Gambling didn't pay off for John Harbaugh and the Ravens


Didn't Harbaugh learn his lesson a week ago in a similar situation when Flacco got the ball knocked out of his hands and returned for a touchdown on third –and-22 from the Ravens 8 against Miami?

You can gamble if you have the percentages, but they aren't in the Ravens' favor anymore, not with this offensive line. Before Sunday's game, Flacco had been sacked 19 times and hurried numerous others. He was sacked five more times by the Packers.

The Ravens can't run block and they can't pass protect. That makes for tough odds.

Instead of throwing at the half, Harbaugh should have ordered Flacco to take a knee and go to the locker room where he should have scolded his team for another poor first half performance.

Instead, the Ravens were down 6-0.

"I think the philosophy is basically to attack, yes," Harbaugh said. "You try to do it within reason. We're never going to be reckless in what we do. If you look closely at the NFL percentages, those are not reckless decisions, by any stretch. Those are good decisions that, most of the time, are going to pay off for you. They didn't pay off, it's disappointing, but we should keep chasing that."

"We don't want to be the kind of team that's going to play nervous, not give our guys a chance, an opportunity, to do things and make plays," he said. "We just don't want to play it like that. We're going to be an attacking, aggressive type of group. It's been good to us up until this point, so let's build our team into that. We think we can get there. We've got the right guys to do it."

No, they don't, especially on the offensive line. Good coaches can maintain their philosophy, but they make adjustments. You can gamble with Aaron Rodgers because he carries the Packers offense. He can improvise and make plays with an average offensive line.

You can gamble some with Flacco, but he can't improvise like Rodgers. That's why the Ravens can't turn down points. That's why they can't throw the ball 31 straight times.

If this offense is a work in progress as Harbaugh says, then so is his philosophy. On offense, they can't afford to take points off the board in close games against good teams.

Maybe later, but not now.

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