When Ravens are down, they also are out

Insider

Ravens Weekend

November 09, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun Reporter

The Ravens repeatedly promote the fact that coach Brian Billick is 51-1 when leading by 14 points or more at any point in a game.

What's left unsaid is the Ravens' inability to come back on teams.

When opponents score first, the Ravens are 0-4 this season and 5-12 (.294) over the past three seasons. When trailing at halftime, the Ravens are 15-42 (.263) in Billick's 8 1/2 seasons.

The problem seems rooted in their philosophy, not their personnel.

The Ravens stress efficiency over electricity, meaning the offense's goal is to eat up time of possession by running the ball and completing short passes. When they fall behind and defenses play more deep zone - like the Pittsburgh Steelers did after running out to a 35-0 lead - the Ravens still settle for the slants, short curls and passes in the flats.

Look at the mentality of the New England Patriots last Sunday, when they rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Even though the Colts played a two-deep zone (heck, coach Tony Dungy made it en vogue), Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw a 55-yard pass to Randy Moss to set up one touchdown and a 33-yard pass to Donte Stallworth to set up the last one.

This isn't to suggest the Ravens can do the same things as the Patriots, because obviously the teams and passing attacks are in two different leagues. This does show how some teams - even when defenses don't want you to throw deep - can still do it.

Last weekend, the Cleveland Browns came back from a 21-7 deficit in the second quarter to beat the Seattle Seahawks, and the Washington Redskins rallied from a 17-3 hole in the second quarter to upend the New York Jets.

The Ravens haven't come back to win after trailing by 14 points since November 2004. When they fell behind 14-0 to the Steelers in the first quarter Monday night, there was never a sense that the Ravens would rebound.

Some might suggest that the Ravens are simply not built to overcome large deficits.

That might have been the case in 2002, when they had Travis Taylor and Randy Hymes as receivers. Or even in 2004, when it was Taylor and Kevin Johnson.

But this team has young deep threats like Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams. And although many consider Derrick Mason a possession receiver, he did have a reception of at least 30 yards in six games in 2005.

But when they fall behind, the Ravens don't attack deep downfield.

The Ravens' mind-set seems to be taking what the defense gives them instead of taking what they want.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Too much to overcome

A look at the Ravens' inability to rally in games the past three years:

............................................ When not ............................. When

............................................ scoring ............................... trailing

Year ........................................ first .................................. at half

2005 ........................................ 1-6 ...................................... 1-8

2006 ........................................ 4-2 ...................................... 4-2

2007........................................ 0-4 ....................................... 0-4

Total ..................................... 5-12 .................................... 5-14

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.