What a great game!
I couldn’t stop saying it and on the way back to the car, but Maureen suggested 2 other home games in Ravens’ history with that sort of drama. The 44-41 win over Seattle in 2003 was a bigger comeback that featured a litany of extraordinary plays. Similarly, the win over Jacksonville in 2000 capped by Sharpe’s game winning TD was the milestone first win over what was thought to be the biggest divisional obstacle at the time.
I’ll watch all 3 of these games many more times and am in no hurry to pick a favorite.
The Ravens’ starters played all 64 offensive snaps (excluding Flacco’s late kneel).
Oher: Michael had responsibility for first round selection Chandler Jones for much of the night. Jones was dominant in each of the first 2 games, so that was a tough assignment made more difficult by the length of the 6’5” Jones. Oher slowed the rookie down as a pass rusher, as Jones picked up parts of 4 pressures (not all vs. Oher) and half a sack that was negated by a defensive hold (Q4, 4:15). However, Michael had a broad variety of blocking errors which include the action verbs/phrases “bulled” (x2), “slipped”, “arrived too late”, “beaten outside” (x2), “unable to slow”, “driven back”, “double-dipped outside”, and “failed stunt pickup”. After the Ravens first offensive play when he pulled and picked up a block in level 2, he didn’t have any further such blocks, nor did he register a pancake. He had a nice kickout on Jones to help spring Rice for a 15-yard gain (Q3, 15:00). He wasn’t penalized and I guess you could call the effort “bend-but-don’t break” LT given the apparent talent of Jones. Scoring: 52 blocks, 8 missed, ½ penetration, 1.5 pressures, 1 QH, 45 points (.70 per play). That score is pending review of the coaches video where he has 2 missed blocks that might have been QHs. He has yet to have a good game as a pass blocker and I’d call this a C effort, even with consideration for Jones. Nonetheless, his stock has risen in a relative sense (see McKinnie, Bryant).
Harewood: I had his score miscalculated for last week when I reported it as .64. His actual score was 10 points lower (.48 per play). That’s abysmal to be sure, but he recovered well against the Pats. On Sunday he had only 2 negative scoring plays. He was bulled back into Flacco by Love for a pressure (Q4, 13:13). On the very next play, he and Birk were both blocking Love and gave up at the same time, allowing the Pats DT a QH. Harewood gets 2/3 of the charge because he had the better blocking angle. Ramon was also fortunate to have his ½ sack allowed to Love negated by a defensive holding penalty (Q4, 4:15). He missed 5 blocks, all of which were run blocks in level 2 that included a slip, a whiff, and 3 times where he couldn’t find a target. He had just 2 blocks in level 2, so that’s a bad percentage on such opportunities, but it’s also something on which he should be able to improve with experience. He was not asked to pull. Scoring: 57 blocks, 5 missed, 1 pressure, 2/3 QH, 53 points (.83 per play). That’s a C+ outing at guard.
Birk: Matt had his first good game of the year with the aforementioned shared QH with Harewood his only negative play. He had some excellent point of attack movement, particular with double teams on Wilfork and Love. He had 7 blocks in level 2, and 1 pancake. One of his highlight blocks was his kickout of Mayo on Rice’s 9-yard run (Q4, 13:39). He slipped on his only pull (Q1, 12:40). Scoring: 62 blocks, 1 missed, 1/3 QH, 61 points (.95 per play).
Yanda: Marshal was penalized 3 times, matching his total for all of last season. His attempt to draw a neutral zone infraction flag on Wilfork (Q2, 12:11) failed, but was a good idea. He held Wilfork as he was bulled backwards and got slightly off balance (Q3, 5:54) which proved to be a drive killer. He was also beaten outside by Cunningham who he then dragged down for his 2nd hold (Q4, 6:55). He was otherwise outstanding, making all 64 blocks including 5 in level 2 and 3 pancakes. He connected on his only pull. On at least 3 occasions (Q2, 5:58 and Q1, 6:30 and Q3, 11:42), he had a pin and a 2nd subsequent block in level 2. On the last of those 3 plays, he pinned Wilfork for Osemele’s pancake, then blocked Hightower on Rice’s 7-yard TD run. Scoring: 64 blocks, 0 missed, 2 offensive holding, 1 False Start, 49 points (.77 per play). The deductions for penalties are fairly large for my system (-3 per 5 yards) and he gets no extra credit for some excellent individual run blocks, so this is a case where the objective grade (.77 = D+ at guard) is less than I would grade him subjectively. Given the quality of opposition, I’d call it a B-.
