Flacco was sacked 4 times in 66 dropbacks. It’s never good to get sacked 4 times in a game, but that’s 6.1%, below the 6.7% rate at which Ravens QB’s were sacked in 2012. It’s always good to start with the positives.
The scoring is based on 87 offensive snaps for the Ravens, all of which were contested.
McKinnie: Bryant brain farted when he failed to zone block with the rest of the line, leaving Irving untouched to take down Rice for a loss of 2 (Q3, 12:30). He was party to 6 pressures (2 full and 4 shared) which would be quite bad normally, but he did not allow a QH or sack in 66 dropbacks. His blocking highlight was a kickout on Phillips to lead Pierce’s 14-yard run left (Q1, 11:09). Scoring: 75 blocks, 5 missed, 1 penetration, 4 pressures, 65 points (.75 per play). That’s a C effort.
Osemele: Kelechi regressed from last year’s outstanding playoff run. I charged him with 4 shared pressures, all of which might stem from responsibility recognition. He failed to pick up Harris, who came delayed (Q1,7:30). Ayers split a double between him and McKinnie (Q3, 2:45). That same pair botched a stunt handoff (Q4, 6:54) which freed both Ayers and Phillips for pressure. Osemele also failed to pick up the stunting Phillips who knocked down Flacco as he threw his first interception (Q2, 11:47). He was also beaten outside by Knighton (Q2, 3:19) as Flacco threw incomplete. He made 2 of 3 blocks in level 2, had 2 pancakes, and pulled successfully on both attempts. Scoring: 76 blocks, 4 missed, 1 penetration, 2 pressures, 2 QHs, 1 false start, 61 points (.70 per play). D with a slight upgrade for quality of competition.
Gradkowski: Denver stunted successfully with frequency. Gradkowski and Osemele were the primary victims. Gino had an unnecessary roughness flag that was part of a team meltdown with the game already decided. On the plus side, he made 5 of 7 blocks in L2, including 1 pancake. Scoring: 75 blocks, 5 missed, 3 pressures, ½ QH, 1/3 sack, 1 unnecessary roughness, 56.5 points (.65 per play). That’s a poor game for a center, F. Take out the charge for the penalty and his score would improve to .75, which is a borderline F/D-.
Yanda: With the exception of rolling Oher’s ankle at the goal line and a shared late pressure, he was in top form. He drove his man off the ball well, delivered 3 pancakes, and 5 blocks in level 2. He and Osemele combined for an effective trap of Knighton (Q1, 3:32) when Kelechi pushed the massive nose tackle by to his left and Yanda pulled to obstruct him from the play. On that play, Osemele picked up DRC in level 2 and Rice exploited the opening for a 9-yard gain. Yanda had a good lead block on the screen to Rice (Q2, 9:35). Scoring: 85 blocks, 1 missed, ½ pressure, 84 points (.97 per play). A.
Oher: He played decently before leaving with his sprained ankle. Ayers bulled him for a late QH that I thought should have been flagged (Q1, 10:03). He was bulled and beaten inside by Phillips who dropped Pierce for a loss of 2 (Q2, 11:35). On the plus side, he had 1 pancake and 2 blocks in level 2. Scoring: 30 blocks, 0 missed, 1 penetration, 1 QH, 25 points (.78 per play). C+.
Wagner: He replaced Oher on the Ravens’ 6th drive and had an awful NFL debut. It appears he’ll have trouble with speed rushers as he was outraced to the edge consistently by Phillips. Looking for a positive, I’d say he made 9 of his 10 run blocks and was not responsible for any penetration. Scoring: 57 plays, 49 blocks, 2 missed, 2.5 pressures, 2.33 sacks, 25 points (.53 per play). F. It was an F, but not a Cousins F.
Other Offensive Notes:
- Flacco had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 31 of 66 drop backs (47%). That’s just a little below average for the last 3 seasons (50%).
- With ATS, Flacco completed 17 of 31 throws for 195 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (6.3 YPP). That’s approximately 70 yards worse than his expectation for 31 ATS throws based on his results in 2010-12 (8.6 YPP). Some of that was attributable to drops, but Joe did not have a good night either.
- Without ATS he was 17 of 31 for 167 gross yards plus an interception and 4 sacks for 27 to bring his net total to 140 yards on 35 non-ATS opportunities. That’s 4.0 YPP, which is his average for the last 3 years as well.
- Without their 2 top edge rushers from 2012, the Broncos still stayed primarily with 4-man pressure (45 of 66 dropbacks). They rushed 5 on 15 occasions and 6 or more 6 times.
