Baltimore Ravens FB denounces errors in AFC championship

All season long, the Baltimore Ravens honed their offensive identity as a run-first team that would wear down opposing defenses on the ground. They ran the ball on a higher percentage of plays than any other team, and it worked tremendously well as they finished with the best record in the NFL at 13-4.

However, in their biggest game of the season, the Ravens moved away from the identity that worked so well for them all year. Baltimore had just 16 rushing attempts in the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and half of those attempts came from quarterback Lamar Jackson. That left just three attempts each for running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, as well as two for receiver Zay Flowers.

Unsurprisingly, trying to play a completely different style ended up not working out for the Ravens as they lost 17-10 in excruciating fashion.

Months later, it’s very clear what went wrong in that game, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. During a recent appearance on the “Green Light” podcast with former NFL player Chris Long, Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard recalled what went wrong that day.

“We only ran the ball six times at running back and had a couple of positive runs. I think the general public would agree that, let’s do what got us to that point: we run the ball, we control the clock and we also have our game air, obviously, to complement everything,” said Ricard. “But I think once you become one-dimensional, it’s hard.

“To be honest, I didn’t even realize after the game how little we ran the ball. I thought we ran it a little bit here and there. If you look back, we definitely probably should have, but that’s out of my control, Coaches do it.”

Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken had a very solid first season in Baltimore, but his decision-making in this game remains a headache for many, including himself.

At the very least, it appears the Ravens have learned from this mistake and will stick more to that identity this season. With a forceful running back named Derrick Henry now in the fold, Baltimore’s running game could be even tougher to stop this fall.

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