Fixing the offensive line is the Ravens’ major offseason priority. I expect 3, if not 4 of Sunday’s starters will not be on the team in 2014.
The scoring against the Bengals is better than the overall offensive result for several reasons. Several of the pass-rush events were a function of failed blocks by eligible receivers or free rushers, there were no runs for negative yardage, and the number of missed blocks was low.
The Bengals rushed 3 or 4 men on 42 of 52 drop backs. Despite the conservative rush by numbers, Flacco had ample time and space (ATS) on just 26 of 52 plays. That was a function of overloads and the confusion created by the Bengals’ pre-snap looks and movement. Joe did not complete a single pass of more than 14 yards, which I guess is the record for a game with 50 passes.
Flacco averaged 5.6 YPP with ATS, 1.2 YPP without ATS, and underperformed his opportunity set by 151 yards based on his 2010-12 averages with and without ATS. It was his worst performance of the season.
The scoring of the offensive line is based on 66 offensive snaps:
Monroe: Monroe had a poor final contract audition versus the Bengals that included 6 pass-rush events:
• (Q2, 1:07) He was beaten outside by Michael Johnson for a sack.
• (Q3, 6:35) He was beaten outside by Johnson again, this time for a pressure.
• (Q3, 5:19) Monroe and Shipley failed the stunt pickup on Gilberry and Johnson for a shared pressure on Flacco’s TD pass.
• (Q4, 13:29) Shipley and Monroe doubled Johnson, but he was nonetheless able to get his hands up for a PD that was intercepted by Crocker. That’s scored as a shared pressure for Monroe and Shipley.
• (Q4, 8:03) Eugene was bulled into Flacco by Johnson.
• (Q4, 3:36) Monroe and Shipley botched another stunt handoff for a pressure.
As you can see, 3 of the events above involved Shipley. Monroe has had the misfortune to playing next to 2 of the worst left guards in football this season, Will Rackley of Jacksonville and Shipley. He’s been a solid LT for the Ravens, but I think his play will improve if Osemele comes back healthy. Scoring: 57 blocks, 3 missed, 3.5 pressures, 1 sack, 1 false start, 41 points (.62 per play). That’s a D both with and without an adjustment of .04 for Johnson.
Shipley: This average effort was one of AQ’s better games. On the Ravens game-tying TD drive (Q3, 5:50), he had his highlight play when he threw Gilberry to 1 knee and moved to level 2 to seal Burfict. Yanda pulled, flattened the kneeling Gilberry and continued through him to kick out Johnson. Scoring: 58 blocks, 4 missed, 2.5 pressures, 1 false start, 50 points (.76 per play). That’s a D+ which gets upgraded to a C with an adjustment for Bengals’ interior line. He started 9 games for the Ravens and I have them graded as one B, 4 Cs, and 4 Fs.
Gradkowski: Calling the protections means you know where you are supposed to block unless the defense is actively attempting to confuse. Unfortunately, the play of Gino and Shipley has been so bad, other teams look to stunt, cross, or show movement on a high percentage of pass plays. On 9 of Flacco’s 52 drop backs, the Bengals dropped 2 or more from the LoS to cover and the bulk of those were single and double A-gap blitz looks. Gino was party to another 4 pass rush events including a full pressure when he was bulled by Rey Maualuga (Q1, 7:34, uggh). Scoring: 58 blocks, 4 missed, 1.75 pressures, 2/3 QH, 52.5 points (.80 per play). With adjustment, that is a C- at center.
Yanda: Marshal scored well, but did not have an error-free game as a pass blocker by any stretch. On the plus side, he missed just 1 block, delivered 2 pancakes, and had 3 blocks in level 2. He was beaten outside by Peko (Q1, 14:05) on a play that would have been a solo pressure had not Oher been coincidentally beaten outside by Dunlap. I considered and gave him a half charge for Dunlap’s first QH (Q2, 9:07). On that play, he tried to cut Dunlap and whiffed, but got no help from Pierce and Nelson came unblocked off the ORS to hit Flacco simultaneously. Scoring: 62 blocks, 1 missed, .75 pressure, ½ QH, 59 points (.89 per play). A-. That’s now 7 straight weeks with raw scores between .85 and .89. His early-season injury issues are behind him and he’s again playing like one of the best guards in football.
Oher: Michael had a tough draw versus one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing 4-3 ends. Although he did not have a sack, Dunlap had a hand in 8 separate pressure events. Those included 2 crushing hits on Flacco. He had an unorthodox spin move to pick up the stunting Gilberry (Q2, 1:38) after he handed off Dunlap to Yanda. Having a lineman turn is usually coincident with the QB going down or a holding flag, but that was one of those rare successes reminiscent of Ressler’s block in Super Bowl V. One of the great frustrations of this season has been the fact that Oher’s decline has exactly coincided with Yanda’s return. Michael has hurt his negotiating position over the last 6 weeks (unadjusted aggregate score of .63). However, talent is not uniformly evaluated across the league, so someone will overpay him. Scoring: 57 blocks, 1 missed, 4.5 pressures, 1.33 QH, 44 points (.67 per play). With the adjustment for Dunlap, that’s a C.
Others: Rick Wagner made all 3 of his blocks.
Mike Zimmer is a talented DC, but if you want to know why to dislike him, look no further than the Ravens’ final offensive play. Facing a hobbled QB who was not pressing the pace of play at all, he sent a 7-man blitz on 4th and 7 (Q4, 0:28). Flacco should have been on the sidelines at that point, but Zimmer’s call was bush league.
I’ll be producing a season-in-review OL piece in late January or early February.