FILMSTUDY: Ravens v. Bengals

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Ravens v. Bengals

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Wow!  Just wow! 

As I watched this game, I recalled going to

for the opener in 2006.  I expected to see a team that would be able to play at a higher level, with greater discipline, and had hopes that our new QB could be the stabilizing force our offense needed.  That day McNair led the team on a long opening drive including a big running play of his own, CMac had a huge interception, the Ravens played inspired team defense, one of our linebackers (JJ) dropped an easy interception, and the Ravens held the Bucs to 142 yards of offense on 50 plays and just 8 first downs.  Substitute Flacco for McNair, Suggs for JJ, and 154 for 142 and you pretty much have what happened Sunday.

This team is a lot better than I thought.  You can poo-poo the Bengals, they certainly are poo worthy.  You can blame the result on Carson Palmer’s nose guard.  You can say this game was at home and the crowd had a tremendous effect, and it did.  You can point to some weaknesses on offense, like holding onto the football, which would be legitimate.  You can point to clock management, which kept the Ravens from pitching a defensive shutout.  You can say the Ravens scored their only TD’s on a broken play and a trick play, which is both true and misleading. You can even say Todd Heap had the worst game of his career, which is true.  And you can claim this game was close, but it never was.  The 17-10 final is a thoroughly false representation of the way the Ravens dominated. 

In 2006, I came back on the plane from

thinking 9.5 wins was the new over/under.  Based on the information we now know (and considering the very tough set of opponents this season), I’d say the O/U for the Ravens is now 8 wins.

I’m going to post some of the situational stats tonight without delay.  Here is a link that explains how some of these stats are calculated. 


The other stats will be up tomorrow in my regular column:

Overall: 49 plays, 154 yards (excludes 1 spike), 31. YPPA

Best:  Scott 42/97 2.3, Ngata 33/87 2.6,
Douglas 16/42 2.6.  Divens was also 6/14 2.3 YPPA

Worst:  No player with 10 or more plays was over 3.2 YPPA.  Now that is a stat-padder of a game.

Vs. the Run:  23 carries, 65 yards, 2.8 YPC

Best:  Scott 20/43, 2.2 YPC

Worst:  Pryce 14/43, 3.1.  That’s again a great game to be worst on the team.

Vs. the Pass:  26 pass plays, 89 yards, 3.4 YPP (excludes the spike)

Best:  Scott 22/64, 2.5 YPP

Worst:  Bannan 10/46, 4.6 YPP was worst of 10+ plays and that is very good.

By number of Pass Rushers:

3:  1/13, 13.0 YPP

4:  13/43, 3.3 YPP

5:  11/11, 1.0 YPP

6:  1/22, 22.0 YPP

The Ravens did not once rush 7 or more.  Group the 5’s and 6’s and the Ravens still allowed under 3 YPP rushing 5+ which would be a terrific return to 2006 form.  Holding the Bengals to 3.3 YPP when you only rush 4 is also terrific.

By number of Defensive Backs:

3:  1 play, -1 yard, -1.0 YPPA

4:  28 plays, 92 yards, 3.3 YPPA, 1 sack, 1 TO

5:  12 plays, 6 yards, 0.5 YPPA, 1 sack, 1 TO

6:  3 plays, 28 yards, 9.3 YPPA

7:  5 plays, 29 yards, 5.8 YPPA

Individual notes:

·          The Ravens played 5 plays with 7 defensive backs.  They did that exactly 0 times in 2007 and I do not believe they did so in 2006 either, although I can’t be 100% sure.  The 7 DB scheme was one of the hallmarks of the 2000 team which used 7 DB’s 55 times in 16 games.  That team used it as a fairly regular 3rd down package (Trapp, Harris, Bailey, CMac, Starks, Herring, Woodson).  The Ravens did not have great success with 6 or 7 DB’s Sunday, but the multiple uses of those safeties are intriguing.

·          Kevin Harlan’s knowledge of football is very impressive.  I really enjoy hearing him call a game, and he’s one of the few play-by-play guys who dares to use the tellustrator.  He tries very hard to say what is different about the defense from 1 play to the next, but he does call the number of players or players in the game wrong fairly often.

·          Zbikowski had a big first game in the NFL.  He recorded a punishing hit on Palmer on his very first play and had a nice ST tackle on the kickoff with 1:37 to go in Q2.

·          It might be a function of the Bengals, but it appears to me that Antwan Barnes role in this defense will be reduced, barring injury.  He played just 5 plays and Ryan preferred to use 7 DB’s in obvious passing situations.  Barnes touched Palmer on the 3rd and 15 on the initial drive.  Palmer slipped loose, but could not bring himself to set his gaze down the field again and went down.

·          Brendan Ayanbadejo got a defensive snap at LDE midway through the 2nd quarter.  That was another play where Barnes would have been the typical choice in 2007.

·          Terrell Suggs had an excellent game with 2 tackles for loss and 2 PD’s.  The dropped INT was unfortunate, but he looks even better vs. the run.  As I watch this game again this week, I want to count how many times he was used as a pass rusher.  It seemed to me considerably less than usual.

·          Suggs, Johnson, Landry, Lewis, and Reed played every snap.  Of those, Johnson and Reed were surprises.  JJ gave up a lot of his playing time to Barnes in the 2nd half of 2007.  Reed was wearing a red jersey until recently, but he got the PD that led to CMac’s INT.  Reed could not bring down TJ on his long reception, but he missed some tackles with a good shoulder last season.

·          JJ had a very good game with a sack and 6 tackles including the 4th down takedown of Kenny Watson on Palmer’s shovel pass.  One thing I didn’t like was using JJ in soft coverage on TJH.  In that situation a harassed and jittery Palmer was looking for TJ out of the huddle.  Press coverage gives a chance to disrupt the timing on the route and gives the pass rush time.

·          Bannan had a workhorse game, playing 29 snaps in the heat.  He got good push and recorded a nice sack on the opening drive.  Pryce played 32 snaps and Ngata 33 to lead the pure linemen.  Pryce recorded just 1 assist, but Ngata had a little bit of everything with 3 tackles, a pass knocked down at the LoS, a huge hit on Palmer, and the tackle of Perry for a 1-yard loss on 4th and 1 on the Bengals last play from scrimmage.  I can see no reason to be afraid that his knee is still giving him trouble.

·          Ray Lewis had a fine game.  His FF strip reminded me of the 2003 Seahawks game as he pried the ball loose from a player he was tackling alone.  He had 5 tackles total including an assist on the Bengals final play on 4th and 1.

·          I’m going to say just 1 thing about the offense now, because it pertains to the defense.  With 1:59 to play in Q2, the Ravens had 1st and goal at the Bengals 10.  They ran 3 plays, Rice ran left and out of bounds. Rice again ran left and out of bounds.  Flacco then threw right to Heap who was unable to pull it in for a TD.  Stover then converted the FG.  It was a big lost opportunity to be sure, but they burned just 13 seconds off the clock on those 3 plays, allowing the Bengals to drive for their only offensive score after the kickoff.
Photo 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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