In Week 10, Baltimore inexplicably lost to Seattle 22-17. Even more inexplicable than the actual loss, though, was that Ravens running back Ray Rice only got five carries against the Seahawks.
As we noted in Sorting the Sunday Pile, there's a common thread to the Ravens three losses: Rice doesn't get carries. In the Ravens six wins, Rice averaged 18.67 carries (including just nine carries against the Rams in a blowout). In the three losses to the Titans, Jaguars and Seahawks? Rice totaled 26 carries. John Harbaugh does not see this as a common thread, however.
|Recapping Week 10|
"The comparisons that people want to draw between the three games, that's all hypothetical, theoretical stuff," Harbaugh said, per the Baltimore Sun. "When you know football, you understand the schemes that you see and the situations that you face are different in every single game.
"I'm not a psychologist. I think what you do is you look at football. We're moving forward. We took responsibility for the loss and we're moving forward."
This would be a perfectly fine explanation, except there is a common thread. When the Ravens lose, Ray Rice averages 10 carries less than when the Ravens win. This isn't cherry-picking statistics. It's just clear that Baltimore abandoned the run way too early.
"I don't know how you would do it any differently," Harbaugh said. "We were in a situation where we lost two possessions [on turnovers]. When you don't have very many plays, it's hard to build up your running game. The way the game went, we had to throw it.
"In that game, I didn't see a lot more opportunities to run the ball."
The turnover point is valid, because losing two possessions is crippling for an offensive attack. But it's not like the Ravens were getting blown out at any point in the game. Their biggest deficit was 15 points, after a Steven Hauschka field goal made it 22-7 with 12:26 left in the third quarter.
And Joe Flacco still attempted a whopping 53 passes on Sunday, which was probably 10 too many. He wasn't helped by the fact that his receivers didn't show up, but he's still averaging the third-most pass attempts per game in the NFL (40.1) behind only Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford.
The problem is Flacco's only converting 54.8 percent of them. Although he might be hitting a higher percentage of them if defenses even bothered to concern themselves with stopping the run.
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