Ravens have taken advantage of strong starts

Offense has scored seven times on opening drives and won five of those games

December 24, 2012|By Edward Lee

The Ravens have scored on seven opening possessions this season – the most recent occurring in Sunday's 33-14 victory over the New York Giants. When the offense has scored on its first possession of the game, the team is 5-2. Dating back to last season, the Ravens are 13-2 when converting on its opening drive.

On Sunday, the Ravens capped a 14-play, 73-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Torrey Smith to gain a 7-0 advantage that New York never seriously threatened.

Running back Ray Rice, who rushed the ball 24 times for 107 yards and caught six balls for 51 yards and one touchdown, noted the significance of scoring on the first drive.

“We always talk about just getting the first first down. Just getting the first first down really felt good,” he said. “But obviously, when you’re driving, you’re driving, you get the ball down the field and you score. That builds momentum because obviously, we’re a team that feeds off each other. Your defense gets a three-and-out, it’s time to put points up. When you score that fast, it puts the other team in a position where they’ve got to change their whole game plan. They can’t run their offense the way they want to when you score fast.”

The fast start led to a banner day for the offense. The Ravens established season bests in yards (533) and rushing yards (224), running backs Ray Rice and rookie Bernard Pierce each amassed more than 100 yards on the ground, and Flacco turned in his fifth 300-yard outing of the season.

Flacco said he could sense the offense’s morale improving as it began to roll up yards.

“I think we were able to hit some big plays early on, get some other consistent plays in there,” he said. “I think those plays kind of carried us and gave us a little jolt and allowed to run our offense pretty effectively today and build our confidence.”

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