It’s been a tale of two halves for the Ravens offense over the last month or so.
Prior to the team’s game at Carolina in November, Baltimore’s offense had been shutout in the first half of 5 of the team’s previous 10 road contests dating back to 2009. The how-and-why of that perplexing first half stat was a concern to the Ravens, as it showed a tendency to produce lethargic starts away from home that often put the team so far behind the eight-ball they were unable to recover.
Then, on the second play of the game in Carolina, Joe Flacco found T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the end zone and Baltimore raced out to a 17-3 lead. The following Sunday, albeit in Baltimore, the Ravens bolted out of the first-half gate with the identical advantage, 17-3, against the Tampa Bay Bucs. A week later against the Steelers, Baltimore held a 7-0 edge after 30 minutes. And this past Monday night at Houston, the Ravens were in complete command at the half, owning a 21-7 lead on the Texans.
Problem solved, right?
Well, the first-half problem appears to have been solved. The team’s last two road games have seen Joe Flacco and Company outscore the opposition by a combined total of 38-10 in the opening 30 minutes.
But now, another problem has surfaced.
Baltimore’s offense can’t score in the SECOND half of games.
Over the last four outings, the Ravens have not produced one offensive touchdown in the second half. Not one.
Go ahead, check the stats if you want, but it’s true.
No touchdowns from the offense in 8 quarters of second-half football.
So what has happened over the last month that has led to this trend? Are opposing defenses and coaches making half-time adjustments that take the Ravens offense out of the game over the last 30 minutes? Is Baltimore’s second-half style changing through either play calling, scheme or some other form of manipulation that is rendering the team’s offense less productive? Or is it merely a coincidence?
Surprisingly, Joe Flacco’s first-half numbers compare somewhat favorably to his second-half numbers, so it’s not as easy as saying, “Flacco needs to play better” (in the second half).
Joe has thrown 75 first-half passes in the last four games and has completed 54 of them, including 6 touchdowns in that span.
Flacco’s second half numbers: 58 pass attempts and 37 completions…with 0 touchdowns.
So Joe’s completing about 10% more passes (72% to 63%) in the first half of the last four games. Not a MAJOR eye-opener, right?
How about passing yards, you ask?
Glad you did.
In the first half of the last four games, Flacco has amassed 746 yards in the air. In the second half of those games, the total drops down considerably to 344 yards. He hasn’t thrown for more than 90 yards in the second half of any of the last four games.
What’s that tell you, besides the obvious — that the Ravens offense is struggling in the 2nd half over the last month?
It tells you that Baltimore’s offensive efforts in the second half aren’t of the “risk taking” variety, particularly in the air. They’re throwing less, for starters, and throwing (continued)