Ravens’ game plan on offense in the rain shocked Bills

Considering how the rain that soaked Baltimore hardly let up during the regular-season opener between the Ravens and Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Buffalo assumed that the Ravens would rely heavily on running backs Alex Collins, Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon.

Those three backs combined for 24 carries, but the offense leaned on the right arm of quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw the football 34 times in the 47-3 rout.

At least one Bills player admitted that he was stunned by the Ravens’ offensive game plan.

“We thought they were going to try and run the ball more than they did, especially with the weather conditions,” defensive end Trent Murphy said. “That was the biggest surprise. The weather conditions are one of those factors you really can’t control. So we really can’t focus on things we can control like penalties, ball security. Things like that you can control. So we let that one get away from us.”

The only other game affected by rain featured running backs with a high number of attempts. The Pittsburgh SteelersJames Conner finished with 31 rushes, while the Cleveland BrownsCarlos Hyde had 22 carries. Then again, Ben Roethlisberger and Tyrod Taylor dropped back 41 and 40 times, respectively.

Flacco said the offense was intent on sticking with its original strategy as crafted by offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg against Buffalo.

“We didn’t change the game plan at all because of the weather,” he said. “That’s not really Marty’s nature, and it’s not necessarily mine either. When I go out there and start playing, you’re not really thinking about the weather. You’re just thinking of executing the play, letting your arm and everything else take care of it.”

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree said he appreciated Mornhinweg’s refusal to budge.

“It was raining, [and] we still threw the ball,” he said. “We didn’t just run the ball. We did everything we wanted to do. I think that goes to show all the hard work we’ve been doing at practice.”

Flacco admitted that the rain was influencing the ball’s flight path during pregame warmups.

“I told Marty going with it to the one sideline either direction is pretty good, but throwing into it, I am not sure what the ball is going to look like,” he said. “During the game it wasn’t too bad. It was wet at times, for sure. When you fell on the grass, that was kind of a mess, but the field was unbelievable. There were no footing issues or anything like that, and at the end of the day, I think the conditions didn’t end up being too bad. We got lucky.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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