Tag Archive | "Cam Cameron"

Canning Cameron is Probably Not the Answer

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Canning Cameron is Probably Not the Answer

Posted on 04 December 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

In the wake of the Ravens loss on Sunday, the “Fire Cam Cameron” mob is once again fashioning their torches and sharpening their pitchforks. To anyone who’s been watching this team over the 4+ years that are the John Harbaugh / Cam Cameron era it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it was Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti who himself helped to fuel and to further this conversation by declaring “Cam under fire” following the 2010 season. Although Cameron seemed to survive his “under fire” season of a year ago and despite the fact that the Ravens found themselves within an eyelash of a Super Bowl appearance last year, the “fire Cameron” crowd is growing in size and urgency by the day.

At this point it might be fair to ask, if fans and even the owner perceive Cameron as a liability, then why hasn’t John Harbaugh seen it too? Is Harbaugh simply loyal to a fault and to the detriment of the team or might there be more to the situation than meets the eye?

 

When the Ravens brought Cameron in to run their offense I was opposed to the move. I was opposed on the grounds that in just one year he had overseen a near mutiny (to use a familiar term) taking place on his Dolphins team but that wasn’t even my biggest beef. The bigger issue that I had with Cameron related to his time in San Diego. It was easy to see first that both Drew Brees and Philip Rivers seemed to flourish when removed from Cameron’s system. In Brees’ case, Cameron and the San Diego staff failed not only to utilize his talents to their fullest potential, but they failed to even give him much of a shot. After one year at the helm of the Chargers offense, Brees was benched in favor of Doug Flutie and then saw the team draft his replacement in Rivers shortly thereafter. And while all of the aforementioned was troubling, that still wasn’t my biggest concern with Cam Cameron running the offense.

 

My issue, or expectation of the Cameron offense was based on something much simpler. During his time at the helm of the Chargers, it seemed that Cameron’s offense did everything over the middle of the field. Despite San Diego’s tendency to stock their receiving corps with big and physical pass catchers, there was absolutely no effort made to utilize them outside of the hash marks. With “up the middle” talent like Antonio Gates and LaDanian Tomlinson, it’s easy to understand why this was the philosophy but still worth mentioning that essentially ignoring the outsides of the field made things easier for opposing defenses.

 

Now fast-forward to and through Cameron’s first 4+ seasons in Baltimore and the exact opposite is true. It seems that here, Cameron’s offense only operates outside of the numbers and does nothing over the middle. When assessing the personnel at hand, again it’s easy to understand why. The Ravens lack the middle of the field “power forwards” that so many teams have begun to put to use in creating mismatches over the middle. The Ravens seem to lack confidence in their pass catchers and therefore look at balls off the fingertips outside as likely to go out of bounds while balls off the fingertips over the middle are more likely to find their way into the arms of waiting safeties.

 

 

Having the benefit of a strong armed quarterback in Joe Flacco who’s easily able to flick balls outside of the numbers and more than willing to check down to Ray Rice when those options aren’t there, it seems that Cameron’s offense is once again allowing opposing defenses the luxury of not having to account for the whole field. He’s gone from a guy who ran nothing outside of the hash marks to a guy who now runs everything outside the hash marks.

 

On one hand he could be applauded for adapting his game plans to suit his personnel, but on the other hand he’s a guy who has consistently allowed defenses the luxury of not exactly knowing what’s coming, but at least of being able to rule out a number of things that aren’t coming. For these reasons, it’s my opinion that Cameron should be under fire. But…

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Rarefied air of Steelers Week for Ravens is to be savored not soured

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Rarefied air of Steelers Week for Ravens is to be savored not soured

Posted on 26 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

With five games left in the 2012 campaign, the Baltimore Ravens’ 9-2 record is a textbook testament to never quitting and having some special, battle-tested leaders who stare down adversity undaunted — and never, ever become unnerved.

