FILMSTUDY: Ravens Nets catch Tuna, Dolphin, and Wildcat

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Ravens Nets catch Tuna, Dolphin, and Wildcat

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.  Sun, a half-empty stadium (a colleague who was there indicated it was half-full, which I guess makes him the optimist), and a courteously quiet crowd which allowed Flacco to run the no huddle on the road.


With the limited impact the Wildcat formation had on the game it’s really a shame we have to talk about it at all, but let’s get it over with.  The Dolphins snapped the ball directly to Brown 5 times on which the Dolphins gained 4 yards.  They were also penalized for a false start.  Other stats:


Overall: 58 plays, 359 yards, 6.2 YPPA

Best:  Ivy 27/142, 5.3 YPPA (this would have been 23/82, 3.6 YPPA without the 4 garbage plays to end the game),

13/62, 4.8 YPPA, Nakamura 6/22, 3.7 YPPA (see 7 DB sets below, he was in for all 6)


Worst:  Reed 46/322, 7.0 YPPA


Vs. the Run:  22 carries, 71 yards, 3.2 YPC



8/11, 1.4 YPC, Greisen 8/18, 2.3 YPC, Bannan 15/36, 2.4 YPC

Worst:  Reed 12/55, 4.6 YPC, Walker and Washington 20/73, 3.7 YPC


Vs. the Pass:  36 pass plays, 288 net yards, 8.0 YPP (2nd straight game of 8.0 or worse YPP)


Best:  Ivy 20 plays, 117 yards, 5.9 YPP (would have been 16/57, 3.6 YPP without last 4 plays)

Worst:  Ngata 16/148, 9.3 YPP


By number of Pass Rushers:


3:  7/17, 2.4 YPP, 1 sack

4:  17/173, 10.2 YPP

5:  9/79, 8.8 YPP, 1 TO

6:  2/0, 0.0 YPP

7:  1/19, 19.0 YPP


By number of Defensive Backs:


3:  12 plays, 37 yard, 3.1 YPPA (3 goal line alignments plus 9 4-4-3—see below)

4:  22 plays, 178 yards, 4.1 YPPA

5:  14 plays, 62 yards, 4.4 YPPA

6:  4 plays, 60 yards, 15.0 YPPA (last 4 plays of the game, in prevent)

7:  6 plays, 22 yards, 3.7 YPPA (There were 6 failed 3rd and 4th down conversions, see below)


Individual Notes:


·        On his INT, Suggs lined up in what I refer to as a dangling 3-point stance.  He loosely held his arm a few inches above the ground, but did not set in a true 3-point stance.  He’s occasionally done that before and it’s an indicator he’s not rushing the QB.  He dropped back as the pressure came from the offensive left side in the form of Leonhard.  Suggs anticipated the outlet pass, breaking almost too early on the ball, which might have allowed Pennington to simply take the sack.  His instincts for the game are remarkably different than 5 years ago.  He’s become a terrific run defending DE and has tremendous awareness of the outlet receivers which allows him to diagnose the screen well.  I believe the 2009 Ravens will have some significant personnel changes (much more than that dictated by contract status now), but it will be a shame if they lose Suggs.
·        The Ravens allowed 58 defensive snaps Sunday, marking the 7th straight game of 58 or less (excludes penalties, kneels, spikes), beginning with last year’s season finale vs. Pittsburgh.  Prior to the streak they held opponents to less than 61 offensive plays just once in the previous 8 games.

was on the field for 13 snaps, up from 7 vs. the Colts.  He made 2 tackles in the red zone including a nice TFL (Q2, 5:56).  He otherwise held his ground effectively and now appears to have firmed up his position ahead of Divens on the depth chart.  Given the loss of Gregg, it’s a good thing that the Ravens have another rotational DT.
·        The Ravens used the 4-4-3 9 times against the Dolphins, each time substituting Greisen for Reed.  Prior to Sunday, Reed had not missed a play this season and Greisen had played just 1.  Amazingly, the Dolphins ran the ball the first 8 of those plays gaining just 18 yards.  The final time the Ravens went 4-4-3 (Q3, 6:55), Pennington picked on Greisen specifically for a 21-yard completion.

