Sunday, November 14, 2010

End Zone is Dead Zone for Ravens in the 1st Quarter

It's no secret that Joe Flacco is a slow starter and the recent Thursday night game against the Falcons certainly was no different for the Ravens' signal caller. The slow starts are even more pronounced on the road.

Flacco is a rhythmic quarterback and his calm, stoic and sometimes numb demeanor seems to benefit from a more fast paced offensive approach. He looks far more comfortable in the shotgun operating out of a no huddle attack.

Now the Ravens and Flacco defenders might tell you that running the no huddle on the road is a difficult task, particularly in a dome. And while I might agree to a certain extent with that thinking I do believe that it can be done given the proper timing.

Think about this...

Flacco connects with Anquan Boldin for a gain of 15 on third down and the Ravens move the sticks. The first down temporarily aims the mute button at the hometown crowd. The entire offense runs up to the line of scrimmage and then they begin their no huddle attack. The defense is on its heels as is the crowd. Flacco can then begin to find that rhythm and approach his success at M&T Bank Stadium.

Let's face it, Flacco, Cameron and the Ravens need to try something because what they've done during the Flacco Era on the road just isn't cutting it.

Consider this...

* In Flacco's 21 regular season road games the Ravens have scored 56 points in total during the first quarter for an average of 2.67 points

* The Ravens have been shut out in the first quarter in 10 of Flacco's 21 road games and in 8 of the last 11

* During the last 11 road games Cameron's offense has produced a TOTAL of 13 points, 1.18/game

Conversely at home the numbers while not prolific they are certainly better...

* In Flacco's 20 regular season home games the Ravens have scored 106 points in total during the first quarter for an average of 5.3 points

* The Ravens have been shut out in the first quarter in 4 of those 20 home games and only once in the last 13

* Over the past 12 home games the Ravens have averaged 6.4 points in the first quarter

Clearly something has to be done to jump start the offense on the road early in games. Come out firing on all cylinders in a no huddle. Forget about the hometown crowd and those challenges. Seems to me when the fans in the Georgia Dome were at their loudest the Ravens' offense was actually more effective and they helped keep a defense struggling to win on third down off the field.

So come out firing Cam!

What have you to lose?

I mean it can't get much worse than 1.18 points on average in the first quarter, can it?


Jerry B said...

Thanks to the "Red Zone", I'm watching a lot of football on Sundays and one thing appears to be the "norm" now....secondaries are being "torched" by accurate QBs because it has become nearly impossible to play pass defense without incurring an interference penalty! So, you're right in arguing for the Ravens to come out smoking because they have an accurate QB with weapons at his disposal and "pass friendly" rules. Of course, protecting the QB is the key to success, but with so many teams resorting to flooding the secondary in attempts to defend the pass, the Ravens offensive line must play better than they did in Atlanta. One final comment, because it's become so difficult to defend against the pass, teams will fare much better in "man coverage" with an all out assault on the QB at least until the league rules such tactics as......excessive!

Einstein said...

OMG! Is that enough evidence for you Cam to do something about this. Don't they define an idiot as someone who does the same thing over and over expecting different results?

btownraven said...

Great analysis Tony. One thing I'd be interested in is how the defense fares on the road, particularly on 3rd down. One of the reasons the offense struggled early in Atlanta was that the defense couldn't get off the field. It also seems that the offense tries to establish the run early on the road while they come out in attack mode at home.

One last thing - Joe is really starting to prove that he can move the ball on the road late in the game (when crowd noise is at its worst). The comebacks the past two years in NE ('09), Minn (dome), Pitt, and Atlanta (dome) attest that the offense can deal with crowd noise. So let's come out in attack mode!

Rocket Scientist said...

@ Einstein

I hear you but that isn't the definition of an idiot. That is the definition of insanity. But I agree nonetheless.

You know sometimes I think these coaches need to stop overthinking this. Let Joe play ball!

Jerry B said...

Flacco has proven that he can score when he has to, which begs the question, why do they wait until they.....have to?! They need to do what the Jets did with Sanchez after the opening loss to the Ravens........get the hell out of his way and let him play the position! It's worked pretty well for the Jets.........

Anonymous said...

I'd say your reaching a little bit here. Its called home field advantage for a reason. And to be honest, I dont know how bad that is. I'd like to see those numbers compared to the rest of the league. Because the Ravens certainly dont give up a ton of 1st quarter points at M&T Bank Stadium.

Phil from Frostburg said...

Well, they did score 24 pts in the first quarter of the NE playoff game last year, but I agree the evidence is otherwise damning. You can't just putz around aimlessly for half the game and expect to get it in gear late on a consistent basis. I do think they have tried a variety of opening attack schemes, from heavy rush to heavy pass to a balanced approach. One thing we haven't seen is the no-huddle, so I'm with you that this should be next up. Against a bad Carolina team that shouldn't have a loud crowd. this week is the perfect time to test the theory.

Tony Lombardi said...

@ Anonymous...Fair point as to how the Ravens compare to other teams on the road in Q1. I didn't feel like going through all 31 teams besides the Ravens so instead I chose those teams like the Ravens, that made the playoffs in '09 AND have a winning record in 2010.

The following teams fit that category with the corresponding total number of points scored in the first quarter on the road during their last 11 regular season road games along with (average/game/Q1/Road):

Eagles: 97 (8.8)
Packers: 69 (6.3)
Patriots: 59 (5.4)
Colts: 55 (5.0)
Saints: 53 (4.8)
Jets: 40 (3.6)
Ravens: 13 (1.2)

Tony Lombardi said...

Oh and for Sh*ts & Giggles I looked at 2009's worst offense by far (St. Louis Rams scoring 175 points v. Ravens 391) and they have posted 16 points over the last 11 road games.


Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Nov 19th
...Tony great analysis in response to ANONYMOUS requesting the Stats and those of comparable teams.
.. I along with all other RAVENS fans want Cam to take the WRAPS off of JOE and Let him Air it out. I remember Dan Fouts of the Chargers, who would come out Firing to Charlie Joyner and others and establish a big lead; And then Throw some more. COME ON MAN! People are paying $80 bucks a game to sit in NOSE BLEED Seats..not to watch mc Clain and Rice run the ball up the middle!
..One only has to review the tapes of the last 2 New England game victories to see how BRADY won those games: Answer the FORWARD PASS!

Harryos29 said...

Harry OS 29 Nov 21st
I think the Ravens proved today with the long pass to TJ H in todays win (37-13 ) over the Panthers...the Ravens like to Score from LONG DISTANCE. UGLY Game today, but a win is a win!