It’s easy to get excited about this game and I don’t typically bother commenting on the regulars during the preseason, but I can’t help myself from providing some bullets:
· Flacco had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 28 of 38 drop backs (74%) which was a higher percentage of ATS than any game in the last 2 seasons (previous high 71%, 2-year aggregate 49%)
· On throws with ATS, Flacco was 21 of 28 for 233 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT (8.3 YPP)
· Without ATS he was 6 of 8 for 16 net yards including 2 sacks for 17 (1.6 YPP)
· Lardarius Webb had an outstanding night in both run and pass defense. He led the team in tackles with 6 and had a PD
· Bernard Pollard had a night of big hits, registered 2 PDs, and made 3 tackles
· Jameel McClain registered 5 tackles
· The offense rolled up 571 net yards, which is more than the team ever previously produced (553 vs. STL last season)
· The 32 first downs would also have tied the team record of 32 set in the 2009 opener vs. KC
Of individual note, because he is often overlooked was the play of Vonta Leach. He had his usual excellent game as a lead blocker, contributed an 8-yard TD catch, and had his 3rd-down conversion negated by Boldin’s false start, but it’s his pass blocking which was the standout.
Jeremy Mincey is one of the NFL’s best-kept pass-rushing secrets. He had a fine year last season that included 8 sacks, 11 QHs, and a mess of additional pressure. On 2 separate occasions Leach was responsible for blocking Mincey as Flacco rolled right and each time (Q1, 13:49 and Q1, 2:23) he not only directed the enormous Mincey well wide of Flacco in the open field, but he also pancaked him!
The naked boot is the primary time-and-space generator that provides for the longest routes to develop and for the offense to take advantage of Flacco’s arm. Leach is typically responsible for either the LDE or a linebacker who rushes when it’s noticed Flacco is outside of the pocket. It’s a job he does very well.