Offensive line grades & notes vs. Philadelphia, 12/18/16
The successes of the Ravens offense Sunday were overshadowed by a single play which caused a game that should not have been close to require a dramatic 2-point-conversion stop for the win.
The game-management failure relating to the interception (Q4, 6:21) was magnified by 2 factors.
First, the Ravens defense had already surrendered 2nd-half drives of 8, 13, and 7 plays. In fact, the offense ran just 7 plays in the 3rd quarter. An extra few minutes on the sideline and an extra couple of minutes off the clock would have greatly reduced the risk of defensive tiring becoming a factor. The Ravens would go on to play 28 4th quarter snaps on defense and the pass rush (usually the first thing to tire on long drives) surrendered ATS on 10 of the Eagles’ final 14 drop backs.
Another reason why the error was greater in this game was the Eagles’ lack of success passing to that point in the game. Philadelphia ran the ball on the first 2 plays of their next drive for 29 yards.
Does this play have any impact on the Ravens going forward?
Joe Flacco threw the ball and should have either checked down or thrown it away. His job isn’t in jeopardy, because the risk of trying to replace him is high and the salary cap cost would doom the team’s 2017 season (at a minimum).
I don’t believe John Harbaugh will lose his job over it, despite acknowledging the fact he should have “vetoed” the play over the headset. I’d be interested to know what Harbaugh and Steve Bisciotti will discuss during at season’s end. Steve’s staffing background and personal football insights should play a role. We’ll probably never know if Bisciotti has engaged any outside football analysts or former coaches to help evaluate Harbaugh’s 2016 season. While Bisciotti’s personnel methods and judgment have proved exceptional in both business and sports, I also believe he has the intellectual security to gather and consider other opinions.
The play call is a significant black mark on Marty Mornhinweg’s candidacy for the 2017 Offensive Coordinator role. I have not heard him address the play call, but all of the reasons I can think as to why he might have done so are bad. Stay aggressive? Put the nail in the coffin? Both are platitudinal side steps. Quell dissent among the wide receivers? OK, that’s the worst reason yet and would be a strong indication the inmates are running the asylum. The OC’s job description includes a significant game-management component. That responsibility is greater than for the Defensive or Special Teams Coordinators, because the offense has control of the clock.
I think it’s unlikely Mornhinweg will be retained as OC given the modest success of the offense to date and the circumstances of this play call in particular.
Ample Time and Space (ATS)
The offensive line produced ample time and space (ATS) on 16 of 32 drop backs (50%). The 3 sacks allowed were all of the knockdowns.
By ATS categorization:
Summarizing his results relative to expectation:
Summarizing the Eagles pass rush by numbers and ATS:
–The 50% ATS maintains Flacco’s season ATS at 46% and was consistent with his 6-year average of 51%.
–Once again, Flacco’s results were inverted (better without ATS than with ATS), primarily because the 2 longest throws, the 34-yard TD to Smith and the 54-yard pass to Wallace were without ATS.
–The Patriots brought a 3-man rush on 17 of 54 drop backs, but as you can see above, the Eagles always rushed at least 4. Flacco averaged 3.0 YPP with a 4-man rush, but 11.4 YPP when the Eagles rushed 5+.
–Another significant disparity came in terms of deception, specifically in the form of coverage drops. The Eagles never dropped 2 from the LoS, while the Patriots did so on 28 of 54 drop backs. There remains considerable differentiation by team and defensive coordinator on how to scheme rush and coverage. As a fan and analyst, this is something I find fascinating about the NFL.
–Joe had just 4 throws I scored as ball out quick (BOQ) after amassing 15 such throws versus the Patriots.
Offensive Line Scoring
The Ravens ran just 55 meaningful offensive plays (excludes penalties and Flacco’s first-half spike).
