Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco Era Offensive Numbers

November 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (left) and quarterback Joe Flacco (5) react after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Baltimore Ravens won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Much has been written about the 2013 Baltimore Ravens season and the weak offensive numbers. There was not much to be excited about, and nothing really worked very consistently. The passing yards were down, and Joe Flacco was having his worst year. The running yards were miniscule, and Ray Rice was having his poorest season as well.

Looking back, just how bad was it? How poorly did it compare to previous seasons and in relation to the rest of the league?

So I’ve put together some charts that look at the past six years of the Joe Flacco / John Harbaugh / Ray Rice years of the Ravens. And sure enough, you would not have to look at the final 8-8 record to presume (based on the other numbers) that this was going to be about a .500 season at best.

So here are the team’s offensive numbers and rankings over the past six years …

Year Record Offense Rank Pass Rank Rush Rank
2008 11-5 5184 16 2808 28 2376 4
2009 9-7 5619 13 3419 18 2200 5
2010 12-4 5166 22 3335 20 1831 14
2011 12-4 5419 15 3423 19 1996 10
2012 10-6 5640 16 3739 15 1901 11
2013 8-8 4918 29 3590 18 1328 30

 

Clearly with the overall 2013 offense posting 248 yards less than any other season (in this era) and finishing 29th out of 32 teams, one could actually be amazed that the Ravens managed to even have an 8-8 record. Add to this a 30th-ranked rushing game with 503 yards less than any other season of the past six, and again a huge source of the problem is quickly identified.

The only part of the offense that does not appear to be terribly lower is the passing game. Though far from exemplary at 18th in the league, it was at least somewhat in the range of previous seasons. The total yardage ranks as second highest during Flacco’s six years, as the 15th-ranked passing game of 2012 is the only year that was better. But in a few paragraphs below, we’ll talk about how this does not tell the whole story either… as other statistics negate the value of this second-highest-yardage year.

Here is a quick chart of Flacco’s passing numbers. When seen in a more expanded fashion with additional details, an item of interest is the complete string of “16s” in the category of games played. That endurance really is an asset that Flacco brings to the Ravens.

Cmp

Att

Cmp%

Yds

TD

Int

Rate

Sk

2008

257

428

60.0

2971

14

12

80.3

32

2009

315

499

63.1

3613

21

12

88.9

36

2010

306

489

62.6

3622

25

10

93.6

40

2011

312

542

57.6

3610

20

12

80.9

31

2012

317

531

59.7

3817

22

10

87.7

35

2013

362

614

59.0

3912

19

22

73.1

48

Career

1869

3103

60.2

21545

121

78

83.7

222

 

So many of the 2013 numbers for Flacco simply JUMP off the page!  The attempts and completions are far beyond any other year, even though the percentage of completions is only 1.2% below the six-year average. If I would have told you at the beginning of the season that Joe would throw 72 more passes than any of the five previous seasons, would you have believed me? (And then note that those 72 extra passes only netted 95 more yards than the former high number from 2012!).

The quarterback rating also dropped to a new low of 73.1 … the previous low being 80.3 in his rookie year, while the highest was 93.6 in 2010.

Particularly contributing to this lower QB rating is the number in the previous column – 22 … for the number of interceptions thrown. This eclipses the previous high of only 12.

And also leaping off the page (and surely contributing to the interceptions and QB rating numbers) is the amount of times Flacco was sacked. His 48 inglorious trips to the turf exceeded the previous high of 40 and the first five-year average of 35. Of course, this also means there were more knock-downs, etc. as well.

Here are the basic statistics for Ray Rice …

Year

G

Att

Yds

TD

Lng

Y/A

Y/G

A/G

Rec

Yds

Y/R

TD

Lng

2008

13

107

454

0

60

4.2

34.9

8.2

33

273

8.3

0

40

2009

16

254

1339

7

59

5.3

83.7

15.9

78

702

9.0

1

63

2010

16

307

1220

5

50

4.0

76.3

19.2

63

556

8.8

1

34

2011

16

291

1364

12

70

4.7

85.3

18.2

76

704

9.3

3

52

2012

16

257

1143

9

46

4.4

71.4

16.1

61

478

7.8

1

43

2013

15

214

660

4

47

3.1

44.0

14.3

58

321

5.5

0

22

Career

92

1430

6180

37

70

4.3

67.2

15.5

369

3034

8.2

6

63

 

Discounting the 2008 season with lesser games and involvement in the offense, these numbers are difficult to look at for Ravens fans. They are only slightly above half the average for the previous four seasons. Again, who would have believed in August that it would be quite this bad? It demonstrates what an asset Rice has been in the past; and those 2011 numbers really are just so outstanding.

Summary – So, how do we account for all that is contained here? Certainly that is a multi-part answer.

Without doubt, the one largest common denominator is the offensive line. It makes the offense work … or fail. Does the running game open up the passing game, or the other way around? What is the chicken or the egg? The best of all worlds is to be balanced, though generally it is strength in rushing that makes successful passing happen. Florida State nearly lost the national championship by over-playing the Auburn running game and getting quickly caught with insufficient secondary defense. And with the 2013 Ravens, the ground offense was simply not very scary.

But the issues are bigger than simply blaming the offensive line. Flacco and Rice never looked themselves – particularly the latter. As Harbaugh identified in the most recent press conference, the timing and execution on everything was a click “off” this year. The Ravens lost critical components and players from 2012. Others were injured or playing at less than 100%.

It should make for no shortage of interesting storylines over the offseason to address the nature of these numbers reported here today. And as I go to publish this online, Ravens’ news comes out about the coaching situation with the offensive line … see HERE.

Next time – we’ll do a similar defensive analysis.

Topics: Baltimore Ravens

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