Different season, same story with Ravens' confusing play-calling

PHILADELPHIA

— Here they go again.

The greatest fear about this new, no-huddle offense returned in the Ravens 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday .

I thought the Ravens were past this stage about questionable play calling. The Ravens had a new quarterback coach in Jim Caldwell. Quarterback Joe Flacco was playing well. Star running back Ray Rice wasn't complaining about his share of touches and the new offense was humming.

And then came Sunday ...

Oh my, we're still looking for Rice.

Did he have a cold or virus? The entire offense was a no-show in the second half against Philadelphia, and when that happens, the Ravens should go back to old reliable.

It should have been Rice time.

After Sunday's loss, fingers could be pointed at Flacco's poor second half performance to the ineptness of the officials to a Ravens defense which allowed 486 yards of total offense.

But it was the offensive play calling that was the most disappointing, especially on the Ravens' last series. Trailing 24-23 and faced with third-and-1 at their own 46 with 57 seconds and two timeouts remaining, Flacco overthrew tight end Dennis Pitta in the left flat..

On the next play, Flacco overthrew Rice in the right flat. Game over.

At that point, you'd figure the Ravens would have pounded Rice for a yard, gotten the first down and called a timeout to allow the team to regroup either on third or fourth down.

It just made so much sense because at that point Flacco was cold and the Eagles were mugging the receivers. Plus, another 20 yards, and the Ravens would have been in the range of rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who had already converted field goals of 56, 51 and 48 yards.

"We ran the ball a lot in the second half, the last two plays of the game, ummm, we thought about running the ball yeah, but we thought we had some good calls. I think that's fair," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in questioning the play selection."You could have called a draw or something there, but you know they were bringing some heat and they were hugging the backs too, you know I mean, it was man coverage, so it would have been hit or miss.

"We tried some draws, we tried some traps and even some passing situations, some second and longs and we really weren't hitting that stuff either."

Rice said: "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."

Ok, give it to Rice, Leach, whatever, just run the ball and get a first down. We don't know who to blame anymore with the play calling. Flacco said those plays were sent in from the sidelines (offensive coordinator Cam Cameron), but with this no-huddle offense Flacco is supposed to have the liberty to change the play.

Somebody should have called them off.

"Yeah, we had them sent in and we just didn't execute them," Flacco said.

But those two plays were just the end of a dismal performance in the last two quarters. Going into the half, the Ravens were leading 17-7, and everything was working well.

Flacco was 14 of 17 for 92 yards in passing and Rice had rushed seven times for 78 yards including one run of 43. At times, Rice made Philadelphia look as if the Eagles didn't have a middle linebacker.

 
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