REALITY: The Baltimore Ravens released Justin Forsett again, with no intent to re-sign him this time.
— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) October 4, 2016
Perception: The Ravens ground game was non-existent leading into Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, and that’s why Head Coach John Harbaugh decided to make Forsett inactive and instead went with Terrance West and Javorius (Buck) Allen to try to jump-start the running attack.
It worked. West went off for 113 yards and a TD on 21 carries.
With injuries and other roster shuffles, including the return of 4th-round pick Kenneth Dixon, the Ravens were going to need to make some hard choices. Dixon played so well in the preseason that the media and fans were already asking if he might be the starter. But he suffered an injury that pushed back his opportunity for a month. But now that he looks ready to return, the Ravens can get younger, faster, and cheaper at the running back position.
I expect that West will continue to carry the load against the Washington Redskins this Sunday, but that we’ll begin to see Dixon worked into the game plan.
Everyone who has met Forsett or even had just a hand-shake with him all agree that he is among the classiest men they have ever met. His presence will be missed in the locker room for sure, but it’s a move that might be best for the Ravens – and for Forsett too.
REALITY: The Ravens offense failed to go downfield at all last Sunday against the Raiders.
Dink and Dunk offense for #Ravens
— Joe Polek (@JoePolek) October 2, 2016
Perception: A couple times in the first few games we saw a glimpse of a big-time passing attack with Mike Wallace going deep for Joe Flacco. But it hasn’t continued. In fact, the Ravens are 30th in the NFL in passing yards per attempt with just 6.3. They have also thrown the second-most passes under five yards.
WHAT? Joe Flacco is known around the league as having one of the strongest arms in the NFL… but yet the Ravens offense is drink-and-dunk. Most of the 3rd and 4th quarter this past Sunday, you saw Flacco just dump it off for a couple yard pass and hope the receiver would run for something.
You can say that defenses are not giving Flacco an opportunity to get downfield. But then that is on the receivers. They need to do a better job of creating separation and getting open. Matt Ryan’s receivers are doing that. Ben Roethlisberger’s are doing that. Even Carson Wentz’s receivers are doing that.
Flacco again sounded frustrated Ravens couldn't or wouldn't take more deep shots downfield. #RavensTalk
— Bo Smolka (@bsmolka) October 2, 2016
Flacco said it himself after Sunday’s loss: “We just make it so tough on ourselves. We throw the ball 50 times and we only have 300 yards. You know, we have to move the ball down the field so methodically.”
The Ravens will HAVE to find a way to get the ball downfield. That will help the offense in the passing game, and it will also help the running game.
REALITY: The Ravens host the Washington Redskins Sunday.
Perception: It’s the football version of the “Battle of the Beltway.”
Side note: I was hoping to be at the game Sunday, as I had bought a ticket to Sunday Night’s Game 3 of the ALDS and planned to drive from SC to MD for a Baltimore sports double-header this weekend. But Tuesday night’s depressing Orioles loss changed all that.
The Ravens and the Redskins are known more for battling in the Preseason then they are in the Regular Season. The Ravens lead both All-Time series… going 6-3 in the Preseason and 3-2 in the Regular season match-ups.
These two teams last played in the Regular Season in 2012 in DC… a game in with the Redskins won in Overtime.
Even after facing a high-power Raiders offense last week, the Ravens have the league’s top-ranked defense, giving up the least number of yards per game. They ranked 3rd in passing yards per game and 5th in rushing yards per game.
Last week, the Ravens offense couldn’t keep up with the Raiders offense, so can they keep up with the Redskins offense this week, that has scored 60 points in the last two games? Once again, it’s going to be a big time passing offense that the defense will have to stop. Kirk Cousins, who has struggled at times this season, has thrown for nearly 500 yards in the last two weeks.
And it won’t be easy for Flacco to go deep with Josh Norman roaming the secondary for Washington.
This game could very much go just like last week. I actually felt better about last week’s chances then I do about this week’s. But if Baltimore wants to have a chance to be above .500 this season, this is a game they have to win, and I think they find a way to do just that.
Ravens win 35-31.