One of the Ravens' biggest problems against the Broncos was their failure to run the football. Despite the presence of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and a hard-running backup in Bernard Pierce, the Ravens ran the football just 21 times for 58 yards, for a 2.8-yard average. They abandoned the running game after halftime, rushing just five times for 3 yards. By not running the football more effectively and not grinding out long drives, the Ravens didn't allow the defense much time to rest. It could have provided a boost to a struggling passing game in which quarterback Joe Flacco is still getting acclimated to his new targets. The Ravens have all of the necessary tools to be an effective rushing offense, but now face a stout Browns defense headlined by middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland) and nose guard Phil Taylor. Rice has rushed for 922 yards and four touchdowns in his career against the Browns, also catching 30 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown. The Browns allowed just 20 rushing yards on 23 carries against the Dolphins, an 0.9-yard average, for the second fewest allowed in a game in franchise history.
Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun