FILMSTUDY: Ngata’s Absence Exposes Ravens Lack of Depth

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Ngata’s Absence Exposes Ravens Lack of Depth

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Trent Edwards turned in a very pedestrian effort, generating only 1 big play and a QB rating of 56.3.  The Ravens contained Marshawn Lynch on the ground, holding him to 3.1 YPC.  The Bills went just 3 of 13 on 3rd down.   You can always tell the fans of the losing team…they’re the ones spouting statistics.
 
The Ravens total of 11 penalties for 91 yards was central as well.  That included 2 big pass interference calls and an amazing 5 offsides flags.  To put that last number in perspective, the Ravens were flagged just 10 times (9 accepted) for offsides, encroachment, or neutral zone infraction all last season. 
 
With all the Ravens injuries, the most significant missing Raven was Haloti Ngata.  He made the trip to Buffalo, and dressed, but Ravens cannot seem to find a defensive answer without him on the field.  This week he sat out a mere 10 plays during which the Bills averaged 13.6 yards per play.  More on that later.  Let’s talk defensive numbers:
 
Vs. the Rush:
33 Carries, 103 Yards, 3.1 YPC
Best:  Ngata 24/68, 2.4 YPC
Worst:  Edwards 18/81, 4.5 YPC
 
Vs. the Pass:
23 plays, 139 yards, 6.0 YPP
Best:  Ngata 18/38, 2.1 YPP
Worst: Edwards 11.4 YPP
 
By Defensive Set:
3 DB’s:  1 play, 1 yard (Lynch 1-yard TD run)
4 DB’s:  41 plays, 201 yards, 4.9 YPPA, 2 sacks
5 DB’s:  13 plays, 40 yards, 3.1 YPPA, 1 TO
6 DB’s: 1 play, 0 yards
 
By Number of Pass Rushers
4: 14/122, 8.7 YPP
5: 6/17, 2.8 YPP, 2 sacks
6: 2/0, 0.0, 1 TO
7: 1/0, 0.0
 
NOTES:
 
·          Kelly Gregg saw more snaps (48 to 46 unpenalized) than Ngata for the first time this season.  Gregg had a good game from a productivity standpoint with 6 tackles and a PD.  However, the team actually gave up more YPPA 4.6 to 4.3 with him in than with him on the sideline.
 
·          Ngata had a game much reminiscent of his rookie year when he had an uncanny habit of not being on the field for the big play.  It’s not an accident, folks, although I have no doubt yesterday’s game was a case of some luck putting the statistical icing on a great performance.  As I mentioned, Ngata missed 10 plays.  The results of those were:
 
o         Evans 13-yard reception
o         Lynch 23-yard run (remember that 1st and 25 the Bills had?  These first 2 plays off for Ngata is what followed)
o         Incomplete pass
o         Evans 9-yard reception
o         Lynch 1-yard run
o         Lynch 5-yard run
o         Reed 25-yard reception
o         Wright 4-yard run
o         Evans 54-yard reception
o         Lynch 2-yard run
 
In total, that’s 10 plays for 136 yards (13.6 YPPA) without the big man and 46 plays for 106 yards (2.3 YPPA) with him in there. 
 
Last year, he towered over a great defense, with his plays resulting in .9 yards of YPPA less than those without him (4.0 vs. 4.9).  All last season and through the off season, while I was amazed at the numbers, I had to agree that his limited defensive context was similar to a great platoon hitter in baseball (the Ravens had an answer to John Lowenstein). 
 
This year, however, his stats are that much more amazing as the featured DT (4.1 YPPA with Ngata, 6.8 YPPA without him, kneels excluded) with his playing time increased from 42% to 70% of defensive snaps.  Ngata is clearly the MVP of the 2007 Ravens defense and one of the very best DT’s in the NFL.
 
OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
 
·          Derrick Martin played well as the nickel (14 plays, 40 yards, 3.1 YPPA), taking the outside receiver when in.  While Ivy has played surprisingly well in relief, he’s a bigger asset covering the slot.
 
·          Ed Reed missed 3 plays, his first of the season after hurting himself on Evans’ 25-yard catch.  Amazingly, Jarrett Johnson is now the lone Raven to play every down this season (Lewis and Scott have missed just 1 play each).
 
·          The Ravens allowed just 17 yards on 9 plays (1.9 YPP) with 5 or more rushing the QB, but 122 yards on 14 pass plays (8.7 YPP) with a 4 man rush.  For the season, the Ravens have allowed 6.2 YPP with a 3 or 4-man rush and 6.5 YPP with 5+ rushing.  The big difference, however, is turnovers, with the Ravens getting 9 takeaways on 94 plays (9.6%) with 5+ rushing.  With 3 or 4 rushing that ratio is 3 in 124 plays (2.4%)

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Ken McKusick

About Ken McKusick

Known as “Filmstudy” from his handle on area message boards, Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports. He grew up within walking distance of Memorial Stadium and attended all but a handful of Orioles games from 1979 through 2001. He got his start in sports modeling with baseball in the mid 1980’s. He began writing about the Ravens in 2006 and maintains a library of video for every game the team has played. He’s a graduate of Syracuse with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Math who recently retired from his actuarial career to pursue his passion as a football analyst full time. If you have math or modeling questions related to sports or gambling, Ken is always interested in hearing new problems or ideas. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @filmstudyravens. More from Ken McKusick

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