The Baltimore Ravens finally won on the road and took out the once-undefeated Miami Dolphins, handing them their second straight loss in week five. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Baltimore learned just how valuable a few of their assets are when it comes to a winning formula.
In the 26-23 victory, Baltimore ran the ball for 133 yards on a whopping 40 carries, giving them an average of just 3.3 yards per carry. But, that 3.3 yards per carry was enough to help them control the time of possession by having the ball 13 more minutes than Miami in this game.
Ray Rice accounted for 74 yards on 27 carries, again not giving him a very pretty average. But, what the Ravens did Sunday is something they haven’t been doing of late — not abandoning the run. The 40 carries Sunday were a season high for the Ravens, a week after they only totaled a measly nine carries against the Buffalo Bills. And, oh by the way, Joe Flacco was intercepted five times that day.
The Ravens seem to never learn. Sunday, it looked like they finally figured it out. Flacco isn’t a quarterback you want throwing the ball 40-plus times every single game. He’s just not. I’m not saying he’s not a good quarterback, but if you put the game 100 percent on his shoulders without giving him a run game, he won’t be able to handle it — nor would 25 other quarterbacks in this league.
With a top-5 running back like Rice and arguably the best backup running back in the game, Bernard Pierce, the Ravens would be foolish not to total 35-45 carries per week. They’re a team without many weapons in the passing game and are built to grind games out like this.
Baltimore can’t afford to move away from this formula anytime soon. They have a phenomenal back field, it just needs to be used more consistently no matter how grim the yards-per-carry look at the moment. Use Rice and Pierce — get wins. It’s that easy.