Somehow, someway – even on 4th & 29 – Joe Flacco can manage to walk into a huddle, call nothing but go routes and still throw a check down and the other 10 guys in the huddle including Ray Rice can buy in on saving the game with some kind of miracle. Once you’ve seen that play work, there’s a little part of you that believes that all things are possible for this beleaguered group of purple warriors.

Eleven games into this journey, there’s still a legitimate debate about the merits and quality of this year’s team. And on a play-by-play, drive-by-drive basis it’s almost inexplicable that this team could be 9-2 and holding an almost insurmountable three-game lead in the AFC North. Almost every facet of the Ravens’ production on the field has come under scrutiny or provided some inefficiency, ineffectiveness or failure at some point.

But there they are at 9-2 and still in the throes of possibility regarding home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Week after week the Ravens seem to be on the ropes. And week after week I enter the post-game press conference watching John Harbaugh try to explain how the team won another game when the previous 60 minutes of football looked like a sloppy box of chocolates in the sun.

You never know what you’re doing to get.

Clearly, no one wants to play the Ravens in Baltimore. The home field advantage in The Purple Crabcake is now the best in the football. Is that the noise of the fans? Is it home cooking? Is it the comfort level of Joe Flacco and the offense for play calling? Is it the visiting team(s) coming into M&T Bank Stadium knowing the odds are long simply on reputation?

We don’t have the answers to this Jekyll & Hyde act. We merely witness it and remain alternately flustered and floored after yet another unlikely victory.

It’s almost like watching the Baltimore Orioles this summer – you don’t question how it gets done, you simply enjoy the result. Just smile and hold on…

Other than knowing that over the history of the NFL home teams have always dominated and are always given three points in Las Vegas just for walking out of the home locker rooms, the Ravens’ bi-polar domination at home and sleepwalking on the road remains an unsolved mystery in progress.

On the road, the Ravens are an ugly bunch – a scuffling, stumbling, punting and yet more-times-than-not still victorious bunch. From Cleveland to San Diego, from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, the Ravens have been on the ropes and could’ve easily perished in the 4th quarter of all four games.

And 5-6 would look, smell and taste a whole lot different than 9-2.

But what we saw on Sunday was an all-timer.

The Ray Rice “Hey Diddle Diddle” 4th & 29 in San Diego will go down in history as one of the most amazing plays of this generation. (And we’re still not even sure if it really was a first down? And we’re pretty sure Anquan Boldin could’ve been flagged for a block to the back and unnecessary roughness. He still might hear from Park Avenue after that one.)

But when Flacco, Rice and Torrey Smith aren’t create miracles, they’re walking off the field far too often on the road frustrated after another failed 3rd and something. Or going 130 minutes at a clip without scoring a road touchdown.

The same offense and personnel that is so fluid in Baltimore routinely sputters on the road.

The defense, which over the years has earned a legendary status led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, has been hit hard this season by a myriad

SEE PAGE 2

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Ravens win in San Diego and I, now, officially believe in magic

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Ravens win in San Diego and I, now, officially believe in magic

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Drew Forrester

That does it.

I’m a believer.

You people can continue with your in-game rants about Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense.  I’ll just sit back for the rest of the season and watch them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on their way to New Orleans in early February.

I’m serious.  You can try and figure out a way to turn that win over the Chargers into a loss, but it’s not going to happen.  Bark about Cam Cameron all you want, but he’s the Offensive Coordinator of a team that’s 9-2.  Whine and complain about Joe Flacco until next Sunday when he dismantles that Steelers defense in a 27-10 win, but you’ll be whining about a quarterback who is 9-2 and headed to the playoffs for the 5th straight year.

You people can keep trying to convince yourself that this Ravens team stinks, but all you’re going to do is come out with egg on your face come January. Until today’s unlikely triumph over the Chargers, I was right there with you.  I was a complainer and a moaner and a “how can we keep winning like this?” goofball after all of those fluky wins over Kansas City and Cleveland and Dallas and even Pittsburgh last week, where the Ravens barely snuck past Fred Sanford at quarterback for the Steelers.

