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After watching the tape of Sunday’s 22-17 loss to the Seahawks, Head Coach John Harbaugh supported the Ravens’ shift to an almost all-passing attack in the second half.
Trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Ravens ran the ball five times the rest of the way compared to 28 passes. Running back Ray Rice finished with a season-low five rushes.
“I don’t know how you would do it any differently,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh pointed to several reasons why the Ravens had to air it out a season-high 52 times.
1.Due to turnovers, the Ravens only had five possessions in the first halfand the final was with 46 seconds left when they were in the two-minute offense. Baltimore had the ball for nearly seven fewer minutes than Seattle in the first half.
“So, when you don’t have very many plays it’s hard to build up your running game,” Harbaugh said.
2.The Seahawks defensive front and their commitment to stopping the run altered the play-calling. For example, on the Ravens’ first drive of the second half that ended with an interception on a tipped pass, it was originally a run play that was audibled to a slant based on Seattle bringing an extra linebacker and safety to the line of scrimmage. Seattle also entered the game with the NFL’s second-stingiest run defense in terms of average yards per rush.
“There’s not a lot of places to run,” Harbaugh said. “You can hand it off there and probably get no gain. You have a chance to pop it, but the odds are against you. So in that game, no, I didn’t see a lot more opportunities to run the ball.”
3. The Ravens were playing from behind the entire game. It turned out the Ravens would need every second they could afford, and passing the ball did stop the clock more.
“When you’re down, you’ve got to throw it to get back in the game,” Harbaugh said.
However, it was nearly a winning formula in Seattle, despite three turnovers.
Baltimore’s offense had momentum in the fourth quarter and, if the defense would have come up with a stop after having the Seahawks backed up to a first-and-20 from their own 10-yard line, they would have had a chance for a game-winning drive.
Harbaugh wasn’t drawing any comparisons between Sunday’s Seattle game and the one in Jacksonville.
“I’m thinking every game stands on its own two feet,” Harbaugh said. “The comparisons that people want to draw between the three games, you can draw that all you want. That’s all hypothetical, theoretical stuff.
“When you know football, you understand that the schemes that you see and the situations that you face are different in every single game.”
Rice is on pace to notch a career-low in carries since becoming a starter in 2009 and going to the Pro Bowl that same year. He is averaging 15 carries per game.
He is second among NFL running backs in receptions, however, including eight in Seattle for 54 yards. That means Rice has over 20 touches a game this season.
“In the end, we definitely want to have more runs,” Harbaugh said. “That’s indicative of having the lead, having more plays, especially early in the game. But the way the game went, we had to throw it.”