Harbaugh: Ravens must find way to get in end zone


Harbaugh: Ravens must find way to get in end zone Harbaugh Ravens must find way to get in end zone

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh dismissed the notion his team does not have enough balance on offense.

He was responding to questions regarding the play-calling in Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Quarterback Joe Flacco had 56 passing attempts, while four players combined for 25 rushing attempts. Baltimore has run the ball 139 times so far this season, which ranks seventh in the league. However, the Ravens are only averaging 3.4 yards per carry, ranking 30th.

“You have to do whatever you have to do to move the ball and score points,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been doing a pretty good job of that up until this last game. We just need to put more points on the board. Nine points — three, three and three — is tough to win games that way. That’s the bottom line. But this run/pass balance thing, I don’t understand why it’s a topic.”

Flacco threw for 298 yards but also had a critical interception on the Browns 2-yard line and was sacked twice.

Baltimore fell to 3-12 when Flacco has 50 or more passing attempts in a game. More importantly, the Ravens fell behind the Bengals (4-1) in the AFC North.

Baltimore (3-2) closes out a string of three road games Sunday against the Titans. The Ravens will matchup against their former defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who retired after the 2017 season before accepting the same role in Tennessee.

“I’m excited about it,” Harbaugh said. “Dean means a lot to me personally, and he did a good job here. He put a lot of good defenses together here in Baltimore. I hope the fans understand that and believe that. There are a lot of heartbreaking moments for every team around the league.

“I have a lot of respect for Dean, and when you watch his defense play — because they’re playing very well — and they’re one of the top defenses in football right now, which is pretty much a trademark for Dean’s defenses, it’s really no surprise.”

–LB Tim Williams (hamstring) did not play Sunday against the Browns after missing practice the prior week. Williams has seven tackles and has progressed well since his rookie season when he struggled to get on the field.

–RB Alex Collins played just 27 snaps against the Browns, 23 less than his backup Javorius Allen. Collins did leave the game with a minor injury but said he fully able to carry the load. Collins led the team with 59 yards on 12 carries. Allen had 34 yards on eight carries. “That’s the way the game went,” Harbaugh said. “A fresh running back is a good thing. I think running backs taking 40, 50 snaps is not necessarily a good thing. You talked about the balance. [If] you put the ball in one guy’s hand for 35 plays, I don’t know if that’s balance. We need to spread the load, and you want fresh guys out there playing hard.”

–QB Joe Flacco has endured 16 dropped passes, most in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. WR Michael Crabtree has endured eight of those drops, including two against the Browns. Flacco is on pace to throw the ball a career-high 726 times, well ahead of his 672 attempts in 2016.

–LB Terrell Suggs played 66 snaps against Cleveland, the most he has played all season. The 35-year-old linebacker leads the team with 3.5 sacks over five games. “Yes, yes, that was more snaps than you want him to play, certainly, and it’s a little bit with Timmy Williams being hurt, and a little bit just how many snaps we had in the game,” Harbaugh said. “But yes, we’d like not to have him out there for 65 snaps. We’d like not to be out there for 65 snaps on defense, total.”

–DT Willie Henry played for the first time this season following hernia surgery. Henry played 39 snaps and finished with two tackles, including one for a loss. “He played great,” Harbaugh said. “I thought he played very well. I was really pleasantly surprised by how well he played. He had a good game, and we didn’t expect him to play that many snaps. It kind of just turned out that way. It looks like he’s back, and he didn’t miss stride.”

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