Rice-less offensive gameplan makes no sense

This is becoming a disturbing trend.

Not the road losses to sub-par teams; we've touched on that already, and will continue to discuss that plenty going forward.

I'm talking about the lack of carries for Ray Rice.

There is not one member of the Ravens' roster or coaching staff who would argue with the notion that Rice is the Ravens' best offensive player. It's just a fact.

So how does your best offensive player get just five carries in a game while his quarterback drops back to throw 52 passes? How is that considered the gameplan that gives you the best chance to win?

It's not as if the Ravens tried pounding the ball on the ground early and didn't have any success. They averaged 6.3 yards per carry for the game, and Rice himself averaged a healthy 5.4 yards on his minimal carries. Yet, out of the Ravens' 66 offensive plays, only 12 were runs, and two of those were end-arounds.

And it's not as if this was a one-time blunder that the coaching staff can chalk up to a failed experiment or a simple mistake.

Ray_Rice-tall-running.jpgThree weeks ago, Rice got just eight carries in a shocking loss to the one-win Jaguars. The running back's lack of involvement in the offense frustrated many in the locker room, and Terrell Suggs even publicly voiced his displeasure immediately after the game, saying Rice needs to get the ball more.

A day later, head coach John Harbaugh admitted that "eight carries is never going to be a winning formula for Ray Rice."

If eight carries isn't a winning formula, I'm pretty sure five isn't, either.

The bottom line is this: in the Ravens' six wins this season, Rice is averaging 18.7 carries per game. In their three losses, he's averaging just nine carries.

Some might argue that those numbers are skewed by the fact that teams often run the ball a lot when they have a lead, while they need to throw it more when they're in a hole. And, to an extent, that's true.

But the Ravens only trailed by 10 after the first quarter. They were only down 12 at halftime. There was no need for their offense to abandon the run and become so heavily pass-dominated at that point.

Coming out of halftime, 14 of the Ravens' first 15 plays were passing plays. The one rush wasn't even a carry by Rice or Ricky Williams; it was a Flacco quarterback sneak.

There was plenty of time left to run the ball and exploit an average Seahawks rush defense. Instead, we got another pass-happy attack which produced poor results.

Rice did grab eight passes on the afternoon, racking up 54 receiving yards, but the Ravens need to have some semblance of a balance in their offense. They can't just fling the ball around on every play, or defenses can key on the pass and Flacco will get his head ripped off by a team with a decent pass rush.

Cam Cameron can get some of the blame. He certainly deserves it. But Harbaugh deserves his share, as well.

This is his team, after all. If he feels Rice needs more carries - and he said as much three weeks ago - he needs to speak up.

Regardless how it happens, Rice needs to be more involved and the Ravens need to run the ball more. They will not consistently have success when Flacco throws the ball 52 times.

I think we've certainly learned that lesson by now.

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