Sunday, October 14, 2012
Halftime adjustments: Ravens 17, Cowboys 10
By Calvin Watkins
BALTIMORE -- We're done with one half of play at M&T Bank Stadium and the Cowboys trail the Ravens, 17-10.
Here are some things that need to change in the second half.
* Continue to run the football. That's not a change but coach Jason Garrett gets heat from the media and fans for not running the ball enough. The Cowboys ran the ball on 13 of their first 19 plays of the game for a 10-3 lead. Felix Jones earned his first touchdown run since the 2011 season opener. One of the problems with running the ball is creating lanes for it. The Cowboys did that for DeMarco Murray and Jones. Combined they have 17 carries for 121 yards and one score. The Cowboys must run the ball with efficiency in the second half if they're going to remain in this game.
* Get Miles Austin involved. Austin didn't have his first catch until 6:42 remained in the first half. This isn't anything against Dez Bryant or Jason Witten, who didn't have a catch in the first half, but Austin is the Cowboys' best receiver and can get yards after the catch on slants and knows how to find open places in the zone. When the first half ended, Austin had two catches for 31 yards. The Cowboys must stretch the defense with Austin in the next half.
* Get a sack. Joe Flacco is getting passes off and found receiver Anquan Boldin for several big plays late in the first half just when pressure was getting to him. After 30 minutes, it didn't appear the return of nose tackle Jay Ratliff was making a big impact in the passing game. The Cowboys need a player like Ratliff to take pressure off DeMarcus Ware, who got close to Flacco, but didn't bring him down. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan blitzed Danny McCray, Sean Lee and Brandon Carr in the first half, but they didn't knock Flacco down for a sack. Lee did knock Flacco down twice in this first half, but the quarterback was able to complete passes.