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Ravens offense takes aggressive approach on fourth down during preseason

The Ravens took an aggressive approach on offense during their preseason win over the Washington Redskins on Saturday night, going for it on fourth down four times.

That strategy -- spurred by the team wanting to get in as much situational work as possible during games that don't count -- backfired for the first-team offense.

Running back Bernard Pierce was tackled for a loss on 4th-and-1 during the opening drive by Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather whose high tackle knocked Pierce out of the game with concussion symptoms.

Later in the first quarter, rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was tackled for no gain on 4th-and-1 at the Redskins' 11-yard line.

Despite the lack of results, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco liked the way the Ravens were operating.

"There's no doubt about it," Flacco said. "When you're an offensive guy and you're on the field, you want to stay out there. You want to score points for your team. And going for it on fourth down in those situations is giving you the opportunity to do that. That's all you can ask for as a quarterback."

The Ravens converted their next two fourth down attempts against the Redskins, as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran for a pair of first downs in the fourth quarter.

"It's definitely an easier decision in preseason, without question," coach John Harbaugh said. "The numbers and percentages, we look at all that stuff. It pretty much says, 'Go for it.' It's pretty overwhelming a lot of times. As a coach, you've got to make a gut decision on how you feel about it.

"We've gone for it a lot over the years. I think if you look at the track record, we're pretty aggressive on fourth down. So, we like to do that and we like to have confidence in our guys being able to get there."

awilson@baltsun.com
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