Hurry-Up Gets Ravens Moving

The hurry-up offense helped neutralize the Cardinals’ pass rush and wore them down.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, October 30th, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Ryan Mink, Week 8 vs Cardinals

Criticized for not making adjustments against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Ravens made a sizeable change against the Arizona Cardinals.

They ran the no-huddle, hurry-up offense – a lot.

Baltimore tried to use it some in the first half, and even after it didn’t work, they stuck with it in the second half, helping jumpstart what was a morose offense to score 24 unanswered points.

“I think we react well to the hurry-up,” quarterback Joe Flacco said.

“I think it can put a defense on their heels a little bit. I think it can wear them out a little bit. It’s tough to rush the pass, rush the passer, really be able to hold up in there and continue to get that good pass rush.

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“I think that was a big part of it.”

The Ravens went into their no-huddle formation once on each of their first three drives. It once resulted in a four-yard gain to tight end Ed Dickson, but once left them with a rush for no yards and one for negative yards.

They broke it out again at the end of the half when they drove for a 47-yard field goal. Flacco hit tight end Dennis Pitta on back-to-back nine-yard gains, then running back Ray Rice for a nine-yard gain. But a false start on guard Andre Gurode took them out of the rhythm and they went back to their normal offense inside two minutes.

“I think you would’ve seen more in the first half,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We just had the bad plays – the turnovers, that really set us off schedule. A couple penalties also. Once we started getting a little rhythm and started making first downs, we were able to play at a faster pace, and that’s what we planned on doing.”

The Ravens came out using it twice on their first drive of the third quarter, picking up a gain of seven yards to Torrey Smith, then one of 37 yards to Anquan Boldin.

They kept it up on two plays on their second drive, then really shifted into another gear on their third.

The Ravens went to it on seven straight plays and picked up 54 yards in the no-huddle formation. Much of that yardage was to Boldin, who was able to stay matched up against cornerback A.J. Jefferson.

“Sometimes you just have to show a little energy out there,” Boldin said. “And I think going no-huddle, up-tempo offense gave us a shot at that.”

It also helped neutralize the Cardinals’ pass rush, which was battering Flacco in the first half and caused a critical fumble deep in Ravens territory.

“In that situation, down 24-3, you know the clock’s your enemy,” Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said. “We needed up-tempo, see if we can sustain it and get that score to start the second half. Then you just ride it. You can be three-and-out pretty quick with up-tempo, but our guys kept us on the field.”

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