The 2007 Ravens were the last Baltimore team with as many players asked to do more than they can do well defensively:
–The 2007 team scraped the absolute bottom of the CB barrel trying Ivy, Martin, Pittman, finally resorting to street pickup Willie Gaston–all on the outside.
–For the first 6 games of the season the 2007 team got very little pass rush from their down linemen (they were 0 for 44 on their initial 4-man rushes) and resorted to dime pressure from Jerome Sapp and Corey Ivy.
–The team lost Trevor Pryce early and played a set of run stuffers in the middle Bannan, Edwards, Gregg, and Ngata on the inside on 1st down which made the team vulnerable to the pass (8.4 YPP on 1st down).
–Backup safety Jamaine Winborne was activated to commit a game-losing penalty that denied a signature win on Monday night versus the undefeated Patriots.
–Nick Greisen was signed for special teams and depth at linebacker. He ended up playing 155 snaps.
Is any of this starting to sound familiar?
The Raiders had 73 offensive snaps, which means the Ravens (61 snaps) lost the snap-count battle for the 5th straight game.
Versus the Run: 24 plays, 72 yards, 3.0 YPC
Versus the Pass: 49 plays, 350 yards, 7.1 YPP
Overall: 73 plays, 422 yards, 5.8 YPPA
By number of defensive backs:
3 DBs: 1/-4, -4.0 YPP, 1 sack
4 DBs: 25/107, 4.3 YPP
5 DBs: 40/252, 6.3 YPP, 2 TO, 2 sacks
6 DBs: 7/67, 9.6 YPP
By number of pass rushers:
3 or fewer: 5/10, 2.0 YPP
4: 34/284, 8.4 YPP, 1 sack
5: 7/7, 1.0 YPP, 2 sack, 1 TO
6: 3/49, 16.3 YPP
- On 7 plays the Ravens lined up in the dime and each time with no true interior lineman on the field. Suggs was on the field for 5 of those and McClellan the other 2. Each play had Ellerbe/Kruger/McClain/Upshaw and the dime defensive backfield of Brown/Graham/Ihedigbo/Pollard/Williams/Reed (replaced once by Considine). I’d like to say those plays were uniformly successful, but the plays included 4 incompletes, a run for 2, a pass for 10, and the 55-yard TD pass to Moore that was the Raiders’ longest of the day.
- The Ravens rushed only 2 men (Q4, 8:16) and Tyson registered a QH after approximately 5.5 seconds. Jones was also closing in for a hit as the ball was thrown incomplete.
- Cody played well with the initial push on Brisiel which caused him to step on Palmer’s foot (Q1, 11;53). Cody would finish with 3 tackles, including a takedown of Reece for a gain of 1 where he worked off a block from Brisiel (Q1, 12:40). Neither NT was overused (Cody 21 snaps, Kemo 19), so both should be fresh against the Steelers.
- DeAngelo Tyson had a pair of tipped passes at the LoS in addition to the aforementioned QH on the 2-man rush. He contributed 29 snaps. Bryan Hall also had 28 snaps. It was the largest career total for both players
- Upshaw had a number of fine plays:
- He penetrated off the ORS to take down Reece for a loss of 2 (Q1, 3:15). Unfortunately, McClain was held on the play by Wisniewski, the Ravens accepted that penalty, and the Raiders would subsequently convert.
- The Raiders tried an end around with Haywood-Bey (Q1, 1:02), but Upshaw maintained his position and took down the WR for a loss of 4.
- He drew a hold on Brisiel (Q2, 6:25) when he beat him to the inside.
- From a -point stance (DT), he bulled Brisiel 3 yards into the backfield then leaped to bat down Palmer’s pass (Q3, 11:19)
- He held the left edge well (Q3, 5:36) versus Myers to take down Jones for a gain of 3.
- He worked off Brisiel to tackle Reece for a gain of 2 (Q4, 8:43) when he lined up as a DT.
- Upshaw accumulated 56 snaps for the game, including a number in a 3-point stance on the inside of a 4-man pass rush. He’s undersized there and was pushed around some as a pass rusher. The PD was the only real impact he had. Upshaw will be a central figure this week against the Steelers. I expect Pittsburgh will try to keep the game out of Leftwich’s hands by running and Courtney will be needed back on the edge for the bulk of the snaps. If McPhee is able to return, I’d expect Pernell would be used inside on pass rushing downs.
- Kruger found himself in the right spot all day and most of it wasn’t simply good fortune. He vultured a sack when Cody forced Brisiel back to trip up Palmer (Q1, 11:53). Kruger was furthest of any of the linemen when Palmer tripped and nonetheless was in like a cat to touch down the QB. Kruger knocked down Palmer (Q1, 8:03), which went unrecorded in the Gamebook. Paul was unblocked by Veldheer who left to lead the WR screen left (Q2, 6:14), leapt to tip the pass, and hauled in his own tip for the interception. He beat Smith outside for another unrecorded QH (Q3, 0:36). He lined up in a standing 3 technique on the offensive left side and beat Mike Brisiel (wow, he had a bad game) outside to sack Palmer for a loss of 7. His run highlight was working off Myers to the inside to take down Reece for a gain of just 1 (Q4, 10:42).
- Kruger has had some extreme games this season, both good and bad. I continue to believe he’ll be a lot more valuable to this team if his primary use is as a situational pass rusher.
- In a difficult defensive season, the Ravens have some small victories (aside from the large game victories). They held the Raiders to 72 yards on 24 carries Sunday which brings them down to 3.95 YPC. The Ravens remain the only franchise that has never allowed 4.0 YPC in a season.
- Last year the Ravens had some bad turnover results with fumbles recovered as a percentage of those forced. The league average was 67%, but they had recovered just 11 of 21 when I looked at it. This season, the Ravens have forced 3 fumbles and recovered 6! Only the Lions (3 FF / 4 FR) and Browns (5 FF / 6 FR) have more FR than FF. The 3 FFs are tied for last in the NFL and I’d venture to say that’s a function of the poor pass rush.