An effective 4-man pass rush is perhaps the single most valuable defensive asset in today’s game. Teams that can get pressure with 4 will find a way to stop the passing game of virtually any NFL team. Conversely, teams that can’t stop the 4-man rush are almost universally unsuccessful.
The Eagles rushed exactly 4 on 34 of Flacco’s 44 drop backs. Every one of those 34 plays was a simple rush of their 4-man front without any blitzers or zone drops. On those plays Flacco was afforded Ample Time and Space (ATS) just 14 times and was knocked down (QH) 9 times including 1 sack. The remaining 10 rushes included 7 with 5 men and 3 with 6. Juan Castillo only employed deceptive rushes on 3 occasions.
If you are interested in the effectiveness of the pass rush, you’ll probably want to know if the QB is knocked to the ground as opposed to simply pressured. The event is not recorded uniformly or accurately at most venues as reflected in the Gamebook (the Eagles’ game had 21 QHs, but the Gamebook recorded just 4). I review the regular broadcast and note a number of plays where I can’t tell if the QB goes down after the ball is delivered. I can then check those when the coaches video becomes available on Tuesday or Wednesday. I mention this because the Eagles had 4 off-camera QHs in this game, some of which appeared both late and dirty.
The Ravens’ starters played all 64 offensive snaps (excluding Considine’s punt run).
Oher: Michael was overmatched by Trent Cole, one of the better rush ends in the NFL. He:
- Was beaten outside by Cole for a sack fumble on the Ravens 2nd offensive snap (Q1, 9:40). The pocket was constrained by the pressure surrendered by Osemele and Harewood, so I charged Oher with just ½ sack.
- He was again beaten outside for a QH by Cole (Q2, 2:00).
- He shared a pressure with Harewood (also beaten outside) and Yanda (allowed PD) when Cole beat him outside (Q3, 14:54)
- He was beaten…I’ll give you one guess where…by Cole for a QH shared with Harewood who was bulled by a Landri to compress the pocket (Q3, 4:26). I scored this one as -2 for Oher and -1 for Harewood.
- He was beaten inside by Cole for a QH (Q4, 1:48)
- He was beaten outside by Cole for a pressure split with Osemele on the Ravens’ last offensive play (Q4, 0:54)
His mobility numbers were good with 6 blocks in level 2 and 1 successful pull to go along with 2 pancakes. Scoring: 54 blocks, 4 missed, ½ sack, 2 + 2/3 QH, 5/6 (1/2 + 1/3) penetration, 41.33 points (.65 per play). It was a grade D performance even considering the quality of opposition.
Harewood: He took a big step backwards after a solid debut in the opener. I won’t list the plays as I did for Oher, but he was beaten consistently by Landri and once by Thornton. As a run blocker, he was bulled 4 yards into the backfield by Landri to blow up Rice’s run left for a loss of 4 (Q4, 15:00). Ramon also failed to stand and touch up Thornton on his neutral-zone infraction (Q2, 5:39) which would have converted a 3rd and 2 the Ravens subsequently failed. He contributed 7 level-2 blocks and 2 pancakes. Flacco has been the picture of durability for his first 4 seasons, but I’m concerned about his ability to withstand the number of hits he’ll take this year with the current left side of the line. Both can run block, but they faced a simple pass rush on Sunday and the left side was responsible for 6 (OK, 5.75) of the 10 times Flacco was knocked down. The no huddle, run effectively, should reduce the pressure through weariness. However, it will always be a challenge to run the no huddle on the road and the Ravens will face teams willing to employ much more exotic pressure schemes. Scoring: 49 blocks, 5 missed, ¼ sack, 2 + 1/3 QH, 3 + 5/6 pressures, 1 penetration, 40.83 points (.64 per play). That’s an F, and he was perhaps a full QH from passing.
Birk: He failed to pick up the stunting Cox and was forced to hold him (Q4, 12:58). He was pancaked as he allowed pressure to Jenkins (Q4, 8:39) on Flacco’s 13-yard completion to Rice. Other than that, he made all but 1 of his run blocks and had 6 level-2 blocks plus a pancake. Scoring: 62 blocks, 1 missed, 1 pressure, 1 holding penalty, 54 points (.84 per play). That’s a C- score at center.
Yanda: Marshal is the only lineman to have played well in both games. Cox pancaked him for a QH (Q2, 9:21). I also scored him for a share of the pressure/PD by Cox (Q3, 14:54). He connected on all 4 of his pulls and had 4 blocks in level 2. Scoring: 62 blocks, 0 missed, 1 QH, 1/3 pressure, 58.33 points (.91 per play). That’s an A- outing at guard.
Osemele: Kelechi surrendered a pair of QHs in a 5 play span (Q2, 5:39 and Q2, 1:57) to Graham and Babin respectively. The latter was late and could have been flagged. He contributed 4 blocks in level 2, pulled successfully twice, and had 1 pancake. Scoring: 54 blocks, 5 missed, 1.5 pressures, 2 QH, ¼ sack, 43.5 points (.69 per play). D+.
McKinnie: Bryant played 2 snaps at LTE and made both blocks. Scoring: 2 blocks, 2 points (1.00 per play).
Other Offensive Notes:
- Flacco had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 18 of 44 drop backs (41%).
- With ATS, Flacco completed 12 of 18 throws for 132 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT (7.3 YPP). That’s both a low number of ATS attempts and a bad result on those attempts.
- Without ATS he was 10 of 24 for 100 yards (82 net) with 2 sacks for -18 (3.2 YPP) with 1 TD and 0 INT.
- For the season, Flacco now has 0 TD and 1 INT with ATS and 3 TD/0 INT without ATS.
- I noted only 1 boot versus the Eagles (Q3, 10:40). The Ravens zone blocked left and had the play sold reasonably well, but Leach missed his open-field block on Graham, who delivered a QH as Flacco threw incomplete deep left for Dickson. That may have been the play on which Flacco was injured.
- Following the injury, Flacco threw very few balls downfield with the notable exception the underthrown ball to Smith down the right sideline (Q3, 0:19).
- Tandon Doss collected his 1st NFL catch (Q2, 9:15) on a slant between the numbers and left hash. He played 10 snaps.
- Nnamdi Asomugha appeared a shadow of his former self. He was unable to stay with Jacoby Jones, allowed the Ravens only passing TD, was penalized twice for Illegal Contact, and might have had both a 3rd flag and 2nd TD allowed on the catch by Jones which was negated by Offensive Pass Interference.
- With the number of failures on 3rd and 2 or less, the player who had a reduce role relative to last season is Vonta Leach. The 2008 Ravens converted 17 of their first 18 3rd-and-1 situations with a consistent diet of Le’Ron McClain. For the last 6 games of 2011, Leach was a favorite option in such situations. His only carry Sunday was his 5-yard TD run (Q1, 2:12). It was the 2nd longest run of his career and his 3rd TD in 18 career carries.