NFL Wire News

Running game puts pressure on Ravens QB Flacco

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The Sports Xchange

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens’ running game has struggled to get going this season and this has led to the team’s struggles.

Part of the problem is that Baltimore has fallen behind early, forcing quarterback Joe Flacco to try and put up quick points through the air.

Running back Justin Forsett has been hampered by an ankle injury sustained in the fourth quarter on Oct. 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Despite the issues, Forsett is ranked eighth in the league with 493 yards on 116 carries.

Overall, the Ravens are ranked 19th in the NFL for rushing with 103.1 yards per game. Rookie Buck Allen is also starting to show some burst and he could play a bigger role in the second half of the season.

Also, Because the Ravens don’t have many receivers who create matchup problems for their opponents’ secondary, teams have been able to focus on blitzing Flacco.

“We don’t quite have the explosiveness to take drives or score quickly, and get big chunks consistently,” Flacco said.

In the previous game against the Arizona Cardinals, Flacco was sacked three times by a team that entered the game with only nine for the season. Flacco has been sacked 11 times in seven games. He is the worst quarterback in the NFL against the blitz this season as far as passer rating (53.5) and interceptions (five), according to stats compiled by ESPN.

However, Flacco was trying to stay positive after having two days to absorb the loss against the Cardinals.

“I’m not going to question myself or the guys around me,” he said about the offense’s struggles.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) each had to leave the game against Arizona. Monroe was not able to practice on Wednesday, but Osemele did participate.

“One thing about us right now, we’re the kind of team that has to minimize mistakes and we have to execute,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re going to be forced to develop the ability to do that with perfection.

“That’s the kind of team we are right now. In the long run, that’s going to be good for us. We just have to fight through it.”

NOTES

–WR Darren Waller (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, ending his rookie season. Waller, a sixth-round rookie, was injured Monday against the Cardinals. He has been a spark on special teams. He also caught two passes for 18 yards. The injury will take six to eight weeks to heal, according to Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

–TE Maxx Williams (knee/ankle) returned to practice Wednesday after missing the game against the Arizona Cardinals. Williams took over the starting role earlier this month when Crockett Gillmore missed two games because of a calf injury. Williams has 12 catches for 108 yards.

–S Kendrick Lewis (knee) was able to practice Wednesday after missing the Monday night game against Arizona. He was knocked out of the previous game against San Francisco in the third quarter and could not return Lewis was later diagnosed with a bone bruise. The Ravens have battled injuries in the secondary throughout the season.

–CB Kyle Arrington was signed by the Ravens three days after being released by the New England Patriots on May 11. Arrington had a strong training camp and was expected to challenge for a starting role. However, he has struggled with the rest of the secondary recently and has seen his playing time diminish. Arrington played only three snaps against the Cardinals and might struggle to get back on the field this week against San Diego.

–WR Kamar Aiken was given an opportunity to earn a starting role this season because of some injuries to the Ravens’ receiving corp. However, he has failed to take advantage. Against the Cardinals, he caught one pass for six yards after being targeted three times. The Ravens simply do not have many options behind him.

–DT Carl Davis, a rookie from Iowa, had a strong training camp and earned three starts this season. However, Brandon Williams has played well enough to remain the starter when healthy. Davis played 17 snaps against the Cardinals and finished with two tackles — the same as Williams.

–LB C.J. Mosley is having an uneven season after a stellar rookie campaign. Mosley has missed some tackles and struggled in coverage. However, he showed some encouraging signs against the Cardinals that he is ready to bounce back, finishing with a sack and two tackles for losses.


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