Red Zone Offense Has To Improve

Baltimore entered Week 6 tied for 27th in the NFL and scored TDs in two of four chances.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 6 vs Texans

Statistically, the Ravens improved on their red zone offense Sunday against the Texans.

That’s not saying a whole lot, however.

The Ravens entered the game tied for 27th in the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage, scoring 33 percent of the time.

They put the ball in the end zone twice in four chances against Houston, and had three other attempts stall not far outside the 20-yard line.

Baltimore had to settle for five field goals from Billy Cundiff and now is 29th in the league in red zone offense.

“We’re happy with the field goals, but we’re not happy with the fact that they weren’t touchdowns down there those other times,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“We haven’t really been that spectacular down there all year. It’s an area that we have to get better at.”

Part of the Ravens’ struggles Sunday evening can be explained by the Houston Texans’ red zone defense. It entered the game tied for ninth in the NFL, allowing a touchdown just 43.8 percent of the time, and didn’t leave much room to throw.

But Baltimore also had trouble running the ball. Here’s how the two unsuccessful trips to the red zone went down:

A 51-yard reception by Torrey Smith put Baltimore on the 13-yard line. Running back Ray Rice ran for six yards on first down, but Houston made a tackle on a screen pass to Anquan Boldin, holding him to two yards. Rice was stuffed for a two-yard loss on third-and-2, bringing on the field goal unit.

A 56-yard reception by Boldin on the next drive set the Ravens up on the 10-yard line. Rice ran outside for a five-yard loss on first down, then Flacco was incomplete on a short attempt to Vonta Leach, then again on a short pass to Rice, sending Cundiff in for a 33-yard field goal.

“We couldn’t run the ball down there; that hurt us. You like to be able to run the ball down there a little bit. The field gets a little narrower for the passing game,” Harbaugh said.

“I thought Joe made good decisions not throwing the ball into those coverages, because that could have been – probably would have been – interceptions, actually.”

So what’s Baltimore going to do to fix it? There’s no magic elixir.

“We’ll just keep working it, keeping coming up with schemes,” Harbaugh said. “Really, it comes down to executing the things we do a little bit better down there.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,