Saying the Ravens’ running attack has been bad this year is like saying Battlefield Earth was a bad movie or Small Wonder was a bad TV show. Calling it “bad” isn’t going nearly far enough.
With 573 yards on 206 carries, the Ravens are currently averaging 2.78 yards per carry, which is not just the worst mark in the NFL this year but the worst mark in the NFL in 60 years. According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, that’s the lowest yards per carry average of any NFL team since the 1953 Giants, who averaged 2.64 yards a carry. The Ravens will need a major turnaround to avoid being the first team since the 1994 Patriots to average less than three yards a carry for a season.
Heading into this season, most people would have said the Ravens had one of the better backfield situations in the league, with running back Ray Rice backed up by Bernard Pierce, and All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach opening holes for them and the strong-armed Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco forcing opposing defenses to respect the deep ball and not stack the line of scrimmage. But it hasn’t worked out that way. The Ravens’ offensive line has seriously struggled, and both Rice and Pierce have both had nagging injuries and are averaging 2.7 yards a carry.
Still, Rice said this week that he’s confident in Baltimore’s running game. Given the results so far this season, not many people share Rice’s confidence.