It’s easy to be frustrated with the Ravens’ offense, but that frustration would be sorely misplaced on the offensive line this week. They were spectacular.
In fact, for the first time I’ve scored a game, no lineman was charged with a pressure (there was 1 QH and 1 sack).
More than any other team this season, the Titans tried to get pressure with numbers, rather than scheme. This chart summarizes their pass rush by numbers and whether or not the blockers were able to generate Ample Time and Space (ATS):
Particularly outstanding was the Ravens’ ability to hold off 6-man pressure. They were able to provide a clean pocket on 6 of those 9 occasions. Flacco’s success on those 6 plays was less than what could reasonably be hoped (4 of 6 for 67 yards), but it did include the 32-yard TD to Torrey Smith.
Try to pin down a radio personality or writer on what they mean by a “max protect” scheme. It’s an oft-used phrase for something that isn’t commonly used by the Ravens any more. The 2008 Ravens would occasionally keep 3 in to block and run a 2-man route. The 2014 Ravens have virtually never done that. Even against Tennessee, which was the most extreme opponent in terms of rushing numbers, the Ravens only kept as many as 2 eligible receivers in to block on 3 occasions.
There were 60 competitive snaps (excluding 2 kneels):
Monroe: Monroe had a huge comeback from the Pittsburgh game. He didn’t have any negative plays, so let’s talk about his 3 highlight blocks:
- (Q2, 10:39) He set up Wimbley for Daniels then moved to level 2 to bully Williamson to the whistle.
- (Q2, 6:50) He sealed Casey on the OLS to leave Forsett with a 1-on-1 matchup with Wimbley on his 9-yard TD run.
- (Q3, 13:44) He moved out front of a well-diagnosed screen pass and drove Sensabaugh 10+ yards down the field to the whistle.
Monroe’s mobility was refreshing to see (he had 6 level 2 blocks in total) as was his physicality.
Scoring: 57 plays, 53 blocks, 4 missed, 53 points (.93 per play). That’s an A before or after adjustment.
Osemele: Kelechi was again effective. He failed to block either Casey or Williamson (Q1, 1:20), which caused 1 of Flacco’s 2 times knocked down. He was beaten inside by Williamson who dropped Forsett for a loss of 3 (Q4, 6:31). His highlight was pancaking Phillips on Forsett’s 6-yard run left (Q4, 5:03). He had 4 blocks in level 2 and 3 pancakes in total.
Scoring: 60 plays, 57 blocks, 1 missed, 1 penetration, 1 QH, 52 points (.87 per play). With an adjustment of .03, that’s an A-.
Zuttah: You’d have to watch a lot of football to see as miserable a performance as he had at Pittsburgh, but JZ was excellent versus the Titans. He had 5 star blocks:
- (Q3, 11:28) He had a rare double pancake, knocking both Woods and Pitoitua to the ground as Pierce ran right for 10.
- (Q3, 3:51) He teed up Woods for Yanda, then kicked out Williamson as Forsett ran for 2 yards.
- (Q4, 15:00) He cut down Gooden inching up on the LoS as Forsett ran right for 9 yards.
- (Q4, 11:17) With a helpful shove from Osemele, he drove Woods back several yards before pancaking him.
- (Q4, 7:46) He helped tee up Woods for Yanda with a shove to his right shoulder and then flattened Williamson in level 2 to lead Taliaferro’s 4-yard run.
Scoring: 59 plays, 55 blocks, 4 missed, 55 points (.92 per play). He more than doubled his raw score vs. the Steelers (.45) and gets an adjustment of .02 even after consideration of the botched exchange with Flacco (shotgun snap). A.
Yanda: Marshal will cruise to his 4th Pro Bowl and should receive All-Pro honors at guard. His highlight was his combination on Forsett’s 37-yard run (Q4, 2:26). On that play, he first shoved Woods off balance for Zuttah, then moved to level 2 and blocked Williamson to lead the run. He had 4 more blocks without a miss in level 2 and 1 pancake.
Scoring: 60 plays, 57 blocks, 2 missed, ½ penetration, 56 points (.93 per play). He scored his 4th consecutive A and they haven’t been cheap (.96, .92, .98, .97 adjusted scores).
Wagner: Rick was bulled by Derrick Morgan for a sack (Wagner stepped on Flacco’s foot) on the final play of the first half (Q1, 0:43). He was later pancaked by Klug, who dropped Pierce for a loss of 1 (Q3, 7:03).
Scoring: 60 plays, 54 blocks, 4 missed, 1 penetration, 1 sack, 1 false start, 43 points, (.72 per play). With or without an adjustment of .04 (primarily for Derrick Morgan), that’s a C.
To give you an idea of both the high level of play and relative consistency Wagner has demonstrated, I’d compare his worst raw scores to those of the last 2 right tackles for the regular season only:
2014 Wagner 3 worst through 10 games: .72, .71, .65
2013 Oher 5 worst through 16 games: .58, .58, .58, .55, .53 (Those are consistently bad)
2012 Osemele 5 worst through 16 games: .65, .64, .56, .43 (29 snaps), .36
Put simply, tackles soil the sheets with some frequency when faced with good pass rushers and have scores which vary widely by game. Wagner has thus far avoided extreme variation while maintaining high average scores.
Hurst: James replaced Monroe for a single, 3-play drive and made each block. He replaced Monroe for a series at Cincinnati and those are the only instances I can recall where a Ravens lineman has been replaced for rest as opposed to ineffectiveness or at the tail end of a game to give a rookie a chance.
Flacco had ample time and space (ATS) on 17 of 28 drop backs (61%). Summarized:
Summarizing the results relative to expectation:
Again, it wasn’t a good performance by the standard he’d set in the 2010-13 seasons, and Ravens fans expect more now.
Looking ahead to the rest of the schedule, it’s clear the Miami game may well determine the Ravens’ playoff fate. In addition to being an important head-to-head game versus a Wild Card contender, the game will be in Miami where the crowd is notoriously quiet. It’s a place where Joe was able to run the no-huddle offense effectively, even as a rookie.
Much has been made of the Ravens needing to win all 3 remaining home games plus 1 on the road to finish with 10 wins. Ideally the Ravens would enter the final Sunday against Cleveland with a 10-5 record, a Wlid Card secure, and the division title on the line. That scenario will require at least 2 road wins.