FILMSTUDY: Ravens @ Steelers

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Ravens @ Steelers

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It’s never fun to watch a loss again, but this one was a little different. The Ravens limped into Pittsburgh with a large number of injuries and had their offense hand over the game with turnovers and ineffectiveness. Truly a long night of screaming at the TV set, but I was interested to go back and see what happened on those 5 TD’s.
Just how badly did our corners play?
How about the safeties?

Vs. the rush: 37 plays, 90 yards, 2.4 YPC (excludes 2 kneels for 0)
Best: Ngata 28/50, 1.8 YPC
Worst: No one who played more than 4 rushes was worse than 2.5 YPC.

Vs. the pass: 24/201, 8.4 YPP
Best: Prude 8/45, 5.6
Worst: Ngata was worst of the starters with 9.2 YPP (12/110)

Overall: 61/291, 4.8 YPPA (again, excludes kneels)
Best: Bannan, Gregg, and Edwards were all between 3.0 and 3.2 YPPA.
Worst: Pittman 14/116, 8.3 YPPA

By number of Pass Rushers:
4: 10/18, 1.8 YPP, 2 sacks, 1 TO
5: 9/98, 10.9 YPP
6: 4/90, 22.5 YPP
7: 1/-5, -5.0 YPP, 1 sack

By number of Defensive Backs:
4: 39/119, 3.1 YPPA
5: 12/66, 5.5 YPPA, 1 sack, 1 TO
6: 10/106, 10.6 YPPA, 2 sacks

Some individual observations:

* Let’s address the elephant in the room to start. Pittsburgh had 7 pass plays (5 TD’s, 15, 45) in the first 39 minutes of the game which setup all of their scoring. I’m going to subjectively assess up to 5 burn points to the secondary for each:
    Q1 7:26 3/7 Bal 17: With 4-man pressure, Pryce was unable to take down Roethlisberger and he rolled left to find Miller. Ivy had the initial coverage as Miller was the only receiver on his side. Landry was late getting there. Reed was actually in on the pass rush. Pittman and Martin each had their assignment well covered, even after about 7 seconds of running around. Ivy 3, Landry 2
    Q1 1:48 2/7 Bal 15: Just a good throw by Ben, threading the needle between Pittman and Reed in the back of the end zone. Martin really did not have nearly as good coverage on the offensive right side (ORS). Pittman gets 2 points on this one largely because even his reasonably good coverage did not dissuade Ben from making a tight throw. If that were McAlister, I think Ben might have checked down. Pitman 2, Reed 1
    Q2 14:21 3/ 4 Bal 30: Roethlisberger rolled right to elude a 6-man pass rush that included Ivy. Suggs was close, but could not bring him down. Washington was lost by Martin, who may have slipped slightly. Landry got back too late. What I didn’t like about this play was Landry gesturing to Martin immediately after the catch. Reed seemed to give some additional post-play coaching to Martin. Going to call this Martin 4, Landry 1
    Q2 5:48 3/9 Bal 35: Holmes lined up wide right with Martin in man coverage. Holmes simply ran by Martin down the sideline. Martin never picked up the ball and got his hands up comically too late. The dime was on and Reed was in deep coverage shaded slightly to Martin, but could not have gotten there in time, IMO. Martin 5
    Q2 3:00 1/10 Bal 26: Holmes lined up wide left with Ivy in soft coverage. The Ravens brought 6, leaving Ivy on the island. Holmes ran a simple curl and Roethlisberger hit him for a 15-yard pickup. Ivy was giving up a lot of ground, and I can’t help but think he was too worried about getting burned and not thinking about an aggressive big play. You may also note that the Steelers had a 17-yard gain on a short pass to Parker on the previous play. Since this wasn’t a cornerback assignment, I didn’t use it for this analysis. Ivy 3
    Q2 1:57 2/6 Bal 7: The Ravens again rushed 4 as Martin had coverage on Washington. Ben rolled right, which was away from the pressure. Scott impressively positioned himself to defend either the run or pass, but the route prevented him from getting to the throwing lane. Washington ran 6 yards deep into the end zone, then curled back to the pylon. As he did, Martin slipped, allowing another easy TD flip. Martin 5.
    Q3 6:37 3/7 Pit 47: Dime defense, Jamaine Winborne seeing his 1st defensive snap in the NFL. Ivy again lined up soft on the OLS vs. Holmes. The Ravens brought a 6-man pass rush that flushed Roethlisberger right, but Ben again threw on the run to Holmes on the sideline who somehow found a spot 10 yards behind Ivy. Landry missed the tackle, and Ivy and Martin had to make the tackle at the 8 yard line. Ivy 4, Landry 1
    For those of you scoring at home, that’s Martin 14, Ivy 10, Landry 4, Pittman 2, Reed 1. That’s a little different than I remember thinking as I watched it. It appeared to me that Pittman played worse than he did, but then again, he was only in for 14 plays compared to 61 for Martin.
* Pittman was used as the 5th DB and generally played on an outside receiver as Ivy moved to the slot (usually Ward). He was hurt on the last defensive play of the 2nd quarter and did not return. By no stretch would I say he played well, but he was not as bad as Martin or Ivy. You may not have noticed it, but he actually won the starting job late in the second quarter. After Martin was burnt for the 3rd time, Ryan inserted Pittman as the outside cover and Prude in the slot. That lasted 3 plays until Pittman was injured.
* Martin’s performance can’t be sugar-coated, but I do think there is still hope that he could play well in this league. He was twice burned by slipping and only once by technique. I like the fact that he returned and played ably in the 2nd half after the burning/benching in the 1st.
* Ivy had played well for the bulk of his starting time. This time however, the combination of a good opposing QB, above average receivers, slippery conditions, and not having a star CB on the other side were too much. He can do some things well in coverage, but he’s simply not a guy who can play on an island.
* If I had to say one thing about the defensive play calling, I’d say I was surprised by the number of safety and corner blitzes given the Ravens very depleted status. In particular, it seems a little reckless to rush Reed.
* The Ravens nearly had their 2nd 10-man defensive play of the year with 5:01 to go in 3rd quarter, but Kelly Gregg ran on the field before the snap. While he failed to get in a stance, the pass went incomplete and the Steelers were forced to kick their FG.
* The defensive line played very well. Pryce’s return lifted the pass rush a notch, and the Ravens got 2 sacks with 4-man pressure. Pryce himself had several pressures throughout the night although he managed not to record a single counted statistic for the gamebook. The inability to convert more sacks may have cost the Ravens 2 TD’s. All 4 of the tackle rotation guys (I’m including Edwards here even though he lines up at DE primarily now) played well, recording YPPA numbers much better than the team as a whole. Ngata was the worst at 4.0, and he recorded 7 tackles for the 2nd time in 3 games. Suggs had what was by far his best game of the season with 11 tackles, a sack, and 3 QB hits.
* Gary Stills recorded his 1st sack as a Raven and 1st since 12/19/04 when he got half a sack vs. Denver.
* Jamaine Winborne did not see another snap after the 45-yard pass play.
Photos by Sabina Moran

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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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