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Ravens struggle to run on Colts.


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Grounding the Ravens

Grounding the Ravens For all the praise the Ravens running game For all the praise the Ravens running game receives, they've struggled against the Colts in their past five meetings -- all losses. No Ravens running back has scored a touchdown in the five losses and no one has gained more than 71 yards. Here's a breakdown (* playoff game):

 

 

Date.................Result Ravens (att/yds) Avg.. Top rusher

Nov. 22, 2009; Colts 17-15.......... 31-98.. 3.2.. Ray Rice 20-71

Oct. 12, 2008 Colts 31-3............ 19-51.. 2.7.. Rice 6-23

Dec. 9, 2007 Colts 44-20............ 32-98.. 3.1.. Willis McGahee 17-45

Jan. 13, 2007 *Colts 15-6........... 20-83.. 4.2 ..Jamal Lewis 13-53

Sept. 11, 2005 Colts 24-7........... 21-77.. 3.7.. Lewis 16-48

http://www.indystar.com/article/20100113/SPORTS03/1130324/1100

 

I don't know why...maybe the speed of the Colt D is better.

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It also has a lot to do with how the games play out...

 

If the Colts score early and abuse our defense, as most teams would, we abandon the run and start panicking.

 

If we can keep it close, we can keep running and keep wearing their defense down.

 

So long as we don't let Peyton go all Kurt Warner or Brett Favre on us, we should be able to play to our plan....

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Two important questions to ask about those stats:

 

1) Which games did Bob Sanders play in?

2) How many times did Indy sell out against the run because of our inability to punish them deep?

 

The second question shows why it's important for Cam, Flacco, and (Demetrius Williams?) to come up with some big blitz-beating plays in this game.

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It's not often a team comes out and tells it's defensive game plan but Mathis does it here...

 

If you have a good game plan, that's making a team do something they don't want to do," defensive end Robert Mathis said. "So that's what we've got to make them do. We've got to make Flacco beat us rather than McGahee and Rice."

 

Avoiding big gains on the ground would likely play into Indianapolis' favor, punching the team's ticket to the AFC championship game. Brackett said that is the defense's priority.

 

"Obviously, we'd like to stop the run and make them one-dimensional and go after the passer, but first and foremost, they're going to be running the ball," he said. "They've got a three-headed monster, so we definitely need to get after those guys."

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bal-sp.colts14jan14,0,2212273.story

 

but then again...everybody knows this is the plan wether he said it or not.

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Lets hope Gaither plays, we don't want this to be the situation:

 

How would you shuffle the O-Line?

 

Left tackle Jared Gaither surprisingly missed Wednesday's practice with an ankle injury. Gaither had missed three games before playing the regular-season finale and the wild-card playoff game.

 

If Gaither can't play, rookie first-round pick Michael Oher will move from right to left tackle. But how would you organize the rest of the offensive line?

 

Would you put Oniel Cousins at right tackle? The physical but emotional lineman started three games at right tackle in December. His personal foul in Pittsburgh was critical because it pushed the Ravens out of field-goal range.

 

Or would you move Marshal Yanda from right guard to right tackle and start Chris Chester at right guard? Chester started the first 10 games at right guard before the Ravens decided to put Yanda back into the starting lineup. Chester is essentially the Ravens' blocking tight end these days.

 

If Gaither does not play, that Colts defense could very well look like the '85 Bears like they usually do against us. This brings up another question: Would you convert Chester to a tight-end? He has essentially played the position this season and is a naturally athletic guy. Have him lose some weight and he could be a solid blocking tight-end.

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So, they are already saying they are simply going to try and stop the run... and if that's all they are going to do, then I believe Flacco can beat them.

 

Pull Freeney and Mathis and turn them into run stoppers and they will look a lot like Suggs - whose sack numbers are always reduced because he isn't allowed to just blitz all out.

 

Pull their safeties and corners up to the box and throw over them.

 

It can be done, both ways, either way.

 

Hell, I think our running game is good enough that even if they plan to stop it... we can still run over them.

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Well, again... prior to this season, look at the last two games. 31-7 and 44-whatever... I looked at the box scores last night... in both of those games were down 3 scores in the first quarter, much like the Pats were on Sunday.

 

Down a touchdown... down 10... you can keep running. But if you are down 14 or more points... or even worse, 17 or more points... running the ball is no longer an option.

 

This season, we finally got a solid number of rushing attempts in (31)... but somehow, that was still less than we threw the ball (35). As we've all said all season - that simply doesn't make sense. We had attempts in the Red Zone in that game and somehow came away with 0 touchdowns. In a word? Pathetic. And to me that says a lot about our RZ strategy in that game... which was to throw and throw instead of putting the ball in the hands of McClain (yes, McClain) to runover some people for the final few yards.

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Thank goodness is right.

 

I am curious, though, because the Ravens Insiders (Balt Sun blog o' punks like Preston) keep saying that Gaither looks super gimpy, was testy on his ankle, and they couldn't imagine him starting...

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