But after watching Sunday’s game in San Diego unfold, I’m going over to the dark side with John Harbaugh.

It was a win.

That’s it.

The coach will say that over and over on Monday in his press conference and I’ll just nod my head in agreement.

The Ravens pulled off a true miracle against the Chargers – the likes of which we’ve never seen – connecting on a 4th and 29 in the final two minutes of the game and later using a Justin Tucker field goal in overtime to win, 16-13.

It was the ultimate rabbit-out-of-the-hat-trick that you’d see from David Copperfield.

And it sold me for the rest of the season.

Somehow, someway, despite the lethargic road offense – again – Baltimore stayed alive long enough to let the Chargers defense collapse at just the right moment.  And when the Chargers whiffed on three tackle tries on that 4th and 29 play, the Ravens heartbeat pumped just enough blood into Joe Flacco and his wide receivers to tie the game, then win it in overtime after Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith made huge 3rd down grabs with the game on the line.

It was a miracle.

But it went the way we all wanted it.

(Please see next page)

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Baltimore Ravens win in Pittsburgh, Towson screwed by FCS

Posted on 19 November 2012 by BaltimoreSportsNut

Ok, I was having a great Baltimore sports weekend, the Blast won Friday Night, Towson absolutely destroyed New Hampshire at New Hampshire without their best defensive player, and the Ravens were about to play at Pittsburgh in the best rivalry in the NFL…..then I got pissed off to say the least.

How in the world did the FCS selection committee keep the Towson Tigers out of the tournament? They absolutely beat the hell out of New Hampshire, the 7th ranked team in the country, in their own stadium. Not good enough! Towson also scored the most points against LSU, yes that LSU, at Death Valley than any other team has all year! Not good enough, oh Towson also lost to a Kent State team that is currently in the top 25 in the BCS rankings as well, and played them close. Not good enough! I feel bad for the Tigers and WNST’s own Damon Yaffe, you litterally got robbed and those players deserve better.

UMBC played an outstanding game at North Carolina and took them to penalty kicks to decide the game, have to admire that effort and am proud of the Retrievers. UNC is the defending National Champs, not too bad for a school with county in its name!

The University of Maryland announces they are attempting to leave the ACC and head to the Big 10. WHAT?? Good luck with that, I know more goes into that move than just Athletics, but we all know Athletics are your biggest money maker, and its going to be pure embarassment when they join the Big 10. Wooo they have their own TV network, joyous occassion to get beat on TV every week. Maryland was already struggling to bring in big time recruits, don’t see the Terrapins beating out Ohio State and Michigan for top recruits much easier than beating North Carolina and Duke, or even Virginia Tech for that matter…..disappointing.

Ahhh some emotion uplifting, the Ravens beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, couldn’t be happier, sure the offense could play better and undoubtedly Cam Cameron could have called a better game, but we are 8-2 with a two game lead in the AFC North! Turn on WNST this morning and all I hear is how disappointed fans are with the win?? the win?? Wow, simply stunning. Baltimore is 8-2 right? Sure we have to get better, but what team in week 11 doesn’t say to themselves, “we need to get better before the playoffs”. Zero, listen to the New England Patriots, they are always stating how they have pleanty of things to work on.

Bring on San Diego, and let’s make it 9-2!

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Despite age and injuries, Pittsburgh defense still going strong

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Despite age and injuries, Pittsburgh defense still going strong

Posted on 15 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — They’ve heard the same criticisms offered in Baltimore about a vaunted Ravens defense that’s taken a plunge to 27th overall in 2012, but the Pittsburgh defense continues to strike fear into opponents.

Ranked first in the league in yards allowed and seventh in scoring defense, the Steelers currently have seven starters over the age of 30 on the defensive side of the football. Seven-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu has played in two games all season and doesn’t appear likely to suit up on Sunday night.

