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Monday, September 30, 2013
Upon Further Review: Ravens Week 4

By Jamison Hensley

An examination of four hot issues from the Baltimore Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills:

Beating yourself: The Ravens ran the ball nine times, the fewest rush attempts in the team's 18-year history. It was three fewer attempts than any other game in their existence. Abandoning the running game spelled the Ravens' doom. Since the start of 2008, teams that don't rush on more than 20 percent of their plays are a combined 1-56, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That's right -- a record of 1-56. The Ravens weren't even close to that. Baltimore ran the ball on 14 percent of its plays for the game and only six percent in the second half. To put this in perspective, quarterback Joe Flacco threw as many interceptions (five) as running back Ray Rice had carries.

Joe Flacco
The five interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco in the loss against Buffalo were a Ravens record.
Record to forget: Flacco threw a career-worst five interceptions, which were also the most in a single game in Ravens history. This is the same quarterback who wasn't picked off in his final six games last season, a streak of 195 passes. Now, Flacco has seven interceptions in 169 passes in 2013. That's an average of one every 24 passes. Where Flacco struggled the most was on the shorter passes. His four interceptions on passes thrown less than 15 yards downfield is the most in a game by any quarterback since Matt Ryan threw five in Week 11 of last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Flacco just isn't the same quarterback away from Baltimore. He has thrown three or more interceptions five times, all of which have come on the road. Not surprisingly, the Ravens are 0-5 in those games.

Run-down defense: The Ravens' improved run defense took a step backward in Buffalo. Baltimore, which hadn't given up more than 94 yards on the ground in its first three games, allowed 116 yards in the first half to the Bills. It wasn't dreadful when you consider the Bills only averaged 3.7 yards per carry and didn't break a run of more than 16 yards. But it's hard to downplay the fact that the Ravens allowed 203 yards rushing. The Ravens had only allowed 224 yards rushing in their first three games. This is the third time in the past 16 regular-season games that the Ravens have given up more than 200 yards rushing.

Wrong side of history: The Ravens became the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose to a rookie quarterback in the month of September, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But it wasn't like EJ Manuel really beat the Ravens. He posted a 9.8 Total QBR, which was actually worse than Flacco's (14.5). Manuel completed 10 passes and was picked off twice. This continues a strange trend for the Ravens. Look at the QBR for the two other rookie starting quarterbacks who have beaten the Ravens in the John Harbaugh era: Robert Griffin III (53.0) and Blaine Gabbert (4.5). Not exactly Peyton Manning-type numbers. The Ravens fell to 5-3 against rookie quarterbacks under Harbaugh.