The Baltimore Ravens offense hasn’t looked dominant ever since the bye week, and one of the glaring issues is poor management of the play clock.
The Ravens currently have a league-high seven delay of game penalties this season trailed by the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks, who each have six.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson showed his visible frustration after a delay of game penalty in Week 11 against the Carolina Panthers, punting the ball into the air. In Week 12, the same problems persisted, and the Ravens got called for another delay of game penalty on the opening drive.
Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer graphed how often teams snap the ball with three seconds or fewer on the play clock, and lo and behold, the Ravens led the league at roughly 35 percent.
Ravens have to improve communication, pick up the tempo on offense
After Week 12, John Harbaugh told reporters that the team made adjustments in the second half of the game against Jacksonville, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
"“Even Greg [Roman] told me, ‘I have to call the play faster.’ I think we can call it faster, communicate it better in the huddle, or whatever. The whole thing needed to be faster, and we did adjust what we were doing in the second half to try to make that happen. The rhythm and the tempo were not where we needed them to be at all.”"
These self-inflicted, unforced errors haven’t proved terribly costly to the team, yet they almost always break up the offensive rhythm and put Baltimore in undesirable positions.
Two of their delay of game penalties this season forced the Ravens to settle for a field goal: once in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills, and once in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals. Four of the penalties stalled offensive drives, and one resulted in a punt.
It would be unfair to pin the blame on any single person in particular, but between John Harbaugh, Greg Roman, and Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have to find a way out of this rut.
Week 12’s defeat put both the Ravens’ offensive and defensive shortcomings on display, though Jackson could hardly be blamed for the loss.
The ghosts of the team’s fourth-quarter defense came back to haunt them, and suddenly, Baltimore appears to have fallen out of the serious playoff contender conversation — for now.
If the Ravens can clean up their sloppy play and tighten up on defense, they’ll be right back up there with the AFC heavyweights. But as it stands, that’s a big if.