Daryl Smith has been the one Raven on defense who has made consistent takeaway contributions.
On Sunday, the game against the Bears was lost on two challenged strips involving Smith, neither of which was ruled in the Ravens’ favor.
(Q1, 9:20) Lardarius Webb dislodged the football from Jeffery, who was initially ruled down after a 7-yard completion between the numbers and left hash. Daryl Smith picked up the loose football. After review, Steratore ruled the pass incomplete; Jeffery took a full step and was in the process of going to the ground of his own accord before Webb punched the ball loose with his left hand.
(Q4, 12:48) McCown threw to Jeffery for 8 yards between the numbers and left hash. Jimmy Smith wrapped up the receiver as Daryl Smith stripped him. The ball was out between Jeffery’s legs, and appeared to be recovered initially by Smith on the ground. While not explained in exactly this way, I assume Steratore ruled that clear possession could not be established, so the catch held up as a completion with fumble recovered by Jeffery.
Including the horrific review of Green’s fumble in Baltimore, there have now been three apparent fumble recoveries by Smith in two games which have gone against the Ravens on review.
The Bears ran just 58 contested offensive snaps in an OT game:
Versus the Run: 25 plays, 105 yards, 4.2 YPC
Versus the Pass: 33 plays, 215 yards, 6.5 YPP
Overall: 58 plays, 320 yards, 5.5 YPPA
By number of defensive backs:
3 DBs: None
4 DBs: 28/119, 4.0 YPPA, 1 sack
5 DBs: 30/207, 6.9, 1 sack
6 DBs: None
By number of pass rushers:
3: 2/25, 12.5 YPP
4: 15/112, 7.5 YPP, 1 sack
5: 11/71, 6.5 YPP, 1 sack
6: 3/1, 0.3 YPP
7: 2/6, 3.0 YPP
Jimmy Smith played one of his best career games last week versus the Bengals, but was overshadowed by Webb’s multi-purpose effort. On Sunday, Smith turned in his second consecutive top-shelf performance against a dangerous set of receivers. Let’s review:
- (Q1, 15:00) McCown threw a WR screen left for Marshall who caught the ball at the line of scrimmage, but was immediately driven back by Smith for no gain.
- (Q1, 9:17) McCown threw off his back foot as he was taken down hard by Canty. The ball sailed high to Bennett, who brought it down and tapped his toes for a gain of 1 as he fell out of bounds. What does this have to do with Jimmy Smith? He was close and guarding the sticks so the play would have been stopped short even if on target.
- (Q2, 9:11) Smith was called for defensive holding that was not replayed, but delivered a PD in coverage of Jeffery in the end zone.
- (Q2, 9:05) McCown threw a slant left for Marshall in the end zone, but Smith disrupted it from behind. No PD was credited, but Smith’s play caused the incompletion.
- (Q2, 8:59) Smith had tight coverage on McCown’s back shoulder throw to Marshall in the left corner of the end zone. He reached in to deny the Bears’ receiver a TD for the 2nd time in 3 plays. The Bears would have to settle for a FG.
- (Q2, 4:04) McCown threw a screen left to Forte good for 6 yards (-5 + 11 YAC). With the Bears’ blockers set in front, Smith got off the block from Brandon Marshall to make the tackle.
- (Q2, 0:10) McCown again tested Smith as he threw deep left for Marshall in the end zone. Smith allowed Marshall to go up for the ball, catch it, and forced him out before he could tap his toes. It was terrific sideline use and awareness.
- (Q4, 14:16) Smith again had tight coverage of Marshall by the left sideline and attempted a force out. This time, Marshall had a little more space with which to work and got both feet down for a 16-yard reception.
- (Q4, 12:48) McCown threw to Jeffery for 8 yards between the numbers and left hash. Smith wrapped up the receiver as Daryl Smith stripped him. The ball was clearly fumbled, but clear possession could not be established, so the catch held up.
Both Smith and Webb were listed with groin injuries during the week, but both played effectively. If the Ravens are to recover to make the playoffs, it will be the corners who will have to lead the way defensively.
The Bears ran a number of plays with a 6-man line. That, coupled with some trickery helped the Bears dominate the edge against a Ravens team that is rarely beaten there. To review the good and bad:
- (Q1, 14:25) Forte eluded Suggs outside for a gain of 15.
- (Q2, 13:23) Upshaw was stood up by Bennett as Canty was blocked by 6th lineman Britton. Forte ran through the resulting D gap for a gain of 20 which was extended by a horse-collar tackle by Webb.
- (Q2, 11:04) Jeffery ran an 11-yard reverse left with the lead block Rosario’s undercut of Suggs.
- (Q3, 6:21) With the Bears 3rd-and-4 from their own 45-yd line, Jeffery again reversed right, Suggs was sealed by FB Fiammetta and the play gained 7 yards and a 1st down.
- (Q3, 1:32) Upshaw was driven back by Britton and Bennett. Daryl Smith attempted to fill, but was blocked by Long. Those blocks led the way for a 5-yard run right by Forte.
- (Q4, 12:01) Suggs was sealed inside by Marshall (uggh) as Bushrod pulled to lead Forte for a 10-yard run left.
- (Q4, 8:27) Jeffery again ran a reverse right, but Upshaw sniffed it out and penetrated past Fiammetta to force the play well outside. Jeffery slid down in front of Daryl Smith for a loss of 1.
- (OT, 10:02) Upshaw lost the left edge to Bennett’s seal as Forte ran left for 7 yards.
After all that, there were 3 plays that cost the Ravens the game:
- (Q4, 10:42) McCown threw a screen right to Forte 2 yards behind the LoS between the numbers and right hash. Daryl Smith missed an opportunity at the LoS, Graham missed a tackle 5 yards past the LoS, and Forte and his blockers rolled over Ihedigbo inside the 5-yard line for the TD that put Chicago ahead.
- (OT, 11:33) The Ravens had the Bears 3rd and 9 from their own 21 in OT. They lined up with trips right with coverage by Arthur Brown, Webb, and Graham. It appears Brown had shallow coverage and should have chased Jeffery. Instead, Brown jammed Bennett and Jeffery crossed free for a 14-yard catch (6 + 8 YAC) between the numbers and left hash. Graham attempted to chase down the blown coverage on Jeffery late, but signaled angrily back across the field after the play. If you look back to the Patriots’ only TD in last year’s AFCC, you’ll see a similar reaction from Graham when Chykie Brown blew the coverage on Wes Welker. From all appearances, Graham is a savvy coverage corner and I can understand why there has been talk of moving him to safety at some point. Someday, but right now he is too valuable at corner.
- (OT, 10:52) The Ravens sent a 5-man pass rush that included Matt Elam, but did not produce any pressure. McCown threw high for Bennett who pulled the ball in over Lardarius Webb between the right hash and numbers. Both Webb and Ihedigbo missed tackles which allowed Bennett 16 YAC on the 43-yard play and put the Bears in position for the winning FG.