It was a rough night for the
During an intense 13-10 victory at Heinz Field, the Ravens converted only 3 of 14 third downs, a dreadful 21 percent success rate.
That included a pair of third-and-2 passing shots from quarterback
Overall, the Ravens are converting 34.4 percent of their third-down attempts. That ranks them 23rd overall.
Operating out of the shotgun formation in the fourth quarter, Flacco threw incomplete on third-and-2 to
Later, he was sacked on third-and-2 by Steelers outside linebacker
"We aren’t as good on third-and-short as we should be, without question," Ravens coach
Pro Bowl running back
"To get into the play calls and that kind of thing a dive play wouldn't have worked against the defense they ran," Harbaugh said. "They were bringing everybody inside. They're pretty good, and they stopped the lead play. The dive play, in all likelihood – would have gotten stopped there, too. Something running outside would have had a chance, but they were bringing safeties off the edges, too.
"You probably would have had to have thrown it there to have the kind of chance you really want to have to make a go. And probably, in that game, we probably weren't going to do that at that point. We need to get better at third down, no doubt, and third-and-short, absolutely."
When asked to explain why the Ravens didn't just run the football, Harbaugh said it was simply stacked against them.
"They put a defense out there that made our guys think that we really weren't going to have a chance, any chance, to get the first down if we ran the ball there," Harbaugh said. "So, the decision was made to put it in Joe's hands and basically say, 'If he is wide open, throw it to him. If he's not wide open, take the sack.' So, that'd be your point. There is nothing wrong with running the ball right there, taking your chance, try to block those guys.
"If you get the first down, you get the first down. [If not], you punt it because it was all about the clock. The first down would seal the game, so we wouldn't have put our defense back out there, but the more important thing was – because they had no timeouts – was to use the 40 seconds. That was the main issue. Running the ball secures that for you. Joe made a good decision and all that, but putting him in that kind of position with a pass rush coming at him was a little more risky, maybe, than we needed to do."