Stanley: Ronnie continued his outstanding trend of play. He did not surrender any full pressure events, although I scored him for a pair of half pressures (Q2, 10:14 and Q2, 1:01), both on bulls by Connor Barwin. I also charged him with 1/6 of the first Eagles sack (Q1, 9:03, see Ducasse below). He and Yanda were also beaten for a shared penetration (Q3, 13:44). He had 4 blocks in level 2 and 1 pancake. The first of his highlights was an effective stunt handoff and pickup of Cox in space (Q4, 12:23). Just 2 plays later (Q4, 11:14) he led Dixon’s 16-yard touchdown run with a well-maintained 1-arm block of LB Bradham in level 2.
Scoring: 55 plays, 48 blocks, 3 missed, ½ penetration, 1 (2 X 1/2) pressures, 1/6 sack, 44 points (.80 per play). With adjustment, that’s an A-. Since returning, his grades by game are F, C, C, C, B, A, A-. He is looking the part of a future Pro Bowler and will get a Christmas rematch with James Harrison to help make his week-9 nightmare a distant memory.
Yanda: Marshal again produced against a team that appeared focused on trying to beat him with stunts and twists to expose his weak arm. I scored him with just 1/6 of a sack in 32 drop backs (see below). He allowed a full penetration to DT Logan on a missed cut block that resulted in West’s loss of 2 (Q4, 2:18). He missed his only pull, but made 3 blocks in level 2, all of which were highlight combinations. Marshal had 1 pancake. He got a bonus adjustment for the face mask penalty he drew on Logan (Q4, 11:40).
Scoring: 55 plays, 47 blocks, 5 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 1/6 sack, 43 points (.78 per play). That’s an B with adjustment.
Zuttah: Jeremy’s roller-coaster season continued with a fine comeback from a poor game against the Patriots. He allowed 2 pressures, both on bulls by Cox, which resulted in gains of 10 and 54 (Q2, 0:55 and Q4, 6:59). In each case, he was backed into contact with Flacco, but I did not score him for any proximity pressures this game. He missed just 2 blocks, made both pulls, and had 3 highlight combination blocks among 4 blocks in level 2.
Scoring: 53 plays, 48 blocks, 2 missed, 2 pressures, 1/6 sack, 43 points (.81 per play). He gets a deservedly large adjustment for both the opponent and his highlight blocks, B.
Ducasse: Vlad had another difficult day. He committed a ticky-tack hold on LB Kendricks which negated most of Dixon’s 19-yard run (Q4, 13:20). He was bulled and shed by Cox for a sack (Q3, 13:05). The Ravens surrendered a complex sack to begin their second drive (Q1, 9:03) for which the pressure he allowed to Cox was the trigger. Zuttah, Yanda, Stanley, and Waller each got a smaller piece (1/6 each). As a run blocker, he moved to level 2 immediately rather than block Bradham on West’s loss of 2 (Q2, 10:48). Among the Ravens linemen, he emotes more after the play than any others.
I’ve never liked hitters who break a bat after striking out, nor (for example) the signature bat flip of Matt Wieters after a pop fly. In many ways, offensive line play is the most similar thing in football, because blocking is a long season of individual trials where an offensive lineman can’t hide. I think it’s natural that less emotional (don’t mistake this for “less physical”) linemen should be able to correct problems more quickly.
Scoring: 55 plays, 45 blocks, 4 missed, 1 penetration, 1 (2 X 1/2) pressure, 1.33 (1 + 1/3) sacks, 1 offensive holding, 27 points (.49 per play). That’s an F. Without the hold, he still would have been .03 short of a D- after adjustment.
Wagner: Rick continued to play well. He allowed a full pressure when bulled and shed by Cox (Q2, 13:13) who seemingly lined up everywhere and beat everyone this game. Wagner was also beaten outside by Curry (Q3, 7:42) who blew up and eventually took down West for a loss of 4. He did not have any other full charges. He made all 4 of his blocks in level 2, but I did not score him with a highlight.
Scoring: 55 plays, 47 blocks, 4 missed, 1 penetration, 2 (1 + 2*1/2) pressures, 41 points (.75 per play). That’s a B after adjustment.
Urschel: John replaced Zuttah at center for 2 plays and made both blocks.
If you’re interested in seeing scoring trends for the players this season, these charts will be updated weekly.