After sending McNabb to the bench on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Ravens trampled an overmatched Bengals team on the Sunday following the Holiday. It was another defensive gem as the Ravens did not allow a defensive TD for the 2nd straight game (and now 10+ quarters) while holding the Bengals to 155 yards of total offense and 6 first downs. It was a game reminiscent of the Ravens’ 2000 week 4 rout (37-0) of the Bengals in Baltimore without the drama of:
· Corey Dillon spiking the ball and leaving the field after rushing 16 times for 4 yards
· Bruce Coslet telling Dillon to go back on and resigning before the following game
· Billick running up the score with a late FG and Coslet refusing to shake his hand at game’s end
As usual, all the stats exclude kneels and spikes:
Overall: 52 plays, 155 yards, 3.0 YPPA
Best: Ivy 42/123, 2.9 YPPA, Oglesby 14/29, 2.1 YPPA, Nakamura 8/7, 0.9 YPPA, Barnes 6/-5, -0.8 YPPA
Worst: Douglas 21/92, 4.4 YPPA
Vs. the Run: 16 carries, 57 yards, 3.6 YPC
Best: Bannan 8/20, 2.5 YPC
Worst: Ivy 11/48, 4.4 YPC
Vs. the Pass: 36 pass plays, 98 net yards, 2.7 YPP
Best: Ngata 14/32, 2.3 YPP, Barnes 6/-5, -0.8 YPP
Worst: Douglas 12/68 5.7 YPP
By number of Pass Rushers:
3 or fewer: 2/0, 0.0 YPP
4: 15/84, 5.6 YPP, 1 Sack
5: 15/23, 1.5 YPP, 2 Sack
6: 2/-9, -4.5 YPP, 1 Sack, 1 TO
7: 2/0, 0.0 YPP
By number of Defensive Backs:
3: None—always good since the Ravens play 3 DBs primarily in goal line situations
4: 14 plays, 45 yards, 3.2 YPPA
5: 32 plays, 103 yards, 3.2 YPPA, 4 Sacks, 1 TO
6: 6 plays, 7 yards, 1.2 YPPA
7: None for the 4th straight game
· The heavies were all well rested. That’s going to happen most times when the opposition is held to 52 plays. In particular, Haloti Ngata, who had been asked to play some offensive snaps in addition to 72% of the defensive snaps prior to Sunday took a breather with 23 defensive snaps. It was his fewest plays since a 22-snap game in his rookie year when the Ravens lost a soggy Thursday night game also at Cincinnati and on the same date (11/30).
· Pryce had a huge game with half a sack and 4 QH’s. His push was the main reason Ryan Fitzpatrick threw so many passes that were batted at the LoS. Pryce also had a great game vs. the Eagles. Both weeks he played 31 snaps and he enters December well rested.
· Samari Rolle also sat out the entire 4th quarter. Evan Oglesby was largely unseen in coverage, which is to say the results were good. It will be interesting to see if he has passed Walker on the depth chart with this effort.
· Walker was a healthy scratch. CBS reported that Harbaugh told him he needed him to make a special teams contribution. It really didn’t help that his replacement, Daren Stone, had a PD while rushing the passer and made a special teams tackle. Few 23-year olds in the NFL can claim Stone’s record as a journeyman. He was born in Jamaica (I assume that’s the country, not Jamaica, NY), went to college at Maine, and is playing for his 3rd NFL team (Falcons, