So, after having looked at this misleading article from the main page:
I decided to take a deeper look at the numbers myself. I posted this comment there as well, but it's kind of a dead article at this point so I thought it deserved it's own thread for ongoing discussion. Apologies to the mods if you disagree.
Mr. Downing tries to make an argument that it isn't the play-calling, because we are indeed balanced.
But these stats are highly skewed by extremes to one side or the other in our first down playcalling.
First of all, we have actually run the ball 96 times out of 177 on first down. That means we're really calling the run on first down 54.2% of the time, not 52.5% of the time. Now, I can only assume that 93/177 number came from removing our 3 first down kneel-downs, but then you'd also have to subtract those 3 from the overall number of plays making it 93 out of 174, so in that case it's really 53.5% of our first down plays. Which still isn't really good when you look at NFL averages.
Counting kneel-downs, as the NFL does, the Ravens run 54.2% of the time on first down, while the NFL average is 49.0%. So the NFL average is closer to "balanced" than us, and the difference is favored towards the pass not the run. If you want to remove kneel-downs, then our 53.5% compares to the NFL average of 48.2%. So we are still less balanced than the average team, AND we are skewed to the run while they are skewed to the pass.
We're even worse in the first half, where we run 55.0% of the time. We're a little more balanced in the second half. It's also in the first half where we struggle the most and put up the fewest points. Hmm...
At the beginnings of games, we are VERY unbalanced. We run the ball 62.9% of the time on first downs in the 1st quarter, compared to the NFL average of 52.6%.
From game to game, we are also very unbalanced. Over multiple games this gives the illusion of balance, but within individual games we have no balance at all.
By week, this is the percentage of run plays called on first downs:
W1 = 29.7%
W2 = 70.0%
W3 = 72.7%
W4 = 18.5%
W5 = 79.4%
W6 = 59.3%
Here's a graph, because graphs are fun:
The purple line straight across from 50, THAT would be balanced. As you can see, from week to week, we are WAY off to either extreme from that.
That screams unbalanced. There is no mixing of the play calls within each game. We are either all in on the pass or all in on the run from week to week. Last week was actually our most balanced game, but that's only because we were very off-balance in the first half (69.2% first downs were run plays) when we performed atrociously, and then we became perfectly balanced in the second half (50.0% run plays on first downs), and what do you know, our offense was significantly better in the second half.
P.S. Sorry about the typo in the topic title.
Edited by callahan09, 18 October 2013 - 10:10 AM.