The Baltimore Ravens‘ offense was not clicking on their first few possessions of the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots until Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell quickened the pace of his unit and opened up the playbook. The result? An efficient offensive drive by Baltimore that resulted in a Ray Rice rushing touchdown that saw the All-Pro running back break two tackles. If the Ravens want to keep adding points in the second half, they’ll need to keep up this quick offensive pace while continuing the aggressive play-calling.
The Patriots are already down two defensive backs as both Aqib Talib and Patrick Chung both went down with injuries, so that means Ravens receivers Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones will have an easier time getting open against New England’s second-team secondary. Of course, the Patriots’ pass defense isn’t great to begin with, so taking away two starters really hobbles New England’s secondary, so Caldwell can really earn his paycheck by pushing the tempo in the second half and attacking the crippled defensive backs of the Patriots.
Baltimore’s defense is playing excellent football, even slightly reminiscent of their Super Bowl-winning team a decade ago. This is giving Flacco and the Raven’s offense more opportunities, preventing a shootout and keeping Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense off the field. Flacco and company took advantage on their first scoring drive with that faster pace, which clearly threw New England’s defense off balance. Naturally, we can’t expect the Patriots’ offense to stay contained for the entire game, so it’s important that Baltimore’s offense pushes the tempo and puts points on the board in the second half to keep the game in control.