Run Scheme Shift Gets Ravens Moving

Ray Rice churned out 68 yards in the fourth after Baltimore changed rushing schemes.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, October 16th, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Ryan Mink, Week 6 vs Texans

Ray Rice called it a minor change.

Then the Ravens’ running back rephrased.

“Actually, looking at the stats, it was major,” he said.

During the break before the fourth quarter, with the Ravens’ run game having difficulty managing much of anything, Baltimore shifted from the outside zone scheme it borrowed from the Texans this offseason to an inside zone scheme.

Rice had 39 yards on 15 carries through the first three quarters. The Ravens had 45 as a team.

Baltimore churned out 68 yards in the fourth quarter alone and Rice finished with 101 on 23 carries to notch the 25th 100-yard rushing game of his career.

That’s major.

“They face the outside zone every day,” Rice said of the Texans defense. “We needed to attack them and not let them run over the top and create piles and stuff. We have it all. We’re not just going to be one-dimensional in the run game.”

Rice showed his frustration on the field after a five-yard loss to end the third quarter. The run bounced to the outside and there wasn’t anywhere for Rice to go with a swarming Houston defense.

Rice came off the field and went straight to Running Backs Coach Wilbert Montgomery. They talked, then went to Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron to lobby to stay with the run game and change to a tighter inside trap scheme.

“[Montgomery] asked for it and we got it,” Rice said, adding that he wanted to thank the coaches.

“The greatest part of having a running backs coach that played in the NFL is that his eyes are my eyes. We see the same thing. … It’s great because these adjustments happen on the fly.”

The Ravens passed twice more to start the fourth quarter and ended up settling for a 33-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff. On their next drive, Rice started with a nine-yard run behind left guard Andre Gurode. Then it was a 13-yarder, then two-yarder the same direction.

The Ravens ended up punting that drive, but kept it going on the next.

After a Ricky Williams four-yard run and back-to-back pass completions, Rice went left for a seven-yard gain, then ran behind right guard Mashal Yanda for a 27-yarder that took Baltimore down to the 4-yard line to set up the game-sealing touchdown by Williams.

Rice was asked about the frustration he showed on the field following the five-yard loss.

He smiled.

“I was just trying to play with a lot of emotion,” he said. “I had to show the guys that I was fired up. I wanted this game more than anything.”

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