The Baltimore Ravens are at a crossroad in which they can continue down the beaten path or turn their luck around. There will be no better opportunity at this point in the season than the one they will be faced with in Week 10. What will be the key to victory for the Ravens against the Cincinnati Bengals?
The offense has struggled mightily this season. The run game is flat out embarrassing while quarterback Joe Flacco has seen his fair share of disappointments in the pass offense. The fact is the two must feed off each other, which means Flacco must move the chains through the air in order for running back Ray Rice to finally have some success on the ground.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh understands what needs to be done in order for the run game to be effective. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.
“Cleveland (Browns) played us in a run defense pretty much the whole game,” Harbaugh said, according to baltimoreravens.com. “We’ve got to get them out of that run defense. That’s our job. And to do that, we’ve got to be good and precise in the pass game. We’ve got to open up that coverage a little bit and force them to back off.”
It is easy to see why Baltimore has had a difficult time putting forth a solid rushing attack after watching what opposing defenses have done to the Ravens this season. Stacking the box and using Baltimore’s dismal 71.6 rushing yards per game as motivation is a quick way for an offense to lose steam. The good news is the Ravens believe they are still holding their own despite defenses playing the run.
“We did that at times and other times we didn’t,” Harbaugh added. “We certainly didn’t do it enough because they stayed in single-high pretty much the whole game. When they got in two-high, we hit them deep; we hurt them. So, they got right back in single-high again. I thought the run game, if you watch it play for play, we made a lot of good runs against a lot of tough looks.”
It does not matter whether it is pass defense or run defense because the Bengals excel at both. Baltimore will simply have to get dirty in the trenches and buy time for the playmakers if they want to be victorious.