We have to get that going.”

Some of this has been dictated by the games. As Harbaugh explained, the Buffalo Bills made it their focus to stop the run, and the Cincinnati Bengals forced Baltimore out of its run game by taking a 21-0 lead.

Some of the disappointing output can be chalked up to a lack of clear running lanes. Collins has avoided 10 tackles on 20 touches, according to Pro Football Focus data.

Joe Flacco’s 89 passing attempts is third most in the NFL through Week 2. Nonetheless, the Ravens may need to set up the run with the pass against Denver. The Broncos have allowed a sixth best 3.6-yards per rushing attempt.

Baltimore Ravens welcome extra time to prepare for Denver Broncos - Todd Karpovich

“Everything is tough,” Harbaugh said. “Guys make plays, guys make mistakes, games go down to the wire, somebody gets blown out that you don’t expect to get blown out. You just can’t beat yourself up too much, because if you do, that just takes you to a downward path.

”You can’t do it. What it’s going to boil down to in the end is who is mentally tougher over the long haul.”

“Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet,” he said. “It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that’s what we’ve got to try to become.”

The Ravens will have one advantage over the Broncos with the extra days to rest from the previous physical game against the Bengals. This should allow several players to be fully healthy for the matchup.

Baltimore will enter the game without top linebacker C.J. Mosley, who is out with a bruised left knee, and Maurice Canady, who was placed on IR with a thigh injury.

Harbaugh was noncommittal on Ronnie Stanley’s availability for Week 3. He also revealed that rookie tight end Hayden Hurst and defensive tackle Willie Henry are not ready to return to practice from their ‘short term’ injuries.

NFL power rankings, Week 2: Shake-up at the top as Rams, Jaguars, Chiefs lead the way - Mark Maske

18. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) | Last Week’s Rank: 10

The performance Thursday night in Cincinnati was poor. Nothing is really lost yet for the Ravens. But they missed a chance to give an early-season signal that they’re capable of getting back to the playoffs.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) | Last Week’s Rank: 11

QB Ben Roethlisberger threw 60 passes in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. Maybe RB Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t be so worried about being overworked if he ends his contract stare-down with the Steelers.

The undefeated Bengals check in at fourth in these rankings while the Browns rank 25th.

A Rookie Tight End Not Named Hayden Hurst Is Immediately Contributing - Ryan Mink

“Mark [Andrews] had the slow start in training camp because of the physical issues, and man, he’s kind of a gamer,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

“He steps up and makes plays, and I think that’s what we thought we had when we drafted him. He’s worked very hard in practice, and to see that show up in the games is good.”

“Pass catcher, but, I tell you, a better blocker than probably anybody thought,” Harbaugh said. “In the games, he kind of steps it up, so that’s a very big plus for us.”

Indeed, Mark Andrews’ early contributions have been a pleasant surprise. A clever dig route allowed him to uncover for a touchdown right before halftime in Week 2.