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With a historic 12 touchdowns in 12 trips, red zone is Ravens' comfort zone

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes set another record Sunday. So did New Orleans Chiefs quarterback Drew Brees. But neither team’s explosive offense has managed what the Ravens did Sunday.

With touchdowns in their three drives inside the Denver Broncos’ 20-yard line, the Ravens became the first team in NFL history to score 12 in their first 12 trips to the red zone.

That’s one touchdown better than the Chiefs, who lead the league in scoring with almost 40 points per game.

No one would confuse the Ravens offense with Kansas City’s, but coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has merged an overhauled receiving corps with a healthy Joe Flacco to produce a potent attack.

Even with their running game still searching for a breakthrough, the Ravens are fifth in the NFL in scoring (32.3 points per game), 13th in yards per game (378.7), fourth in first downs per game (24.7) and sixth in third-down-conversion percentage (.457).

“You have to give the players credit,” coach John Harbaugh said after the 27-14 win Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. “Joe has done a great job — I think he has extended some plays. We’ve run the ball down there very well. It doesn’t always show up on the stats, but you have to be able to run the ball in the red zone. I think guys have made catches. Guys have made some really great catches. Without short-changing the players in any way, I thought some of the plays have been really brilliant.”

All but one of the Ravens’ touchdowns this season have come in the red zone, the exception being a 21-yard pass to John Brown in their Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens’ red-zone offense has been symmetrical, too, with six rushing touchdowns total by three players (Alex Collins, Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon) and six receiving touchdowns total by five players (Brown, Allen, Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead IV and Mark Andrews).

“We’ve had a good mix,” Flacco said. “If you can do both of those things, especially when you get down tight inside the 5-yard line … that helps a lot. It takes a lot of pressure off your offense. We’ve got good playmakers, and we put a lot of pressure on the defense with the guys that we have out there.”

jshaffer@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonas_shaffer

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