Once considered a given to again be among the most stable and feared units in the NFL, the Ravens rushing offense has been successful only in a formation that a year ago it shied away from.
Through two games this season, running backs Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro are averaging seven yards per carry (12 rushes, 84 yards) out of the shotgun formation — all of those carries coming in Sunday's 37-33 loss to the Oakland Raiders. But that duo, and rookie Buck Allen, averaged 2.82 yards per carry (34 rushes for 96 yards) when quarterback Joe Flacco was under center.
It's a unique problem for the Ravens, and one likely exacerbated by the game situations Sunday in Oakland — the Ravens twice trailed by two scores, and found a rhythm in the shotgun that had eluded them through the first game against the Denver Broncos.
But their 12 carries on draw plays out of the shotgun were more than Ravens running backs had during all of the 2014 season (nine), and through two games was the only way the offense substantially moved the ball on the ground. No NFL team used the shotgun formation less than the Ravens last season.
However small the sample size, it brings into question how the pair of top backs will be utilized going forward, and whether the zone scheme that Forsett found success in last year will yield similar results this year. Fantasy owners probably don't care what formation Forsett is in at this point, but perhaps it's at least good news the Ravens have found something to build off in the run game.