FILMSTUDY: Penalties aside, “Ngata” bad performance

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Penalties aside, “Ngata” bad performance

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Cam Cameron has not yet disappointed with new faces and looks each week on the offensive line.  The newest personnel move may well have the greatest long-term effect.  Haloti Ngata was inserted as a blocking TE for 3 snaps inside the

5-yard line.
(Note: Referencing for terminology may be found HERE in our O Line Model)


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.


Individual Notes:


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).


:  Chris came crashing back to earth after a fine game against the Phins.  The penalties:


(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

?  Gaither is using his size well in both running and pass blocking situations, but has a number of technical flaws. 

is more polished as a blocker, but is being beaten due to his size.


Anderson:  For a 2nd straight week,

made his blocks in passing situations and all but 3 this time in the running game.  He’s avoiding mistakes, but I can’t say I believe the quality of his run blocks is particularly high.  However, the Ravens were very effective running right, and

was a part of that.  Scoring: 66/69 blocks, 66 points (.96 per play)


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

to his immediate left and McClain off the LoS to his right. The Raiders set up with 4 down linemen. Ngata first blocked to the inside on Jay Richardson (#98) who lists at 6’6”, 280. 
Richardson was sent stumbling into the backfield (well wide of the play) between 79 and 92 as
Anderson also turned inside to block

.  McGahee ran right, clearly looking to follow Ngata’s block.  After releasing

, Haloti turned right and got a hand on Morrison (with Brown) to collapse him in a pile of bodies.  McGahee had a clear lane, but both Hall and Brown converged from the sides to make a fine tackle and keep Willis out of the end zone…for a moment.  Wilcots mentioned after the play that Ngata needed to stay with 1 block.


2.       (Q2, 14:31) 2/1 at Oak 1:  Same formation, same personnel, same play.  Ngata and Anderson pancaked

, then Haloti turned and hammered Morrison 2 yards deep in the end zone as McGahee scored easily.


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

.  Ngata was very slow (I’m talking Dwan Edwards slow) out of his stance on the play, but stayed with his block on

pushing him backwards slightly and turning him to the outside.


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
Cam might use him on either side to exploit a particular player.  An extra 20 yards in short yardage situations the remainder of the season could easily mean the Ravens are able to close out a game by converting on 2 extra 3rd and short plays, improve their red zone effectiveness with 1 more TD, extend a couple of drives where they need to score, embolden the coaching staff to take some worthwhile chances on 4th down, and open the field for some trickery with the doubles he will demand.  I’d love to see him inserted for 4 plays per game on offense, and I see no reason why they all need to be in goal-to-go situations.


Unbalanced:  The Ravens ran their unbalanced formation 8 times, 3 times with

on the far left and 5 times with Gaither on the far right.  They ran 7 times for 37 yards (5.3 YPC) and threw incomplete once.  The biggest play was the 21-yard option by Smith and Rice, which went right while the line was unbalanced left.


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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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