4. Can the Ravens establish the run this time and avoid third-and-long situations?

The Ravens' running game had one of its worst games of the season against the Broncos. They were absolutely stymied, averaging 2.9 yards per carry to finish with 56 rushing yards on 19 runs. Eventually, the run was abandoned after the team fell behind by 28 points heading into the fourth quarter, and it was the third-lowest rushing total of the season for the NFL's 11th-ranked running team. In all fairness, the offensive line was missing Pro Bowl right offensive guard Marshal Yanda and tight end Ed Dickson. As two of the Ravens' better run blockers, they could make a difference in getting movement up front this time. The Broncos aren't just about speed. They're stout inside with former Ravens defensive lineman Justin Bannan stacking blocks and athletic inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard flowing to the football. This is the time for offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell to keep running the ball, as the Ravens have averaged 200 rushing yards per game in the ensuing three games since losing to Denver. Between Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice and bruising rookie backup Bernard Pierce, the Ravens are running with confidence and Caldwell has devised a sound division of playing time. If the Ravens fail to run the ball effectively, they'll be back in those third-and-long situations as they were in the first game against the Broncos, when they converted just 1-of-12 third downs.
Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun
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