Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Thursday defended the Ravens' oft-criticized play-calling in last Sunday's game against the Eagles, saying, "I really felt good about the calls that we made."
In the wake of the Ravens' 24-23 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday, Cameron bore the brunt of the criticism after Joe Flacco threw incompletions on third-and-2 and fourth-and-2 on the Ravens final drive rather than give the ball to running back Ray Rice in an attempt to get a first down.
Speaking at his weekly media session on Thursday, Cameron said that had the Ravens faced "a legit third-and-one, we probably would have run the football." And although according to the official NFL play-by-play the Ravens faced third-and-1 and then fourth-and-1 in that series, video review confirms Cameron's contention that it was more like "third-and-two-and-a-half in that situation."
Cameron said that facing a third-and-2, "I like the idea of our quarterback having the ball in his hands, five potential receivers, and then youve always got the ability for him to scramble and improvise."
On third down, Flacco threw an incompletion to tight end Dennis Pitta on the left sideline. Then on fourth down, he threw an incompletion in the right flat intended for Rice.
Cameron acknowledged that Flacco had been struggling with his accuracy throughout the second half -- he finished the half 8-for-25 -- but said "it wouldn't affect the call."
"I like our chances, and as you guys have seen with Joe Flacco, with his ability to get the ball to any of those other five. And will we do that all the time? No, but in critical situations you are going to see that a lot.
Overall in the game, the Ravens ran five offensive plays on third or fourth down needing 2 or fewer yards for the first down. They threw on all five of those plays, with Flacco going 1-for-5 with an interception. The only completion, to Rice, went for minus-5 yards.
But Cameron, like Flacco the day before, stood by the belief that the flaw was in the execution, not in the play calls.
"I think we had the opportunity," Cameron said. "As Joe Flacco said, We have to execute better."