The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in what quarterback Joe Flacco said reminded him of his 2008 rookie season. The defense dominated with five sacks and forcing five turnovers while the offense ran the ball down the Bengals’ throat and only attempted 17 passes. Is this what we can expect for the rest of the 2017 season, and most importantly can the Ravens go back to being a perennial playoff team with this play style?
Flacco went 9-17 throwing for only 121 yards with one touchdown and one interception (which was not his fault) on Sunday. We are all aware that the Ravens were definitely committed on running the ball more this season by bringing in coach Greg Roman and beefing up the offensive line, but rushing 42 times while only throwing 17? I think its safe to say nobody expected that kind of split in the first week, but it worked. Both Terrence West and Javorius Allen ran the ball pretty well, rushing for 80 and 71 yards respectively. Flacco possibly would have attempted five to six more passes if Danny Woodhead had not suffered a hamstring injury early in the first quarter.
Can the Ravens win with this type of play calling? I believe this is the type of offense that thrives in Baltimore. Flacco has always played his best when the Ravens can run the ball. It opens the play-action, which Flacco is his absolute best in, and it takes pressure off Flacco and his receivers from having to make as many plays. Expect Flacco from now on to throw between 24-27 passes a game and the running back committee of West and Allen splitting 30-35 carries. But with how the defense looks so far and how amazing kicker Justin Tucker is, the offense only really needs to make it to the opposing 35-40 yard line for points. Coming off a touchback, that comes out to roughly four first downs a drive. If the offense can not accomplish that, they do not deserve to win.