Baltimore Ravens offer reminder of championship formula in Week 8 win

In the first half of the Baltimore Ravens’ Week 8 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, their offense had the distinct look of an offense trying to be something it isn’t.

For the past two quarters, the Ravens have gone back to what they do best, and the results have been emphatic.

The Ravens retired in the second half after an anemic first-half performance, earning a 27-22 win to move to 5-3.

It was a turnaround that seemed highly unlikely after the Ravens scored just three runs in the first two quarters, in which Baltimore only ran the ball nine times, an extremely small number for an offense that has succeeded primarily due to the diversity of its running game. in previous years.

The second half saw the Ravens return to that attacking identity, and their performance suggested they can be a legitimate threat to fight in the AFC if they stick to the proven approach that has worked for them. them.

Baltimore reduced the Buccaneers defense with the running game, stretching Tampa Bay horizontally to open up the middle, effectively using the sweeping throw and getting Lamar Jackson out of the pocket and throwing on the move in the passing game.

The Ravens rushed for 206 yards on 24 carries in the second half, while Jackson was eight of eight passing for 94 yards. Baltimore averaged 0.30 extra expected points on rushes against Tampa Bay, according to, compared to 0.02 EPA per game throwing the ball. Baltimore is second in the NFL in EPA rush per game for this season behind the Cleveland Browns.

It’s long been established that, generally, the passing game is far more effective than the running game, but the Ravens’ offense is at its best when it can manipulate defenses with its diverse running game and threat. zone reading and reading option.

Although Jackson’s considerable ability to throw the ball – he’s a better pocket passer than given credit – should be exploited where possible, a win over the Buccaneers more comfortable than the final score indicated should remind the Ravens that the way they played at Raymond James Stadium is their best formula for success.

Few NFL teams can control the clock and create explosive plays with the running game like the Ravens do. When they make the most of that ability and take advantage of an opponent’s offensive weaknesses, as their pass rush did against Tampa Bay, the Ravens — even in an AFC with two powerhouse teams in the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs – have a recipe for going deep in the playoffs.

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