FILMSTUDY: Defensive Notes vs. Browns 9/27/12

Ravens Defense v Browns

If you wanted more variety for the Ravens’ pass rush, you got it Thursday.

The Ravens used a blend by scheme and number.  While they only sacked Weeden once in 53 passes, they knocked him down on 9 other occasions, generated an intentional grounding penalty, and induced a hold.  It’s not time to start worrying about the pass rush after a game where the QB takes that sort of a beating.  Weeden played well, but his 59.8 rating was impacted by the Ravens’ rush.

By my scoring method, Pees attempted 9 deceptive blitzes, but the Ravens generated QHs by Ray Lewis on only the first two (Q1, 13:20 and Q1, 9:48).  Pees called 3 7-man rushes and given none of them dropped Weeden, it’s a good thing the only damage was a 20-yard swing to Richardson (Q4, 15:00).

Some of you probably see snap count reported from other sources.  There are minor differences in definition, which bear a moment to explain.  I eliminate any plays that are not run competitively for purposes of average yard calculations or personal statistics.  It’s always been my position that plays such as kneels or spikes should not be part of the numerator or denominator when calculating yards per play.

I count snaps where the play goes off and results in a penalty, but I report snap counts excluding penalties in this column.  By comparison, Pro Football Focus (a site I highly recommend), counts snaps including all penalties and noncompetitive snaps.  This can lead to significant differences (87 snaps for Flacco on Thursday as opposed to 77 as I record them).  If you are looking at PFF snap counts, they record pre-snap penalties as run snaps.  Neil’s team and I are each counting the same things (and have often shared participation data); we just have a different set of definitions.

The Browns had 69 competitive snaps (excluding Weeden’s late spike):

Overall:

Versus the Run:  17 plays, 43 yards, 2.5 YPC

Versus the Pass:  52 plays, 314 yards, 6.0 YPP

Overall:  69 plays, 357 yards, 5.2 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

3 DBs:  2 plays, 16 yards, 8.0 YPPA

4 DBs:  34/185, 5.4 YPPA

5 DBs:  28/162, 5.8 YPPA

6 DBs+:  5/-6, -1.2 YPPA, 1 sack, 1 TO

By number of pass rushers:

3:  3 plays, 10 yards, 3.3 YPP, 1 sack

4:  22/146, 6.6 YP

5:  20/103, 5.2 YPP

6:  4/35, 8.8 YPP, 1 TO

7:  3/20, 6.7 YPP

Individual Notes

  • Ngata had another fine night rushing the passer.  He beat Lauvao for a pressure when he hit Weeden’s arm as he threw.  He drove back Pinkston then peeled off to the inside to flatten Weeden as he threw incomplete and was charged with intentional grounding.  On the game’s final play (Q4, 0:02) he again registered a QH on Weeden.  His run highlight was a takedown of Ogbannaya for a loss of 2 (Q2, 1:03) when he penetrated past Mack.
  • Kemoeatu won the starting NT job from Cody in the preseason, but he didn’t look good on his 9 run snaps Thursday.  To briefly review by play (55 = Mack, 62 = Pinkston, 66 = Lauvao)
    • Driven back and pancaked (Q1, 15:00) by 55, 66
    • Pancaked by 55 (Q1, 13:57)
    • Pinned by 55, driven back by 66 (Q1, 2:16)
    • Penetrated away from run, then blocked by 66 (Q2, 12:53)
    • Sealed by 62 as Richardson dragged McClain for 7 yards (Q2, 4:31)
    • Not factor on Richardson’s 1-yard TD (Q2, 2:37)
    • Driven left by 55 (Q3, 9:49)
    • Doubled by 55 and 62, but forces bounce outside by Richardson where McClellan tackles for 2-yard gain (Q3, 7:05).  This was his only positive result of the night.
    • Pinned by 55, driven back by 66 (Q4, 13:04)

He’s not going to contribute with pass rush, so he needs to hold his ground much better in the run game.