But the Ravens are fully aware of the challenge facing them as they try to win their third straight regular-season game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out, but the Baltimore offense knows he has nothing to do with a defense that continues to excel despite a few more gray hairs and nagging injuries.

“They are a physical bunch. They haven’t changed a lot on defense, even with their stars out [like] Polamalu,” running back Ray Rice said. “They are still coming after you. They are going to hit you hard.”

The Steelers’ 16 sacks are an underwhelming total — tied for 22nd in the league with the Ravens — but defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau still brings pressure that will give quarterbacks fits.

Because of the various blitz packages the Steelers tend to dial up, it will be interesting to see if the Ravens try to use their no-huddle offense to keep Pittsburgh in its base 3-4 defense as much as possible. Of course, Baltimore has struggled to score points on the road, averaging only 17.5 points per game.

Outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have combined for only four sacks this season, but the Ravens aren’t taking the duo lightly as they’ve wreaked havoc on quarterback Joe Flacco in the past.

“They’ve done what they always do. They pressure you, first of all,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They’ve got very good pass rushers. They do a good job of trying to get their guys in one-on-one situations. Their pressure package is predicated on creating the matchups they want in the pass rush. And then they’ve got play-makers who catch and run and make plays.”

In recent seasons, Pittsburgh has been vulnerable in the secondary, but cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis have played at a high level this season as the Steelers have held opponents to just 171.1 passing yards per game. Making the feat even more impressive has been the secondary’s ability to limit passers such as Eli Manning despite the long-term absence of Polamalu.

The Ravens will likely use a similar approach to the one used in Cleveland two weeks ago as they used more balance in committing to the running game. The Steelers rank sixth in the league against the run, but Kansas City was surprisingly successful with the ground game in Week 10, rushing for 142 yards on 35 carries.

“We have to take what they are going to give us, but I think running the ball is something that we have to do well against them,” Rice said. “I’ve always said it: You don’t pick up and say, ‘We are going to run the ball at the Pittsburgh Steelers.’ They take a lot of pride in that. We’ll be smart when we run it, but we will try to execute at a high level and get some great runs.”

Ultimately, the Ravens’ chances of winning will come down to the play of quarterback Joe Flacco, who has orchestrated last-second drives to win the last two regular-season meetings in Pittsburgh. The fifth-year quarterback is more than familiar with the surroundings at Heinz Field as a former Pittsburgh Panther — before transferring to Delaware — and now has six road games (two in the postseason) under his belt against the Steelers.

Flacco wouldn’t characterize Pittsburgh’s stadium as a home away from home, but past experiences — good and bad — and recent triumphs have shaped him to be a more confident quarterback at Heinz Field. Last season, Flacco was 28-for-47 for 300 yards and threw a game-winning touchdown to Torrey Smith with eight seconds remaining in a 23-20 final. A year earlier, the Baltimore signal-caller was 24-for-37 for 256 yards and tossed another last-minute 18-yard score to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 32 seconds left in a 17-14 win.

“I don’t know if that adds to it, but I’m sure it probably does, somewhere inside of all of us,” Flacco said. “We’ve played there a good amount. We’ve really gone and played pretty well there, so we should be happy and confident when we take the field, and I think that we are. I’m sure that does add to a little bit to why we are confident there.”

Left guard remains in limbo

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If Flacco and Cam want to shut everyone’s mouth, Sunday night is their big chance…

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If Flacco and Cam want to shut everyone’s mouth, Sunday night is their big chance…

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Drew Forrester

“But when it matters, we play very well, no matter where we are.”

That quote came from Joe Flacco last Sunday in the aftermath of the win over Oakland when media members launched into “Steelers week” by asking the Ravens quarterback about his team’s lack of crispness on the road this season.

Flacco was referring to the fact that over the years, four before this one, his Ravens team has won some pretty significant games away from M&T Bank Stadium.  They’ve also won some big home games, too.

