Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has not rumbled into the second or third level often this season, but it seems that whenever he has, he has often been dragged down by the first defender he encounters. His inability to force missed tackles is symptomatic of the entire Ravens offense, whose playmakers usually haven't been able to wiggle free whenever they have met resistance this season.
A week after Ray Rice rushed for a season-high 131 yards in an overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, the star running back found himself in a timeshare with backup running back Bernard Pierce in Sunday's 19-3 win over the New York Jets.
The Ravens have fallen to 23rd in the NFL in turnover margin, a minus-5 total differential on seven interceptions and six fumble recoveries for 13 total turnovers produced and 13 interceptions from quarterback Joe Flacco and five lost fumbles as a team for a total of 18 turnovers overall.
The Ravens were without the services of Haloti Ngata during Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears. With Ngata sidelined, Terrence Cody got his first start of the 2013 season at nose tackle, played a season-high 35 defensive snaps and made one tackle.
As NFL games ebb and flow, they are usually decided by a handful of plays. For the winning team, they are joyfully relived in the locker room after the game. For the losers, those plays linger in their heads beyond the 24-hour rule. This season, the Ravens have been on the losing end more than they are accustomed to.
Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones has now played four games since returning from a knee injury last month, but the veteran wide receiver has yet to overtake rookie Marlon Brown on the depth chart based on their playing time.
On the Ravens' first running play in Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns, their offensive linemen fired off the line of scrimmage and rolled left in unison, as if they were tied together with string.
Baltimore Ravens fullback Vonta Leach played a season-low two offensive snaps, inside linebacker Jameel McClain took on a larger role and more playing time observations from Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Looking at which Baltimore Ravens got a lot of playing time and which Ravens rode the pine in the first seven games of the 2013 season. Only five players, including middle linebacker Daryl Smith, have played every snap.
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta is eligible to come off the injured reserve with a designation to return list next week although that never was a realistic expectation for his return from a dislocated right hip.
After being sidelined for more than 10 months with a spinal cord injury, Ravens weak-side linebacker Jameel McClain returned to the field Sunday. And he didn't just play. McClain started and played a major role in the 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Ravens once again created little running room for their running backs, a troubling trend that could prompt the coaching staff to make schematic changes.
Jones displayed speed and elusiveness during the Ravens' 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass and recorded a 31-yard reception on the other pass thrown to him.
The Ravens' offense was flagged for four false starts against the Packers on Sunday, including offensive guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele committing the infraction on consecutive plays in the third quarter.
One positive development from Sunday's 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers was the return of injured wide receiver Jacoby Jones, who returned kickoffs and made an 11-yard touchdown reception. The Ravens limited his usage, though. Jones played just 17 offensive snaps and six snaps on special teams. More on that and other snap count observations.
The Ravens' recommitment to the running game during Sunday's 26-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins wasn¿t reflected in their 3.3 yards-per-carry average. But other numbers tell the story, starting with their 40 rushing attempts. The Ravens still have plenty of work left to do to get their running game to where it needs to be, but a week after giving up on it altogether, they relied on it to escape from Miami with a win.