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John Harbaugh: “Fair” to question Ravens play calling

Ravens head coach Harbaugh shouts instructions while playing against the Eagles during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia Reuters

The Ravens heard a lot of praise for their offensive performance against the Bengals in Week One.

They aren’t hearing too much positivity about their work in Sunday’s 24-23 loss to the Eagles. The Ravens blew a pair of leads in the second half, leading some to wonder why they allowed running back Ray Rice to run the ball nine times in the second half while Joe Flacco was putting up 25 passes. Most notably, their final two offensive plays of the game were a third and fourth-and-one and the Ravens called passes both times. They fell incomplete and the Eagles just kneeled down to ice the win.

Coach John Harbaugh didn’t say he agreed with those who wondered about the balance, but he did say that it was fair to wonder if the Ravens did the right thing.

“We thought about running the ball, yeah, but we thought we had some good calls,” Harbaugh said after the game, via Robert Klemko of USA TODAY. “I think that’s fair. You could have called a draw or something there, but you know they were bringing some heat, and they were hugging the backs too. It would have been hit or miss. I think that’s a fair thing to talk about.”

That’s good news for Rice, who had 78 of his 99 rushing yards in the first half, because that’s just what he did in his own comments after the game.

“I am not the playcaller,” Rice said. “I just do what I’m asked to do when my name is called. There were sometimes that we were third-and-short and I would have loved to see our fullback get some more calls. We have a great fullback in Vonta Leach and he can get us first downs.”

Give the Eagles credit for doing their share to quiet the Ravens offense and all those who were hailing the dawn of a brave new world for the Ravens offense less than a week ago should take a deep breath and remember that one week of a 16-game season never tells the entire story.

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30 Responses to “John Harbaugh: “Fair” to question Ravens play calling”
  1. Brittany says: Sep 16, 2012 10:05 PM

    The best Eagles defender was Cam Cameron.

  2. fuzzynuts55 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:09 PM

    Oh boy time to start worrying Ravens fans.. In consistency always kills the revens. Poor coaching..

  3. raylewis52 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:12 PM

    This team always plays down to their competition on the road. Its irritating as a fan to watch.

  4. AOden says: Sep 16, 2012 10:13 PM

    It looked like Reid was calling plays for the Ravens. It’s 3rd and 1? Let’s throw it 40 yards

  5. jpk6044 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:25 PM

    Flacco was 5 of 28 (5 of 28!!!!!) in the second half….but go ahead and blame the refs, Joe.

  6. jacksaysfu says: Sep 16, 2012 10:28 PM

    People need to stop sleeping on the Eagles D . Both the Browns and Ravens started to question their Offense after facing Castillo’s squad . If Philly can cut down on penaltys & turnovers they are going to be DANGEROUS !!

  7. dontstabmeray says: Sep 16, 2012 10:33 PM

    It’s also fair to question Flacco’s assumption that he is a top tier quarterback. That guy stunk in the second half. Raven’s defense gave up almost 500 yards. Ray Lewis is a fossil.

  8. eaglelover1 says: Sep 16, 2012 10:39 PM

    If the Eagles had lost this game they would need a second screen to contain all the hate….

    2-0 and sitting ALONE atop the NFC East

  9. xmatt0926x says: Sep 16, 2012 10:45 PM

    Is that what it is now? A couple hours ago it was Flacco and old and overrated Ray Lewis blaming the refs. Does anyone credit the other team anymore?

  10. brenenostler says: Sep 16, 2012 11:35 PM

    Three teams I would not want to play right now are the Eagles, Chargers, and Jets (yes, really, the Jets). All these teams are really pretty good but had disappointing seasons last year (for their standards). These three teams are motivated, pissed off, fired up, and determined to not have another bad season.

    By the way, I think it’s funny how 8-8 is bad to these teams, but Oakland or Cleveland would consider it a successful year. Just saying.

  11. mightyjoe214 says: Sep 16, 2012 11:50 PM

    Leave it to Harbaugh, Flacco to start blaming everyone but themselves for losses. Get ready for another loss next week, Cry I mean ball so hard university.

    Steeler Nation!

  12. geniusfan says: Sep 16, 2012 11:53 PM

    Rice wasn’t doing nearly as well in the second half, Castillo made adjustments and they worked. He got stuffed quite a few times, in fact not much was working for the Ravens offense in the second half besides some dump offs to Ray Rice.

    And Demeco Ryans was the best defender for the Eagles not Cam Cameron. I know the Texans don’t need him but thank you Houston so much for this guy, the difference between Ryans and Casey Matthews is massive.

    Who would have thought that next week’s Eagles and Cardinals game would be a showdown between two of the three 2-0 teams left in the NFC it should be a good one.

  13. steelcurtainn says: Sep 17, 2012 12:02 AM

    The Ravens Suck….in all honesty….if they have to go on the road in the playoffs….They’ll never win the big one…..

  14. ampatsisahypocrite says: Sep 17, 2012 12:15 AM

    But wait? I thought Flacco was the “best quarterback in football” (according to himself at least) and I thought all the Ravens fans telling us how awesome he is actually meant something.

    Heck, after last week, Joe was the second coming of Marino or something, with that unstoppable no-huddle and that awesome corps of WRs.

    Well then, if that’s so true, why WOULDN’T you put the game in the great Flacco’s hands?

    I mean, you’re not telling me that all those other fans who’ve tried to tell you he’s mediocre, and would be nothing without Rice, are right, would you?

  15. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Sep 17, 2012 12:58 AM

    Flacco was asked a question and gave an honest answer. Not like he was crying? The eagles defensive backs were mugging, grabbing and holding the Ravens wideouts all game yet that took the winning TD away from them saying Jacoby Jones pushed off when he was being held? Bad call! Still though, Ravens had another chance to win it and blew it. Props to the eagles…

  16. ampatsisahypocrite says: Sep 17, 2012 2:27 AM

    Yeah, dude, and the Ravens were getting away with late-hitting and cheap-shotting Vick all game. So what’s your point?