“But when it matters, we play very well, no matter where we are…”

Well, Joe, this Sunday night in Pittsburgh MATTERS.  A lot.

Both Flacco and his offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, are the weekly scapegoats anytime the Ravens either squeeze out a road win or lose on foreign turf.  Some weeks, honestly, that criticism is warranted.  Other weeks, it’s not.  But fans are fans…they grab hold of an issue and refuse to let it go.  Ray Rice only carried the ball 13 times last Sunday and Baltimore trounced Oakland.  I thought the Ravens couldn’t win – EVER – unless Rice touched it at least 25 times.  Right…

Let’s be fair, though.  And Joe and Cam both know this is true, even they don’t like to talk about it — and I don’t blame them for not wanting to.  The Ravens are a different offensive team away from Baltimore.  It’s been that way for a while now, give or take a an exception or two.  For some reason, they’re a keg of dynamite at home and a fizzled out firecracker on the road.  All of the offense gets blame for that – or should – but Flacco and Cam are the ones everybody picks on about the good at home/bad on the road formula.

Well, this Sunday night gives both of them a real chance to shut everyone’s piehole here in Baltimore.

“When it matters” is what Flacco said after the game on Sunday.

What he meant, of course, is this:  ”Yeah, we’re not always hitting on all offensive cylinders every single Sunday, but if you’ve been paying attention, when the games are really important, we’re usually on point.”

And for the most part, he’s right.

Look, we all know every game matters when you only have 16 of them, but the game in Kansas City in October doesn’t matter nearly as much as the game in Pittsburgh in December.  The game in Philly in week #2 was important, but no one will confuse it for a game against the Steelers.

“When it matters, we play very well, no matter where we are…”

OK, Joe.  We believe you.

Now, show us one more time that it’s true.

And bring your offensive coordinator along and let him shove it up the backside of the Doubting Thomas’s in town.

One more thing…be ready to prove it again the following Sunday in San Diego.  And the following Sunday in Baltimore against the Steelers.

Oh, and the Giants and Broncos come to Baltimore in December.  Prove it then, too.

“When it matters…”

Sunday night in Pittsburgh matters.  Big time.

Let’s hope you’re right, Joe.

If you’re wrong, we’ll let you know about it.

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Rice ready for increased workload in second half of season

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Rice ready for increased workload in second half of season

Posted on 08 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After watching Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin run for 251 yards against the Raiders in Week 9, Ray Rice tried to downplay what it meant as the Ravens prepare to welcome Oakland to Baltimore on Sunday.

But it’s only human nature for a Pro Bowl running back to be licking his chops after seeing a defense show such vulnerability.

“Obviously, you look at it,” Rice said, “and you do start getting excited when you see it happening.”

Rice was quick to point out reasons why the Raiders front seven allowed Martin to run all over them in a 42-32 loss, pointing to several occasions when Oakland defenders missed tackles that transformed modest gains into lucrative runs. It’s never a one-size-fits-all comparison from week to week in the NFL, but the Ravens have examined how they can exploit Oakland’s 21st-ranked defense in a similar manner as they begin the second half of the regular-season schedule.

The 278 rushing yards allowed by the Raiders in Week 9 pushed their season average to 124.1 per game on the ground after they had only allowed 102.1 rushing yards per contest through their first seven games, which would have landed them in the 11th spot in the league this week. While Rice and the Ravens are likely to test Oakland’s run defense in trying to win their 15th straight home game, they won’t count solely on the ground game to do it.

“When you look at the tape, you understand why those things happened,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They can play a lot better against the run. They do play better against the run. There are four or five plays in there that just went big for them. You see all those other plays where they do a great job, and they’ve got a real physical front.”

Despite an uneven performance in Cleveland last week, the Ravens displayed a renewed commitment to Rice and the running game after criticism of going away from it on several occasions earlier this season. The Pro Bowl back rushed for 98 yards on 25 carries, which wasn’t exactly a sterling day statistically, but the heavy workload could signal offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s renewed confidence in the back to grind out wins in the second half of the season, especially on the road where the Ravens’ passing game has faltered.

