The 2014 season could have been a complete disaster for the Baltimore Ravens. I fully expected everything to come crumbling down on Monday September 8 when Ray Rice, the franchise leader in yardage gained (9,375), was released after video of him punching his fiancee in a casino elevator surfaced.
But then something crazy happened, this guy named Justin Forsett, who signed a one-year deal with Baltimore in April, a month after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, posted the most yards per rush in a single season of any running back in Ravens history (5.4). The Ravens offense went on to finish the regular season with 409 points, their highest total in franchise history.
My September expectations for the Ravens offense were low, but when it was all said and done, I was able to watch Joe Flacco throw for more yards (3,986) and more touchdowns (27) than he had in any of his previous seven seasons. Despite losing his favorite target, Dennis Pitta, at the end of September, this year still became Flacco’s most impressive regular season.
And no matter how things ended in New England, I can’t help but think about the Ravens storming into Pittsburgh and knocking out the AFC North champion Steelers, 30-17, in the Wild Card round. It was Baltimore’s first postseason victory in the Steel City and another impressive January win for Flacco and John Harbaugh.
This success on offense couldn’t have been achieved without some of the tweaks that offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak implemented. The zone-stretch run scheme is a perfect example, with it Kubiak took the Ravens running game from one of the worst in the NFL last season (3.1 yards per carry) to one of the best in 2014 (4.5 yards per carry).
Kubiak was been an invaluable part of the Ravens in 2014 and, thankfully, he’ll be back next season with the purple and black. Despite being viewed as a top candidate to replace Marc Trestman as the Chicago Bears head coach, Kubiak issued a statement saying that he wants to stay with this “special organization.”
How often do you hear that?
Even with the uncertainty again at running back in 2015, Dennis Pitta‘s lingering health concerns and Torrey Smith‘s impending free agency, you already have to feel good about the Ravens offense knowing that Kubiak will be calling the plays again.