Osemele: It was a big comeback effort for Kelechi who had a fine night run blocking, was not penalized, and held his pass-blocking deductions to pressures. Osemele was bulled by Mayo (Q1, 1:30). He was bulled by Scott (Q4, 1:31) on the game-winning drive. He also shared a pressure with Oher (Q4, 4:21) when Scott beat him outside on what could have been called a hold. He missed just 1 run block while making 6 blocks in level 2 and 3 pancakes. Scoring: 55 blocks, 1 missed, 2.5 pressures, 55 points (.86 per play). B+.
McKinnie: In many cities, the backup quarterback is the most popular guy on the team. Until Sunday it seemed like the backup left tackle was in Baltimore. While Oher has struggled as a pass blocker, McKinnie had made his first dozen blocks including (uncharacteristically) 2 in level 2. Against the Pats, McKinnie reported eligible on 4th and 1 and lined up at LTE to the left of Oher. The Patriots moved Patrick Chung to take the edge. Oher got pushed back 3 yards which blew up the play, but McKinnie’s stood up and made no attempt to stop Chung or double Jones. Pierce lost a yard and I expect McKinnie lost his chance to reach his playing-time incentive. Scoring: 0 blocks, ½ penetration (-1.00 per play).
Other Offensive Notes:
- The Patriots rushed 5 just 4 times on Flacco’s 39 drop backs. 32 times they rushed 4, 3 times they rushed 3 and they did not send a single deceptive rush. Unlike the game against the Eagles, the Ravens effectively handled this plain pass rush, providing Flacco with ATS on 27 of 39 plays (69%)
- With ATS, Flacco completed 20 of 27 throws for 323 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (12.0 YPP).
- Without ATS he was 8 of 12 for 59 yards (4.9 YPP) with 1 TD and 0 INT. Both the ATS and non-ATS statistics are excellent.
- For the season, Flacco now has 4 TD and 0 INT without ATS.
- In addition to the interception, Flacco began the game in frustrating fashion by throwing his first 4 passes on 3rd down short of the sticks. Arrington tackled Boldin for a 5 yard gain over the middle on 3rd and 6 (11:39). Dickson was taken down for a 3-yard gain by the right sideline on 3rd and 5 (Q1, 5:55), Flacco threw an incomplete 2-yard pass to Rice on 3rd and 6 that was negated by a pass interference by Mayo, and only Boldin’s 5 YAC via extension converted 3rd and 13 (Q2, 11:28).
- Torrey Smith’s list of accomplishments was long. He dislodged an interception from McCourty (Q1, 0:30) on an overthrow 40 yards down the right sideline. Still on the same drive (Q2, 9:53) he went up high over Arrington for his first TD from 25 yards out. He caught a pass 20 yards from the LoS in front of McCourty (Q3, 12:18) which he then advanced for 12 YAC by avoiding McCourty and Gregory. Could Sterling Moore cover him? No, he got behind him for a 38-yard grab down the left sideline (Q3, 6:43) despite a hold from Moore. He again beat McCourty for a TD falling to the right side of the end zone (Q4, 4:08) to set up the Ravens final defensive stand.
- The Ravens twice attempted their signature zone blocking play with a boot. Each time, Flacco was forced to check down (Q1, 7:01 and Q2, 6:36) for gains of 2 and 1 respectively.
- Dickson made good run blocks on consecutive plays on the Ravens first TD drive. He kicked out Ninkovich to clear a lane for Rice’s 8 yard run (Q2, 10:53) and followed that with another block of Ninkovich on Rice’s 5-yard carry (Q2, 10:27)
- Ray Rice remains a poor pass blocker, but had a rare pancake on a chip block (Q2, 3:44).
- Jacoby Jones had 5 nice plays in 5 times he was targeted:
- After Boldin Cleared out Chung, Jones caught a pass 18 yards downfield near the left hash and raced for 23 YAC. As he went down he turtled to protect the football something I always liked about Derrick Mason.
- He failed to get his 2nd foot in for what would have been a 35-yard gain down the right sideline on McCourty’s forceout (Q3, 12:26).
- He caught a ball between the numbers and the left hash for 21 yards, including 9 YAC (Q4, 6:11).
- He made a 24-yard reception in front of McCourty down the right sideline (Q4, 1:55) on the first play of the game-winning drive.
- He positioned himself well for Flacco’s 27-yard throw down the right sideline and drew a pass interference flag on McCourty (Q4, 0:55) to set up the winning kick 2 plays later.
- The Ravens won despite allowing a franchise record 33 first downs, including 8 by penalty.
With the short week and travel, I’ll be unable to produce a review of the defense this week.