The consummate team player, Rice always says the right thing, but you don’t reach his level of success without wanting the ball in your hands as much as possible. And the numbers prove it’s not a bad strategy as the fifth-year back has run for 622 yards on 131 carries (4.7 yards per attempt), which is 90 more yards than he gained on two fewer carries through the first eight games last season.

“I’ve never been a guy to say, ‘Give me this. Give me that,’” Rice said. “To be able to stick with the run [in Cleveland] no matter what it was, and on first down knowing we were going to dial it, it felt good. It felt good to get my young guy in there, Bernard Pierce, to switch it up. That one-two punch was really working.”

Pierce’s reliability as a rookie will alleviate the pressure on Rice in the second half of the season when the feature back figures to carry a heavier workload anyway, and the rookie from Temple has rushed for 148 yards on 30 carries this season.

Even with the helping hand, Rice figures to become even more important over the season’s final eight games and Cameron has said repeatedly that the Ravens have been cognizant of the running back’s carries in order to keep him fresh later in the season. After carrying only 133 times in the first half of the 2011 season, Rice received 158 attempts in the final eight games and rushed for 832 yards on his way to leading the league in yards from scrimmage.

The Ravens will need a similar herculean effort from Rice as four of their eight second-half games come against top-10 run defenses, including two with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A productive running game will only make things easier for quarterback Joe Flacco, who has struggled on the road this season, as the Ravens attempt to advance to the postseason for the fifth straight season.

“Later in the year as it gets cold, you know you have to run the ball a little bit more and be effective,” Rice said. “But that’s something that we want to grow as. We are going to get better as a run group.”

 

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Baltimore Ravens offense looks great for 16 minutes

Posted on 05 November 2012 by BaltimoreSportsNut

Ok, let me get this out first, the Baltimore Ravens are 6-2 and atop the AFC North and currently hold the second seed in the AFC, which at the beginning of the season all us Ravens fans would take that at the half way point everyday and twice on Sunday.

Now, the offense came of on fire and it looked fantastic in the first eight minutes of the game, Baltimore was running the ball effectively and they marched down the field scored two touchdowns on their first two drives, led 14-0 and I got relaxed in my chair and was enjoying the good life. Then the offense took an almost three quarter nap, with countless three and outs and netting zero offensive yards in the third quarter and lost the lead after five Browns field goals, 15-14.

Just when I was about to need a new remote control (from throwing it across the room) Joe Flacco and the offense quit hitting the snooze button on their alarm clock and woke up for the final eight minutes of the game. With two nice drives netting in a touchdown and a field goal to come through with a 25-15 victory on the road against a much improved Cleveland Browns team.

I am not going to be very critical as the Ravens offense did exactly what I wanted them to do, they ran the football, but I will criticize the fact that Cam Cameron did not make any adjustments on the runs, as Cleveland shifted to run blitzes and completely shutdown the rushing offense of the Ravens the rest of the game. Why not some runs on the outside just to make the defense honor it, but hey we ran the ball and we won…..coincidence? I think not.

6-2 Baby!!!

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Uneven game against Browns shows offensive problems deeper than Cameron

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Uneven game against Browns shows offensive problems deeper than Cameron

Posted on 05 November 2012 by Luke Jones

As crazy as it sounds after going two whole quarters without even picking up a first down in their uneven 25-15 win over Cleveland, the Ravens offense made progress on Sunday.

Their point total nearly matched their output over the previous 10 quarters they’d played on the road (28 points), and their performance over the game’s first 15 minutes might have been the most polished offensive quarter of the season — home or away. The Ravens began the game with 58 rushing yards on 11 carries, went 6-for-6 in the air for 70 yards, were 4-for-4 on third down, and possessed the ball for more than 12 minutes to build a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

A beautiful play-action pass to tight end Dennis Pitta was good for 27 yards and another first down with 8:38 remaining in the second quarter. It was all looking too easy against the Cleveland defense.

