Passing game falters in primetime

What does it say about a team when just 13 of its 34 points scored were put up by the offense?

Ray Rice, your thoughts?

"From a defensive standpoint, it says that those guys are phenomenal," the Ravens running back said. "But from an offensive standpoint, it wasn't pretty on our part, but we got the job done."

It sure wasn't textbook offensive execution for a large portion of last night's 34-17 Ravens win over the Jets, as Baltimore registered just 267 total yards and quarterback Joe Flacco went more than two full quarters without a single completion.

Joe_Flacco-tall-running.jpgThis comes a week after Flacco set a career high by throwing for 389 yards and three touchdowns. The differences between the two performances are striking, and might indicate that going with a passing-heavy gameplan on a consistent basis is not in the Ravens' best interest.

After going 8-for-17 in the first quarter last night, Flacco went the entire second quarter without connecting with any of his pass catching targets. Flacco actually completed more passes to the other team - one - than he did to his own squad in the stanza, as he went 0-of-10 with an interception which was returned by a touchdown by linebacker David Harris.

Flacco threw just four passes after halftime, completing two, as the Ravens' running game picked up the slack and helped put the Jets away.

In Flacco and the offense's defense, they were playing a very tough Jets unit which might have the top cornerback duo in the league and gets after it up front. That shouldn't be ignored when examining the sloppy stat sheet.

"I think we played against a really good defense, and you want to be smart about the kind of throws you make when you have the corners out there covering receivers real tight," head coach John Harbaugh said, when asked about the passing game hitting a lull. "Credit our offense for finding a way to win a game. We had some fireworks early, and I thought they did a good job early. But, that's a really good defense over there."

"They're very stout," center Matt Birk added. "(The Jets') demise was greatly exaggerated, basing it off one game. We knew it was going to be a fight, and it wasn't pretty, but the defense stepped up and made plays and offensively we did what we had to do. And the bottom line is we got a big win at home."

When the passing game faltered, the Ravens got back to their traditional run-first offense, and they were effectively able to move the ball and also milk time off the clock in the second half.

Baltimore had possession for over 21 minutes after halftime, and the Jets' defense was seemingly powerless to stop Rice, Ricky Williams and the Ravens' power rushing attack, even when they knew what was coming.

The Ravens ran to the left side of the Jets' defense on nine straight plays late in the third quarter, churning out chunks of yardage behind strong blocking by right guard Marshal Yanda and fullback Vonta Leach. They picked up four rushing first downs and took seven minutes off the clock on one drive alone, and seemed to break the Jets' collective spirit

"We buckled down and said, 'We've got to run this ball,'" Rice said. "Regardless of what the average yards per carry is, we ran the ball and slowed the clock down. The defense did the rest."

The air-it-out, go-for-the-jugular offensive gameplan that we saw last week in a win over the Rams didn't work against Rex Ryan's Jets, and Flacco's completion percentage took a hit as a result. But the defense carried the bulk of the load and the physical running game provided the finishing blow.

Just like the Ravens teams of old, huh?

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