Success with Limited Time and Space
Last week, Joe Flacco suffered through one of the worst games of his career with 5 interceptions, 4 of which came without pressure from the pass rush.
This week, Flacco turned the tables on the Dolphins, delivering a big game despite constant pressure. He had ample time and space (ATS) on just 11 of 34 drop backs (32%).
Here is a look at his numbers both with and without ATS versus the Dolphins:
(1) YPP ~ Yards Per Pass (includes sacks)
Those numbers become much more meaningful when compared to Flacco’s history in such situations. For 2010-12 Flacco averaged 8.6 YPP with ATS and 4.0 YPP without. That’s the basis I use when I convert the opportunities to an expected number of passing yards. For Sunday, it would look like this:
So Joe outperformed his opportunities by 66 yards.
Here is a review of Joe’s most significant non-ATS throws versus the Dolphins:
(Q1, 12:20) On 3rd and 5, the Ravens lined up with 4 standing receivers wide (2 x 2) and Rice in the backfield. The Dolphins rushed 4 and Starks beat Osemele inside, then got by Gradkowski on his left to knock down Flacco just after he released. Joe’s throw was caught just 2 yards past the line of scrimmage (LoS) between the numbers and left hash by Torrey Smith who crossed from the left, then reversed his field. The ball was perfectly placed for YAC and Smith outraced Grimes and Wilson down the left sideline for a gain of 41.
(Q1, 4:32) On 3rd and 11, the Ravens lined up with 3 receivers and backs to either side of Flacco in the shotgun. For the only time all game, the Dolphins rushed 7. Shipley was bulled by Starks into Flacco’s face. Nonetheless, Flacco threw a strike to Doss, who was well covered by Wilson between the numbers and the left hash for 11 yards and the first down.
(Q2, 13:40) On 2nd and 9, Dickson lined up in a 3-point stance at RTE. Gradkowski was walked straight back into the pocket by Soliai, but Flacco hit Dickson between the numbers and left hash. Jones, who trailed slightly in coverage, went for a PD, but Dickson made the catch and added 27 YAC for a 43-yard gain.
(Q3, 6:19) On 2nd and 4, the Ravens lined up with Doss as the outside receiver in a bunch right. The Dolphins rushed 4 and Vernon beat McKinnie inside to put a jarring knockdown on Flacco after he threw. Joe lofted a deep ball down the right sideline, well over the coverage of Taylor, and Doss adjusted well to make the catch over his right shoulder for a gain of 40 (26 + 14 YAC).
(Q3, 1:26) On 3rd and 10, the Ravens lined up with 4 standing receivers and Rice in the backfield. Jones blitzed past Rice as the 5th rusher and through the pocket. Unfazed, Flacco read the Dolphins’ zone perfectly and put the football in the middle of the deep right triangle. Smith made his cut directly behind LCB Wilson and adjusted well to the football to haul it in for a gain of 22 (20 + 2 YAC) between the numbers and right hash. If you watch the top view with the coaches tape, you’ll see Flacco had to trust Smith implicitly to run the route correctly as he was delivering to an empty spot in the zone.
(Q4, 8:24) On 3rd and 22, the Ravens lined up with 3 of 4 standing receivers to the right. The Dolphins rushed 4 and McKinnie hesitated in his initial move to cut off rookie Dion Jordan from turning the corner. Jordan reached out and got a piece of the football as Flacco threw, tipping the ball high in the air for an interception by Jones that was returned 25 yards for the tying score.
(Q4, 3:09) The Ravens had 1st and 10 and were driving for the eventual winning score from the Miami 48. Wagner was in on the jumbo formation at RTE immediately following consecutive 6-yard runs. The Ravens zone blocked left and Flacco ran a naked bootleg right. Bajema was too slow to seal Misi who applied pressure. Smith again was Flacco’s target crossing from the left side and made the catch of a slightly-high throw for a gain of 14 (14 + 0 YAC).
In the last 3 seasons, Flacco has had just a handful of games under pressure as good as Sunday. The most recent was the Ravens’ division-clinching win over the Giants in week 16 of last season.