Many people including myself have criticized the Baltimore Ravens‘ running game and Ray Rice for not producing. However, in a snow-filled day against the Minnesota Vikings, the bite-sized back had a resurgent fourth quarter. The Ravens will need to review the tape to see what was clicking in this offense on the ground towards the end of the game and stick to it.
Before the fourth quarter, the Ravens’ run game was horrible as usual, and Rice was averaging two yards per carry as he only had 24-yards off of 12 attempts. I’m not sure what made him wake up, but his average went up to 8.6 yards per carry as he put up 43 yards on five touches in the final quarter of the game. This speaks to the type of scheme that was being ran.
When the Ravens lined up and played smash-mouth football where the line was allowed to just whoop the other man in front of them, Rice thrived. This is because they sprinkled in man-blocking instead of zone into some of the packages. I think the reason they reverted back was not only because the zone blocking scheme of Juan Castillo is absolutely dismal, but it is hard to ask the team’s big boys to race to a zone when it was hard to see what was in front of their face.
Baltimore now knows what works: the man blocking scheme. They should put a hat on a head and go to work on the ground. They will definitely need to establish the run early next week against the Detroit Lions as they are ranked sixth in the league against the run. If the Ravens don’t make Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley respect the run early, Joe Flacco will be the one running for his life as the pass-rushers will be hawking him down.