- A team which has 7 passes defensed (PDs) per game will typically be close to the league lead. The Gamebook scores the Broncos for 14 PDs Thursday which was indicative of a Ravens team with their own form of separation anxiety. That is to say they failed to get separation and were too easily separated from the football.
- Clark was bad, but Flacco kept throwing to him despite the fact he caught just 7 of the 12 balls thrown his way. To summarize from my notes:
- (Q1, 7:30) Flacco threw him an ill-advised ball that was thankfully incomplete with Clark doubled by Ihenacho and Woodyard.
- (Q1, 7:17) He was wide open in the back of the end zone as the Ravens effectively picked up a 9-man pass rush, but Flacco threw to Leach who fought past Woodyard to score. Clark had his hands in the air wondering why he didn’t get the ball, but in retrospect, that might have been the safe throw.
- (Q2, 10:56) He had a 31-yard catch and run when covered by the zone-dropping Ayers. The Broncos DE went for the interception, just missed, and Clark took the ball in at the line of scrimmage and ran for 31 YAC.
- (Q2, 1:33) He caught a 5-yard pass between the numbers and left hash and was taken down without YAC by Moore.
- (Q2, 1:18) Travathan knocked away a pass intended for him. Clark called for a flag, but the replay showed a lack of separation and nice reach around PD by the Broncos LB.
- (Q2, 0:33) He converted a 3rd and 5 with a 7-yard catch between the hashes (0 YAC).
- (Q2, 0:15) He dropped the sure TD at the end of the half with a step on Travathan.
- (Q3, 9:20) He was hit hard by Moore who dislodged a 14-yard catch between the numbers and left hash. Clark had difficulty getting up.
- (Q3, 2:45) He caught a 9-yard pass to convert 3rd and 7 near the left sideline (0 YAC).
- (Q3, 2:12) Ihenacho was up quickly to make a nice PD on what otherwise would have been an easy catch by the left sideline.
- (Q4, 11:19) Clark broke open in front of Lenon on a crossing route that seemed destined for a mess of YAC. He outraced the Broncos LB and a missed tackle by Adams before he was stripped by Irving. Fortunately, Moore had tugged Clark’s facemask and the 27-yard catch (5 + 22 YAC) was credited.
- Clark has neither the frame nor the physicality to be effective contesting NFL defenders for the football. He needs to rely on his route-running savvy, ability to read zone defenses, and skill at reading his personal defender to generate separation. Over the last several years, he’s been intermittently effective in terms of catching the football, but I’d say his hands have been somewhat above average from the PFF scoring. Here’s hoping Thursday night was an aberration.
- Dickson’s problem appears to be different. He was targeted 5 times with only 1 catch:
- (Q2, 15:00) He could not hang on to a 3rd –and-17 bullet from Flacco when hit by Adams.
- (Q2, 11:01, see below) Flacco’s throw rolling left was out of his reach.
- (Q2, 9:42) He had Ihenacho beaten and the Broncos safety held him which negated an incomplete and extended the Ravens’ second TD drive.
- (Q3, 11:55) Joe again threw incomplete to him crossing against Travathan (Q3, 11:55). Dickson had a step on the Broncos LB and the ball was a little in front, but Dickson could have secured it with a good catch.
- (Q4, 13:13) He got past Travathan with a good move at the LoS and appeared in good position to secure a 20-yard pass on the right hash, but Ed appeared to see Ihenacho and lost the football before contact.
- (Q4, 11:48) He secured the football with a nice dive towards the right sideline.
- Dickson needs to be part of the Ravens’ plans this season, because he’s one of their few receivers that can get open. However, he’ll never be a top 15 TE if he can’t move fearlessly across the middle of the field and maintain possession with both anticipated and actual contact.
- Marlon Brown replaced the injured Jacoby Jones and played fairly well. He had a drop on a back-shoulder throw (Q3, 2:07), but he otherwise glided through a variety of routes. Flacco targeted him 6 times in less than 3 quarters, so there appears to be a connection.
- Caldwell continues to design plays where Flacco rolls left. Joe is as uncomfortable doing so as any right-handed QB you’ll ever watch, and the results are consistently bad. In the divisional thriller in January he had 4 such plays and the last of them was nearly a game-sealing, OT pick by Adams which was fortunately out of bounds. On Thursday:
- (Q1, 10:31) Flacco threw left off the naked boot to Leach as the line zone blocked to the right. The play went for 4 yards (-3 + 7 YAC).
- (Q1, 3:39) Flacco rolled left in the end zone and threw the ball away under pressure.
- (Q2, 11:01) Flacco rolled left and threw just out of reach of Dickson who was open 14 yards downfield. That’s a throw Flacco virtually never misses with his feet set.
Turns out I have another positive to close this piece as the entire AFC North had dropped into a tie with the Ravens at 0-1.