The Ravens’ offensive output in Saturday night’s season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills once again sparked questions about the state — and future — of the unit.
After the 17-3 defeat in the divisional round, which tied a franchise low for points scored in a postseason game, former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. criticized offensive coordinator Greg Roman for a passing game that he called “not complex.”
“I just believe Greg Roman is a fantastic coordinator; however, that fantastic coordinator needs to start looking for a job somewhere else because I believe that his time has expired on this offense here,” Smith, who played two seasons in Baltimore from 2014 to 2016, said on NFL Network after the game.
“If you want Lamar Jackson to continue to be a stellar quarterback, an MVP type of quarterback, you have to implement a second notch or a third level of the passing game that makes it a little bit more complicated. Because it’s not very complicated and my 6-year-old who’s asleep right now can probably run this offense as well.”
The Ravens led the league in rushing for the second consecutive season but ranked last in the NFL in passing yards per game. After ranking first in pass offense efficiency by Football Outsiders in 2019, the Ravens dropped to 17th in 2020.
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Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown said Sunday that the offense needed to find “balance” going forward. Brown, who led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, tweeted his frustration with his lack of involvement in the offense after a Week 8 game in which he was targeted twice and recorded just one catch.
“Whenever you’re the No. 1 rushing [offense] and the 30-something passing [offense], that’s not right. That’s not balanced,” Brown said. “We’ve got to find a way to balance our game, even with our great rushing attack. We’ve got to be able to throw the ball, move the ball through the air. And that’s something that we’re going to continue to work on and continue to implement into the offense more.”
Jackson completed 14 of 24 passes for 162 yards and one interception, which was returned 101 yards for a momentum-swinging pick-six, before exiting the game after suffering a concussion as the third quarter concluded.
The Ravens were able to move the ball — five of the team’s 10 drives ended inside the Buffalo 25 — but Jackson struggled to complete passes against a Bills defense that elected to play zone coverage for the majority of the game.
Smith’s comments are not new for Roman, who has faced questions in his previous jobs about the longevity of his offensive schemes. Fullback Patrick Ricard, when asked about criticism targeted toward Roman, said any misgivings can’t be solely based on one game.
“You’ve got to look at the body of work that he’s put in all year,” Ricard said. “We’ve had multiple injuries on our offensive line. We’ve had players have COVID and still competing with guys out. The players that are there, he makes the most of them and molds an offense around those guys and tries to make the most of it and have a great game plan. …
“You can’t let one game, regardless of what happens, critique who you are. It has to be the whole season. … G-Ro is my guy. I wouldn’t be here without him. I wouldn’t be in the position I am without him. I think he’s a phenomenal coach and hopefully he’s my coach for a long time.”