·        McAlister’s absence was certainly odd given the Ravens’ lack of healthy bodies at CB.  I can’t believe it relates to effectiveness, since

was beaten worse by Indy.  Did he say something he should not have in the locker room?  Did he get in a fight?  Did he fail some other disciplinary hurdle?  If this team is together, everyone will keep their mouth shut and we will never find out.  Anyway, CMac played a whopping 10 plays, all in 6 and 7-DB alignments.  Interestingly, each of his 1st 6 plays were 7 DB alignments which ended drives.  Were they all 3rd and long?  Nope.  The Ravens played 7 DB’s on 3rd and 5, 3rd and 11, 3rd and 5, 3rd and 3, 3rd and 11, and 4th and 7.  One other McAlister note…take a look at the half-hearted tackle he made on the next-to-last play of the game.  I’m sure he’ll hear about that in the film room.

·        Beuerlein made a big deal of the Dolphins running the ball on a 3rd and 11 from the 12-yard line (Q2, 5:12).  The Ravens had 7 DB’s on the field along with Pryce, Suggs, Barnes, and Lewis.  With Ronnie Brown and the very small defense, Sparano (or perhaps Pennington, since he readjusted Brown to tailback after he motioned right) thought the run was a higher percentage play, and I would agree.  For starters, with 7 DB’s it’s not a simple decision between maximizing your chance of 7 points and taking 3 if you fail.  An INT could have yielded a much worse result.  In the first half of a 10-3 game, with the size the Ravens gave away on the play, a run made a lot of sense.  I wonder if Beuerlein would have been able to recognize this opportunity had he been under center in his playing days.

·        Ivy, Leonhard, and Zbikowski were used as the 3 safeties in 3 separate goal line sets.  The Phins did not score on any of those plays (3 for -2 yards)

·        Barnes played 20 plays, nearly doubling his season total (22 previous).  He failed to accumulate a single defensive statistic of any sort, and committed a heinously stupid taunting foul to give the Dolphins excellent field position at the end of the first half.  An interesting list to make would be the worst habitual offenders by penalty.  There are 2 I worry about regularly on this team…CMac for taunting and other unsportsmanlike conduct and Mason for delay of game associated with pitching or spiking the football after a catch.  Barnes may have made the list with this one.

·         The most significant concern I have about the Ravens defense right now is that the 4-man pass rush has disappeared, generating just 1 sack (Manning’s trip) in 53 passing plays since Roethlisberger was taken down near the end of the 1st half in

.  The lack of 4-man pressure coincides with the losses of Rolle and Washington, which has forced Ryan to be less aggressive about the type of 4-man pressure he brings.  The standard 4-man pressure relies too heavily on Pryce and Suggs to actually get to the QB since Bannan, Ngata,
McKinney, and
Douglas are generating very little individual pressure.  To rush successfully with 4, the Ravens need to confuse as they did in 2006 when they had 1 more top pass rusher (Thomas), and the quality secondary necessary to bring any of their 11 players.  The willingness to drop Suggs, Johnson, and Thomas to coverage in turn created opportunities for players like Ivy, Lewis, Sapp, and most significantly, Scott.

·         The Ravens 3 biggest defensive plays:


1.      Suggs’ pick-6.  Great pressure and anticipation converted with good hands.

2.     Reed’s open-field undercut tackle of Cobbs (Q4, 4:55) on 4th and 7 that sealed the game

3.     The Ravens dare the Dolphins to run on 3rd and 11 (Q2, 5:12) and Suggs stops Brown for a 4-yard gain
Photo by Sabina Moran 

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Ken McKusick

About Ken McKusick

Known as “Filmstudy” from his handle on area message boards, Ken is a lifelong Baltimorean and rabid fan of Baltimore sports. He grew up within walking distance of Memorial Stadium and attended all but a handful of Orioles games from 1979 through 2001. He got his start in sports modeling with baseball in the mid 1980’s. He began writing about the Ravens in 2006 and maintains a library of video for every game the team has played. He’s a graduate of Syracuse with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Math who recently retired from his actuarial career to pursue his passion as a football analyst full time.

If you have math or modeling questions related to sports or gambling, Ken is always interested in hearing new problems or ideas.

He can be reached by email at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @filmstudyravens.

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