FILMSTUDY: Houston’s Super Mario meets his King Koopa

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Houston’s Super Mario meets his King Koopa

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The Ravens pounded the Texans 41-13 in the week 2 makeup game.  With their 5-of-6 road streak ending this week, I think it’s finally safe to say the lack of a bye did not hurt them.  The Ravens have turned the ball over just twice while registering 8 takeaways and an NFL-high 33.5 points per game over the winning streak.  Despite the obvious success in a 41-point road victory, the Ravens did not protect Flacco as well as they had in previous weeks, allowing 3 sacks and 4 other QB hits.


Anderson was lost to injury midway through the 3rd period and was replaced by Terry.  They were charged twice more for holding (Chester and Grubbs).  The Ravens ran 39 times for 164 yards (4.2 YPC, excludes Smith’s kneel).


Individual Notes:


Gaither:  For those of you who think there is no chance of Gaither succeeding Ogden as a stone wall left tackle, I think you’d enjoy a 2nd look at this game with focus on the matchup between Jared and Mario Williams.  Williams, of course, is one of the NFL’s best DE’s, and entered the game with 8 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 8 games.  I went to a little more detail than normal on this matchup, but to summarize:


  • Gaither had Super Mario as his assignment on 26 total plays and won the matchup 24 times. 
  • On only 6 of those was Gaither aided with a double team or chip block.
  • His first time beaten was the pass back from Flacco to Smith when Williams beat Gaither playing unbalanced RT. 
  • On the second, Williams beat him outside on a speed rush, flushed the pocket, and Flacco ran left for 8 yards.  Gaither slowed him down as he re-crossed the pocket. 
  • On the first 3 drives of the game, the Ravens played 6 unbalanced left formations, possibly to provide Williams with another large blocker to tire him out (Anderson each time). 
  • By the 2nd quarter, Williams was lining up some at LDE and from the last drive of the 3rd quarter on, he lined up there on the vast majority of plays.  He lined up at LDE 16 times on the game. 
  • Williams’ impact on the passing game was limited to a single QH (beating Terry at Q4, 14:19) and Grubbs’ holding penalty (Q1, 1:37)


Gaither’s run push was again excellent.  He pancaked Williams once (Q2, 13:14) and otherwise got excellent push (both left and right) on his assignments.  He was not used to pull, but he did register 1 level 2 block.  This was another milestone game for Gaither and frankly, I can’t recall the last time JO played as well.  Scoring:  64/66 blocks, 2 missed, 64 points (.97 per play).  That follows up a .93 last week vs. Wimbley/Hall.


Grubbs:  Ben had a lousy 1st half to follow up a poor game against the Browns.  He allowed 2 sacks and was charged with holding in the 1st half after a .69 at Cleveland.  He pulled 9 times, found a block on 7, and allowed a sack on 1 (Q2, 5:58).  He recorded 8 level 2 blocks.  The Ravens ran effectively and Grubbs was definitely a part of that, but he was a significant liability in pass protection.  Scoring:  59/66 blocks, 2 sacks, 1 QH, 1 holding penalty, 4 missed, 38 points (.58 per play).  That is a bad overall score, but on pass plays, that was 3 points on 26 plays (.12 per play), but 35/40 (.88 per play) on run plays.


Brown:  Jason continues to outplay both guards.  I counted just 1 level 2 block, and he was not used to pull at all, but he stuck on his assignments all day.  The Texans’ interior line was weakened by the injury to DT Amobi Okoye, nonetheless the Ravens had 2 top shelf performances from their O-Line in a game where they allowed 3 sacks, 4 QH’s and had 2 holding flags.  Scoring:  64/66 blocks, 2 missed, 64 points (.97 per play).


Chester:  Chester didn’t have a bad game either.  He was asked to pull just twice and made both blocks.  He made 4 level 2 blocks, but was often conceding pocket space on passing plays.  His holding penalty (Q2, 3:39) nullified a 29-yard pass to Heap.  Scoring 63/66 blocks, 3 missed, 1 holding, 57 points (.86 per play).


Anderson:  The Ravens are going to miss Anderson if he can’t play in the coming weeks.  While he looks slow, he’s consistently made his blocks and has been avoiding mistakes in pass blocking.  He was effective blocking Williams when lined up unbalanced left.  Scoring: 39/43 blocks, 39 points (.91 per play).


Terry:  Played 5 plays before Anderson’s injury then took over at RT midway through the 3rd quarter.  Unfortunately for him, that’s when Mario Williams moved to LDE for the bulk of snaps so he had a tough assignment.  He surrendered 2 QH’s (1 to Williams) in a 4 play stretch spanning Q3 and Q4.  His run blocking was pretty good as the Ravens rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries with him in.  Scoring: 23/28 blocks, 2 missed, 2 QH’s, 1 penetration, 15 points (.54 per play)


Ngata:  The way the Ravens are dropping linemen, they are going to need to use Haloti in short yardage situations anywhere, not just by the goal line.  He again saw 3 offensive snaps.  He did not display any of the explosive or 2-man blocks he had in the previous games, but he made 2 blocks effectively and went out for a pass on Heap’s TD.


Hale:  Entered for a single goal-line play, made his block, and the Ravens scored on Heap’s TD pass.  It’s a little interesting to me that he is active ahead of Cousins, but I’m sure there is a good reason for it.  Not much more to say about it other than of all current Ravens, he most resembles a Lord of the Rings character.


Unbalanced:  The Ravens ran unbalanced a total of 14 times, only 3 of which were to the right.  They gained just 36 yards on those 14 plays (2.6 YPPA).  They ran a jumbo unbalanced twice for 5 yards in non-goal-line situations.


At this writing, I don’t know the status of Anderson for Sunday, but I would say another injury would force the Ravens to consider going to the street for another tackle or swingman.  If you are looking for 2 Ravens on the O-Line that could improve their current level of play a lot and help the Ravens tremendously, they would be Grubbs and Terry.  Given the state of the O-Line now, the Ravens need to hope Gaither and Brown continue to play as well as they have the last 2 weeks. 

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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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