Through the first six games of the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens offense has struggled mightily to get off to fast starts. They have scored only 10 points this whole season in the first quarter. They average only 52 total yards in the first quarter, and haven’t scored a first quarter touchdown since week one against the Broncos. They have gone three and out nine times in the first quarter this season as well.
The offense knows that these slow starts are hurting the team and are hoping to address those issues this week against the Steelers. Coach John Harbaugh has put an emphasis this week on working harder and faster in practice, in hopes of seeing a better start from his offense. And the rest of the offense feels the same way as well. All-Pro guard Marshall Yanda said, “It seems like every time we go in at half, we’re not happy at all. So, we need to get going faster. … It’s a dogfight out there. We have to fight tooth and nail every single play and we’ve got to fight every single snap. It’s tough. Like I said, we’re not where we want to be. We want to be putting more points on the board.”
The issue is very clear to this offense, and now it is time for them to go out there and execute. They cannot wait until the second half to start scoring points. This team is starting to look like the old Ravens, where the defense kept them in games and it was up to the offense to score around 17 to 20 points to win games. In this day in age where offenses are harder to stop with these new spread schemes and the new rules that protect offensive players, this offense has to be able to put up more than 20 points. This defense won’t be able to keep them in every game, nor should it be expected of them. That was evident in Denver when Peyton Manning threw all over them.
Ultimately, these problems can be solved if the team can improve their rushing attack. If that can happen, then the team won’t be stuck in second and nine or third and long situations, where teams are able to bring pressure and the offense is unable to convert. The lack of production on early downs is why the offense has had trouble converting third downs. Jim Caldwell was able to turn this offense around late last year and help lead them to a Super Bowl title, and now he needs to work his magic again.