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Ravens

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Ravens 31, Bengals 24

5. Here is one more reason why the Ravens have to figure out ways to run the ball: Flacco can be deadly when you roll him out. Everyone talked so much this past week about Cameron not running the ball enough, it feels there isn't a lot of new ground to cover on that topic anymore. It should be obvious by now that the Ravens can't survive on throwing the ball alone, even if Flacco feels most comfortable in the shotgun. I actually do think the Ravens had a decent point to make about the game against the Seahawks. Yes, Rice got only five carries, but at least the Ravens were moving the ball through the air. They missed on some plays, but they made some plays too. I don't agree with the imbalance, but I think what happened against Jacksonville was much more foolish than what happened against Seattle. In the game against the Jaguars, Cameron kept calling passes, and passes weren't working. So he called more passes. It was hard to explain. But you could see on Sunday why Cameron simply has to keep feeding Rice, even if the offensive line isn't opening holes. If you don't run the ball, you can't run play-action fakes that anyone will take seriously. And when teams bite on play action, even just a little bit, Flacco can have time to roll out. And when you let him roll out and set his feet, he can rip up a defense. His touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin was a perfect example. Flacco faked to Rice, then rolled to his right. Boldin, who lined up on the left side of the line and ran a drag across the middle, was wide open the entire play. I couldn't believe Flacco didn't get him the ball right away, and as defenders closed in, I was about to chalk it up as another bad read against the Bengals defense. That's when I realized Flacco was waiting for Boldin to work open again by running away from from the coverage. Flacco planted his feet, fired the ball across his body, and when Boldin spun around, there was no one between him and the end zone. Had Flacco hit Boldin right away, it would have been 10-yard gain. Because he was able to roll out and buy a little more time, it turned into a 38-yard touchdown. It was a little funny to hear Flacco answer questions after the game. It obviously it bugs him a bit that so many Ravens fans want to focus on running the ball, but to be honest, I'm glad it bugs him. That's the way quarterbacks should be wired. I don't think he's ready to consistently carry the Ravens offense, but I do think he should continue to believe he can. "I don't want to beat on everybody, but we moved the ball throwing the ball with big plays today," Flacco said. "I keep saying it, and people don't want to listen, but last week [against Seattle] the game had to be like that. I'm not saying we were definitely going to win the football game that way, but when you look at it, that's what was giving us the best shot at winning. And that's what we're going to do around here. We're going to do whatever it might be to win games. Obviously when you don't turn the ball over and you're able to run your game plan, things are going to be a little bit different than they were [against Seattle]." Got a rant or a rip you want to share? kvanvalkenburg@baltsun.com or @KVanValkenburg Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron
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