  • Cary Williams played well after a poor showing against New England, when he led the team in tackles (never a good thing for an outside corner).  Williams’ pick-6 (Q3, 0:27) was the first of his career and easily the game’s biggest play.  Weeden set it up by staring down Benjamin for more than a second before releasing the ball, allowing ample time for Williams to break.  Williams had a very solid PD rate last season, including 9 of his last 54 after he surrendered his last TD pass in week 9 at Pittsburgh.  The interception was only his 2nd PD this season in 31 times targeted.  He surrendered a 43-yard pass to Little up the left sideline (Q2, 5:57).  On that play, he was in press coverage, but didn’t put his hands on Little at the LoS, didn’t have safety help, and Weeden threw his best pass of the night.  He was only targeted 2 other times among 52 passes.
  • For the last several years, it has seemed like the Browns have gift wrapped each game for the Ravens.  Here is a link which might bring back some memories:
  • The 7 drops are a solid addition to this legacy, but you have to like the way the secondary came up big on the final drive.  On that drive:
    • (Q4, 1:05) Gain of 13 over the middle.  Watson got to the sideline by outrunning Lewis.
    • (Q4, 0:56) Webb strips Norwood
    • (Q4, 0:53) Ellerbe out of position on short pass right to Norwood for 27 yards (3 + 24 YAC) and out of bounds
    • (Q4, 0:45) Zone collapses well on 17-yard in-bounds completion to Cameron.  Spike takes clock to 0:23.
    • (Q4, 0:23) Reed thumb-tip PD saves TD to Norwood
    • (Q4, 0:15) Smith good coverage on Little, PD, should have made interception
    • (Q4, 0:10) Reed/Williams PD back of end zone.  McClellan does not jam a receiver among trips left
    • (Q4, 0:02) Reed and Webb had excellent position in back of end zone on overthrow to end game
  • The Ravens played a few snaps of dime on Thursday, their first of the season.  Ihedigbo was in as the 6th DB on 4 plays that included both Kruger’s sack (Q2, 9:12) and Williams’ interception (Q3, 0:27).  Graham also played as the 6th DB for 1 play (Q3, 7:02).  Despite this success, Pees preferred to have Ellerbe on the field with a nickel for the entire final drive.  Ellerbe made a very poor play (Q4, 0:53) to allow the Browns into Hail-Mary range.
  • Despite the late Unnecessary Roughness penalty, Kruger had a fine game as a situational pass rusher.  Upshaw and McClellan are the outside linebackers for running situations.  As a group they (Kruger 43, McClellan 34, and Upshaw 51) accounted for 128 of 138 potential OLB snaps.  Paul had 2 PDs (Q1, 13:20 and Q2, 6:01), a sack when he beat Schwartz outside aided by the pressure from Ngata, shared a QH with McPhee (Q2, 0:59), and also drew a holding penalty on Joe Thomas (Q1, 2:50) that negated a 10-yard run.  After the penalty gave the Browns an additional chance, he bulled Thomas back to Weeden and disrupted the final throw with a tug on QB’s jersey.  Rushing the passer is tiring and what Kruger does best.  With his snap count reduced to 70% of what it had been in his first 2 games, Kruger responded with his best game of the season.
  • McClellan continued to impress and led the team with 8 tackles in 34 snaps.  He worked off the block from Watson (Q1, 11:04) to take down Cribbs for a gain of 2 on a WR screen.  He pushed aside the block of Cribbs to take down Little for a loss of 2 (Q1, 9:04).  He forced Richardson to loop further outside where he was tackled by Webb (Q2, 9:57) for a gain of 3.  He contained the left edge on Richardson’s 2-yard run middle (Q3, 7:46). He worked past Thomas’ block of Ngata to take down Richardson for a loss of 1 (Q4, 13:04).  He didn’t rush the passer often, but provided some pressure from the back side (Q4, 13:11) by beating Watson on Weeden’s incomplete to Cameron.
  • The Ravens 3 most important defensive plays:
    • Williams’ pick-6 (Q3, 0:27)
    • Reed’s thumb-tip PD (Q4, 0:23)
    • Ngata’s forced intentional grounding (Q4, 5:32)
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