For the 2nd straight game, the starters played every snap. The Ravens did not allow a sack with the considerable advantage of having the Raiders best pass rusher, Derrick Burgess, inactive. The Ravens also held the Raiders to 1 QH. While the line protected Flacco well, they were charged with a slew of penalties, 4 of which nullified key plays.
The Ravens ran the ball 46 times (the 2nd most in franchise history, they had 51 on 11/26/00 in the 44-7 win over the Browns). 11/22/11 times to the L/M/R for 35/85/74 yards respectively (plus 2 more kneels for -2 yards). YPC for each direction were L: 3.2, M: 3.9, R: 6.7.
Gaither: First, the bad news. Gaither was penalized 4 times:
(Q1, 12:54): False Start, pre snap
(Q2, 11:35): False Start, pre snap. Cost the Ravens just 1 yard, so this has been scored as just -1
(Q3, 8:50): Holding, nullified 22 yard run by McGahee
(Q4, 3:45): Ineligible Man Downfield (IMD), nullified 7-yard TD pass to Rice
Of the 4, the IMD was the worst, costing the Ravens a TD when there was no legitimate reason to be there. Tell me this…how do you go 5 yards downfield when the LoS is the 7? On the plus side, Jared had terrific run push, moving his opponent at will despite the fact that did not show up in the yardage totals running left. He pulled twice (that’s very unusual for a LT), each time finding a block. Gaither committed some serious mistakes in this game, but it wasn’t a case where he was getting physically dominated in any way. The problems are correctable. Scoring: 66/69 blocks, 3 missed, 1 holding penalty, 2 false starts (-4 total due to yardage), 1 ineligible man downfield, 53 points (.77 per play).
Grubbs: His non-pulling run push was not particularly impressive, which might explain why the left side running was not good. However, he recorded 3 level 2 blocks and pulled 10 times (up from 2 against the Dolphins), finding a block on 9 of those. He got excellent push with those running starts (these are usually a LB). He gave up on his block (might have thought the ball was gone) on the Flacco to Williams 70-yard TD. It’s not recorded as a QH in the Gamebook, but Flacco took a good shot. Scoring: 64/69 blocks, 4 missed, 1 QH allowed, 61 points (.88 per play).
Brown: Terrific game for the Ravens offensive line leader. Brown delivered 5 level 2 blocks and pancaked his man 3 times by my count. Subjectively, I’d say this was the best performance of the year for a Ravens lineman. Scoring: 66/69 blocks, 3 missed, 66 points (.96 per play).
(Q2, 4:40): Holding, nullified a 32-yard pass play to Mason
(Q3, 4:28): Holding, nullified a 3-yard TD run by McGahee
Those are 2 bad penalties, and they were both a function of being beaten. He was 8/9 pulling. He missed 7 blocks in total, which is a lot, but he did not have any costly breakdowns in pass protection. Scoring 62/69 blocks, 7 missed, 2 holding penalties, 50 points (.72 per play). So why do I like the way Gaither played so much better than
Ngata: He was inserted for 3 plays, all as the RTE. Each is worth individual examination:
1. (Q2, 15:00) 1/4 at the Oak 4: He lined up eligible with
2. (Q2, 14:31) 2/1 at Oak 1: Same formation, same personnel, same play. Ngata and Anderson pancaked
3. (Q3, 4:28) 2/3 at Oak 3: Yet again the same formation and personnel, but this time the Grubbs pulled right and the Raiders got penetration in the middle from #57, Ricky Brown (the same guy who had the coverage on Flacco on his 43-yard reception) and #90, Terdell Sands. McGahee redirected left and dove into the end zone just as the umpire was whipping the holding flag at
Richardson and Morrison have both seen enough of Ngata. I can’t even imagine how difficult it might be to line up against a 345 lb man who plays as low and fast as Ngata can. His technique should improve, and I would guess
Unbalanced: The Ravens ran their unbalanced formation 8 times, 3 times with