Good NFL teams tend to impose their desired style of play on opponents. Think of Denver Broncos games, which always seem to click along to Peyton Manning's cadence. I don't know if the Ravens will become a good team or remain a mediocre one. But they're incredibly arrhythmic. How would an ideal version of this 2013 team play? You'd probably take the defense as is, hope to establish at least a minor-key running game early and then have Joe Flacco throw downfield off play actions. In reality, we've hardly seen that. Instead, the defense usually holds, and the offense responds with either an empty possession or, on occasion, a big play. The Ravens managed one real drive against the Packers. They threatened three other times, after a 45-yard pass to Dallas Clark in the second quarter, a 59-yard pass to Marlon Brown in the third quarter and a 63-yard pass to Tandon Doss in the fourth. Otherwise, Sam Koch punted nine times. This means the Ravens have been in games, as they were against Green Bay, but have rarely been in command. And it's awfully hard to say whether they¿re playing well at any given moment. To be fair, the 2012 team also played a feast-or-famine style, even during its playoff run. But this group is even more big play or bust. You never know what you're going to get in a given quarter, much less a whole game. Flacco said the Ravens are sabotaging themselves with poor play on first and second down. The Ravens ran often on first down against the Packers, to little effect. Flacco would like to see them attack more unpredictably. "We're kind of unsuccessful in a lot of other things we're doing because of that," he said of the first-down woes.
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun