Anquan Boldin has carried the Ravens’ receiving corps at times this season, but heading into his final year under contract, he has some weaknesses which aren’t going away, and others that are being exacerbated by his reduced speed.
He was targeted 8 times with 2 catches, but might have caught any of three balls that went incomplete.
– He was slowed following the flight of the ball over his head and couldn’t quite catch up to a deep ball down the right sideline when he had Jammer beat (Q1, 9:56).
– Gilchrist had tight coverage and didn’t find the football, but he distracted Boldin from picking up a well-thrown ball which would have converted a 3rd down (Q1, 7:35)
– He got a piece of the high throw (Q4, 2:18) that was nearly picked off by Weddle on the right sideline.
A younger Boldin would have made at least 2 of those 3 catches. Add the personal foul to this list and you have a pretty bad game.
However, his awareness was never more apparent than on Rice’s 4th and 29 conversion (Q4, 1:59). All four split receivers ran routes to at least the 30. Pitta crossed the hashes, giving the Ravens two targets on each side. As the pass went to Rice, Boldin stood near the numbers on the left side at the 27-yard line. He’s lost (even on the top view) as Rice was breaking across the field, but you then see a full-speed Boldin lining up Weddle who was moving to intercept Rice as Ray turned the corner and moved back upfield. Boldin anticipated the spot, set Rice up to work off his block, didn’t lead with the helmet to risk injury or a penalty, and delivered the blow at full speed with his side to flatten the Chargers’ Pro Bowler.
Should it have been flagged? Quite possibly, but Boldin helped avoid the flag by identifying the interception point such that he arrived a split second sooner and delivered the block in a way that appeared clean. It’s among the best efforts I’ve ever seen a receiver make to throw a block.
The Ravens had 88 snaps (excluding Flacco’s 3 kneels) and the starting linemen played every snap:
Oher: Michael regressed against the Chargers. He was beaten outside by Barnes for a sack (Q4, 2:07), but recovered Flacco’s fumble on the play to set up Rice’s dramatic conversion. Liuget moved across his face for penetration to take down Pierce for a loss of two on 4th and 1 (Q3, 0:34). The seven pressure events had a consistent theme:
- (Q1, 9:56) Split 4-way pressure when Liuget split double team with him and Reid
- (Q1, 2:15) Bulled by Reyes
- (Q3, 12:29) Shared a pressure with Rice on overload left
- (Q4, 5:01) Bulled low by Barnes
- (Q4, 2:12) Bulled by Liuget
- (OT, 10:06) Allowed PD by Liuget despite being engaged and holding ground
- (OT, 3:20) Bulled by Ingram
Scoring: 71 blocks, 7 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 5.75 pressures (5 + 0.5 + 0.25) pressures, 1 sack, 50.5 points (.57 per play). D with an adjustment for recovering the fumble. It was barely a passing grade, but it was a poor day in most dimensions.
Reid: Including his false start Sunday, Jah now has been penalized in each of his three starts. He shared a sack with Leach and Pierce (Q3, 9:36) when he failed to pick up JJ coming on a delay. With Oher, Reid, and Birk from LT to C, I expect opposing teams will try to scheme more pressure from the blind side. What’s to like? He pulled successfully on all three efforts. Scoring: 78 blocks, 3 missed, 1 penetration, 1 + 0.25 pressures, 1/2 QH, 1/3 sack, 1 false start, 65 points (.74 per play). D.
Birk: Matt faced a stiff challenge from Corey Liuget, who was the best player on the field Sunday. Birk was unable to handle the stunt handoff of Liuget (Q1, 2:02) and fell to his knees on the nine-yard sack. As the Ravens zone blocked left (Q2, 14:41), Liuget crossed Birk’s face to take down Pierce for a loss of one. He also shared a pressure with Reid (Q4, 5:55) when Liuget split the double team. He made nine of 12 blocks in level 2. Scoring: 81 blocks, 3 missed, 1 penetration, 0.75 pressure, 1 sack, 71.5 points (.81 per play). D.
Yanda: Marshal was visibly upset with the ticky-tack holding call, but he’s been penalized as many times this season (7) in 733 snaps (using PFF numbers) as he had been in 2,157 snaps spanning 2010 and 2011. He was bulled by Reyes for a pressure (Q1, 7:35). He allowed a PD by Reyes (Q4, 3:09) after he gave some ground on the first play of the Ravens’ game-tying drive. Garay beat him inside to force Pierce’s run left (Q3, 9:00) for a penetration shared with Oher. He’s allowed half a penetration in each of the last 2 weeks, the only two negative running plays he’s been party to this season. Scoring: 80 blocks, 4 missed, 0.25 penetration, 2.25 pressures, 1 offensive holding, 68.5 points (.78 per play). C, including an adjustment for the neutral zone infraction drawn on Garay (Q4, 4:23) that immediately preceded the four-yard TD pass to Pitta.
Osemele: Kelechi didn’t have a great day by any means, but there were signs of improvement. For the 4th straight week, he led the team in missed blocks with seven, but those came in 88 snaps, which is a significant improvement in miss rate (previous three weeks 14.6%, SD 8.0%). He allowed a pair of sacks, both in a seven play sequence in Q2. Barnes stuttered then sped by him on the outside to take down Flacco for a six-yard loss (Q2, 3:04). Phillips was then able to get outside, turn the corner, and take down Flacco by the ankle (Q2, 0:50). He was the key lead on Rice’s 16-yard run (Q1, 9:49) when he kicked out Martin to Dickson, then turned left to seal/pancake Spikes. When I think of the top tier of offensive linemen, it’s those pin-and-turn moves that stick in my mind. An example from the 2009 Wild Card game was Yanda’s pin of Wilfork followed by an immediate turn to the right to kickout Guyton. That sprang Rice for his 83-yard TD. Scoring: 88 plays, 78 blocks, 7 missed, 0.25 pressure, 2 sacks, 65 points (.74 per play). C.
McKinnie: He was inserted for the failed 4th and 1 and made a block on his only snap.
- The Ravens outsnapped the Chargers 88-65 which was their first such advantage since week 4 against the Browns. The last time the Ravens lost the snap count total for six straight weeks was in 2002 (weeks 9-14). Having the defense on the field for more snaps has contributed to a tired defense.
- Flacco’s first 20 drop backs: 9/17, 60 yards (40 net), 3 sacks/20 yards, 2.0 YPP QBR 60.9
- Flacco’s remaining attempts: 21/34, 295 yards (276 net), 2 sacks/19 yards, 1 TD, 7.7 YPP, QBR 99.5
- For the game, Flacco had ATS on 27 of 56 dropbacks (48%). With ATS, he was 19/27 for 267 yards, 1 TD/0 INT (9.9 YPP).
- Without ATS, he was 11/24 for 88 yards (49 net) with five sacks for 39 yards (1.7 YPP). That’s substantially below his season average of 3.7 YPP without ATS.