And then the Ravens offense disappeared until midway through the fourth quarter.

Completely.

It’s at this point in the narrative when critics typically begin blasting offensive coordinator Cam Cameron for not feeding the ball to Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday. After carrying 11 times for 58 yards in the first quarter, Rice continued to receive carries but couldn’t do much with them, gaining 40 yards on 14 additional rushing attempts the rest of the way.

Rice received his 25 carries and, yes, the Ravens won the game, but anyone who watched a horrendous 30 minutes of offensive play in the middle of Sunday’s win saw they couldn’t move the ball consistently through the air or on the ground, going seven straight drives without collecting a first down.

The criticism against Cameron not involving Rice enough had been fair leading into Sunday’s game, but to point to the play-calling alone for the offensive struggles against the Browns is too simplistic. As has been the case all along, the problems run deeper than just the maligned offensive coordinator, though that doesn’t free him from blame, either.

“I think all of us were probably frustrated a little bit there,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “We weren’t able to move the ball, we weren’t converting on third down, and so, yeah, I think you have to deal with it. It’s how well can you deal with the frustration and go back out there and pick yourself up.

“I think we’re tough physically, but being tough mentally is just as important or more important. I think we’re good in both of those areas.”

Fortunately, the offense awoke just in time after a 14-point lead and showed the mental toughness Flacco described, but you have to wonder where that confidence went for two quarters. The Ravens talked over the bye week about the need to be on the same page offensively, but the offense wilted quickly after an encouraging start.

Is the confidence level too fragile after extensive offensive struggles on the road this season?

Did complacency set in after building a two-touchdown lead?

Was the offense simply wearing down after playing a more physical style early on?

The disconnect that’s existed in contrasting the offense’s excellent play at home against their poor work on the road came into full effect Sunday as the good and the bad appeared in tandem at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

”We started fast and we finished strong,” Harbaugh said. ”In the middle? It was a little bit iffy there. But we came together at the end to win the game.”

They were able to snap out of their offensive coma when Flacco threw a 21-yard strike over the middle to Anquan Boldin to give the Ravens a first down with less than nine minutes to play, the first time they had moved the chains since the Pitta completion in the second quarter.

It was the catalyst for the eventual 19-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith who caught a quick throw from Flacco and spun away from cornerback Joe Haden to give the Ravens the go-ahead score with 4:26 to play. The third-down pass was the first third-down conversion for the Ravens since beginning the game 4-for-4 as they finished a meager 5-for-14 on third downs against Cleveland.

Whether it becomes the turning point of the season for a Baltimore offense trying to find its way on the road remains to be seen, but it prevented what would have been a full meltdown after jumping out to a 14-0 lead against the 2-6 Browns.

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Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco need to put up or shut up on the road

Posted on 02 November 2012 by BaltimoreSportsNut

Let me let you in on a little secret, the Ravens offense is absolutely abysmal on the road, I would use a more emphatic word there but I am trying to keep this PG-13. For the past three or four weeks all we have heard from Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is that they are not going away from the no-huddle and they will make the adjustments….well where are they? Myself, along with all the Ravens fans out there better see something this weekend.

Here is one that needs to be made, give the ball to your best offensive player Ray Rice! Not saying you need to run the ball 100 times a game, but give him the ball 20-25 times and allow him to set up your play action. Flacco is great out of the play action, but it doesn’t work when you never actually hand the ball off. Also, run the football out of the shot gun, can’t figure out why Flacco keeps getting sacked on the road? Newsflash, if you never run the ball out of the shotgun, the defense will pin their ears back go after the quarterback whenever he is in the shotgun, even football video game defenses do that!

Having said all of that, I still believe Baltimore is playoff team that can go deep, but if we can’t perform on the road, we are not going to the Super Bowl. Let’s go Ravens!

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