The Ravens’ secondary has yielded six plays of 40 yards or more, equaling last year’s total.
“If you can’t stop the run, they’ll keep running on you,” Rolle told the Sun last week. “If you can’t stop the blitz, they’ll keep blitzing you. With us, it’s the deep ball, and until we make some plays, they’re going to keep throwing on us.”
In the meantime, the offense has become a force. The Ravens are averaging 28.2 points and rank fifth in total offense. Since 1998, they have never finished higher than 14th. And since moving from Cleveland two years earlier, no Ravens team has averaged more than 24.4 points.
The trend started last year, the first not only for coach John Harbaugh but also for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and quarterback Joe Flacco. After a solid rookie year, Flacco has raised his passer rating to 93.8. Second-year running back Ray Rice has emerged as a dual threat, and tight end Todd Heap is injury-free.
“We felt like if everyone stayed healthy and we all came back with the mentality that we had toward the end of last season, this offense was gonna fly,” said receiver Derrick Mason, who briefly retired during the summer. “And it has.”
The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Rice leads all NFL players in yards from scrimmage. He’s the No. 1 running back in receiving yards and averages 6 yards a carry. Even though he had an outstanding career at Rutgers, Rice fell to the late second round of the 2008 draft because of his size.
“I’ve been this size nearly my entire life,” he said. “Running the football and making plays was something I’ve been doing my whole life.”
Despite the offense’s success, the defense is getting most of the attention in Baltimore. Harbaugh said much of the bye week was spent on making adjustments.
“We need to cover better,” he said. “We need to pressure better. We need to play better run defense. We need to scheme better.”