  17. wesjelker83 says: Sep 17, 2012 2:38 AM

    The Ravens aren’t going to the playoffs this year. Enough said

  18. mungman69 says: Sep 17, 2012 2:43 AM

    Ray Lewis is a has been. Yes, he is tough but he can’t run anymore. See ya, Ray.

  19. walkinginthewasteland says: Sep 17, 2012 4:28 AM

    The Ravens have come to expect the ridiculous PI calls they got last year. Flacco chucks it up then waits for the flag. They didnt get those calls yesterday, and couldnt overcome that.

  20. oriolesvsravens says: Sep 17, 2012 5:44 AM

    Once they took Vontae Leach (essentially a 6th offensive lineman) and put Joe in the shotgun, the Ravens told the eagles, with 2 good cornes and good pass rushers, that you guys can’t hang with our passing attack. Then proceeded to turn the ball over, go 3 and out, and make questionable play calls. 10 Rushes for 95 yards Ravens 17 Eagles 7. This ain’t Brady’s or Brees’ pass first offense. There is a 1000 yards rusher and a pro bowl FB behind Joe. You don’t see them?

  21. theandy59 says: Sep 17, 2012 6:55 AM

    Ravens, Patriots, Cowboys, all losing in week 2 after impressive week 1 victories just reminds us how competitive the league is each and every week. Across the league, teams are learning as much about themselves as they are their opponents. Belichick has said in the past that you don’t really know what you have with your own team until about 6 weeks in to the season.

  22. dirtdawg54 says: Sep 17, 2012 7:19 AM

    Guess the Ravens still haven’t learned from the AFC championship game from last year. Oh well, at least they called their timeouts correctly.

    And Flacco can carp about the refs all he wants. They are calling an equally bad game for both sides. And yes, it’s bad. But other QBs not named Gabbert or Locker are finding ways to win and putting up good numbers. He certainly had nothing to say last week. Why start talking now?

  23. sudz28 says: Sep 17, 2012 7:25 AM

    I was amazed they didn’t just hand the ball to Rice in their last offensive drive. They only needed to go about 50 yards to get into FG range for their awesome new kicker, so I was sure they were going to pull out the win. Imagine my happy surprise to see their horrible play calling (again) cost them the game. Yeah, there were bad calls but there were bad calls all over the league yesterday, and the week before, but I didn’t see any crying from Ravens fans when they got the benefit the prior week.

  24. ianwetpantscom says: Sep 17, 2012 7:29 AM

    If I was a Ravens fan, your HC (Harbaugh) would be on the HOT seat, Cam is Cam won’t ever change, someone has to take the blame, but who?

  25. oldbyrd says: Sep 17, 2012 7:30 AM

    Eagles def. is awesome. If we are to go to the playoffs, Vic has to play better….period Everyweek he says the same thing and then makes the same mistakes.

  26. bleedgreen says: Sep 17, 2012 7:39 AM

    thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Sep 17, 2012 12:58 AM

    Flacco was asked a question and gave an honest answer. Not like he was crying? The eagles defensive backs were mugging, grabbing and holding the Ravens wideouts all game yet that took the winning TD away from them saying Jacoby Jones pushed off when he was being held? Bad call! Still though, Ravens had another chance to win it and blew it. Props to the eagles…
    ——————————-

    You’re forgetting that that play never should have happened. They were stopped on 3rd down AND were called for holding. Why Fat Andy accepted the penalty, I’ll have no idea. The end result was the same 3 points, but wow. Give a team another chance in the redzone… great idea Andy.

  27. ahostiletakeover says: Sep 17, 2012 7:44 AM

    That was an atrocious offensive pass interference call on that second Jacoby Jones TD, Asomugha was making all the contact and didn’t even turn around and play the ball. On top of that, the official who called the penalty didn’t even throw a flag but a blue beanie.

    No excuses though, bad fake punt call early in the game, the defense had zero answers for Celek, and Flacco overthrew Pitta and Rice badly on back to back plays to end the game when there was still a chance regardless of what the officials were doing

  28. stealersfannot says: Sep 17, 2012 8:11 AM

    I really wish that any complaints these guys have against the refs should be communicated to the league and not offered as the (or one of the) scapegoat(s) for a loss.

    It was a close game and very welldeserved win for the Eagles. Considering how pummeled Vick was, he still persevered and kept them in it.

    I do think it’s fair to question the last few play calls, but keep in mind that DeMeco Ryans was stuffing lil Ray consistently in the second quarter so there was no guarantee that running would work any better.

    Their defense steeled its spine while ours kept cedeing ground to Vick and Celek.

    Just some perspective here Ravens fans: the last time a team went undefeated and won a Super Bowl was decades ago. We lost to the Gabbert-led Jags last year and were still one catch shy of the Big Show. And if you’re gonna lose, make it a competetive loss where the other guys earn it, and you steal away with great game-tape to iron out your shortcomings for the long-haul.

  29. ivyleaf98 says: Sep 17, 2012 12:15 PM

    And I guess after week2, the Eagles are suddenly the dangerous team to beat. SUPER BOWL?!?!. Weeks from now, we’ll be talking about how terrible the Eagles are. Bipolar people

  30. macadamia2010 says: Sep 18, 2012 10:41 PM

    Pretty sure if one week doesn’t tell the whole story, two weeks doesn’t do it much better. Keep on hatin’ Ravens h8ers, it’s a long season and the Eagles squeaking out a 1-point victory in their home opener really doesn’t make me doubt my Ravens’ chances AT ALL, thanks.

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