According to pre-game reports, Ravens veterans met with John Harbaugh last week to ask for a return to the team's 2012 blocking schemes. If they made said adjustments, the results improved some but not a lot. This wasn't a matter of running into a classic Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers came in allowing more than four yards a carry, worse than the league average. No, the Ravens simply could not create space when they needed to run most. As they drove near the end of the first quarter, Bernard Pierce was stymied on third down and short, despite running behind fullback Vonta Leach and six linemen. On third and one on a vital fourth-quarter drive, two Pittsburgh defenders stonewalled Leach without a Ravens blocker immediately in sight. It's an old story now; the 2013 Ravens are one of the NFL¿s most stuffed teams, according to numbers kept by the analytics web site Football Outsiders. Ray Rice's difficult season continues, with the perennial Pro-Bowl pick still hovering below three yards a carry and playing a diminished role in the receiving game. His blockers deserve some of the blame, but it's also hard to believe Rice is close to fully healthy. We've simply never seen him bottled up for this long. The Ravens did find some success when they threw on first down and ran on second. After the Green Bay loss, Flacco talked about becoming more unpredictable on first down. Perhaps he had a point. What remains troubling is that the Ravens know they have a problem but have demonstrated no clear ability to solve it.
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