Simply looking at Flacco’s raw statistics won’t tell you much about his game in Pittsburgh. Four separate times, Flacco led the Ravens down the field for scores. Usually, this wouldn’t be a good thing. In this instance, however, it is something the Ravens offense should be proud of, considering they only had the ball seven times the entire game.
With decent receiver play and improved pass protection, Flacco proved that he can move the ball between the 20s. But, I wouldn’t call his performance perfect by any means. He did have a bad underthrow to Jacoby Jones who was open in the end zone. Other than that, Flacco hit his receivers in stride with great velocity. While almost every Raven was out performed by his counterpart on the Steelers, Flacco definitely outperformed Roethlisberger.
Again, Monroe showed exactly why the Ravens traded for him. The guy is a BEAST. Just like last game, Monroe was excellent in pass protection, not allowing one sack or hit. And the Steelers didn’t hold back on him, either. Like any smart team would, the Steelers sent many exotic blitzes at the new tackle, and he handled them perfectly every time.
The big difference between Monroe and McKinnie, endurance, showed up clearly in the fourth quarter. Usually, when the Ravens would utilize the no-huddle near the end of the game, you could see McKinnie visibly tired with his hands on his knees. But, not Monroe. The 26 year old former Jaguar was ready to roll all game, and I’m sure Flacco was grateful for that.
After a nagging foot injury, we’re finally getting to see the raw talent of Brandon Williams. In his first three games, Williams registered a solid 1.8 PFF grade, proving himself a developmental force along the defense line. Against the Steelers, Williams displayed the same eye-popping quickness that led to his selection in the third round of the draft, despite the fact that he attended Missouri Southern State University.
While he wasn’t an every down player, Williams played enough snaps to make an impact. And, that impact was important since the rest of the defense didn’t come to play. Williams’ sack of Roethlisberger may have been the play of the game for the defense. I’m not sure his playing time will increase with the depth the Ravens have on the defensive line, but I won’t be surprised if Williams soon starts stealing a couple more snaps per game.
With “fax-machine-gate” behind him, Dumervil has actually been one of the team’s best defenders this season. While Suggs gets all the credit because of his sack total, Dumervil has dominated in his role. Unfortunately, Dumervil’s strong start to the season was upended against the Steelers, as he provided little pressure and had difficulty defending the run.
What was baffling about Dumervil’s poor performance was that it came against Guy Whimper and Marcus Gilbert, two struggling players. He should have been all over Roethlisberger the entire game. Instead, he was nearly invisible.
After a strong game against the Packers, I expected Jones to obliterate the dreadful Steelers offensive line. Apparently, my expectations were too high. All game, Jones was pushed off of the line of the scrimmage by players less talented them him. Even when he did disengage from blockers, he just couldn’t make a tackle. This was a team that couldn’t run the ball at all coming into this game, and Jones’ poor effort was a major reason for their success.
As a pass rusher, Jones showed no explosiveness. Just last week, Jones generated a push against a top-notch interior line, but that was nowhere to be found against the Steelers. He was almost a completely different player. And, that is something that cannot happen going forward.
I don’t think Michael Oher is a quality player. And I’ve made that pretty clear in past articles. But sometimes, he does such stupid things that I have to go out of my way to point them out. Namely, his inability to block against a three-man rush. Let me break this down for you.
Against a three-man rush, tackles can play the outside shoulder of the pass rusher aggressively because they have help from a guard on the inside. It SHOULD be easy for Oher to block against a three-man rush. Yet, Oher allowed a crucial pressure in that exact situation. That’s inexcusable, and something that he has done multiple times this season.
Aside from this gaffe, Oher was decent in pass protection. However, his run blocking was awful, like it usually is. Much has been made about the Ravens going away from zone stretch plays, and Oher’s failure to set the edge is a big reason for that. Eventually, the Ravens will have to consider starting Ricky Wagner in Oher’s place. And if Oher continues to play like he did against the Steelers, that consideration should come sooner rather than later.