- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it's fair to question the play-calling. Actually, it would be hard not to do it.
The Ravens had five situations in the second half when they needed one or two yards to convert a third or fourth down. Every time, they threw the ball instead of handing it off to running back Ray Rice. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco threw four incompletions and one interception.
The most debated decision was passing late on the final drive. Needing one yard for a first down, Flacco threw an incompletion to Dennis Pitta on third down and threw too high to Rice on fourth down. There was less than a minute remaining in the game, but the Ravens had two timeouts that they never did use.
"You could have called a draw or something there, but you know they were bringing some heat, and they were hugging the backs, too," Harbaugh said after the game. "You know what I mean … it was man coverage, so it would have been hit or miss. We tried some draws, we tried some traps, and even some passing situations, some second-and-longs, and we really weren't hitting that stuff either, so I think that's a fair thing to talk about."
Much of the blame will be placed on offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. But it's unknown whether Cameron called those plays or Flacco decided to check out of them at the line. Either way, in critical situations, the Ravens need to give the ball to the running back that they just gave $24 million guaranteed over the next five seasons.
“I am not the playcaller,” Rice said. “I just do what I’m asked to do when my name is called. There were some times that we were third-and-short and I would have loved to see our fullback get some more calls. We have a great fullback in Vonta Leach and he can get us first downs.”
STAT THAT STICKS: 1 -- Completion by Joe Flacco on seven attempts covering at least 15 yards downfield in the second half. It was a different story in the first half, when Flacco was 2 of 3 with a 21-yard touchdown pass on those throws.
OVERHEARD: "They play dirty. They take shots after the play, a lot of dirty stuff after plays. We weren't going to back down. We weren't going to take that. Anytime someone thinks they're a bully, you got to step up or they'll keep doing it." Leach on the Eagles.
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Ravens (1-1) face the New England Patriots (1-1) in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game. This time, however, the game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, where Baltimore has won 12 straight.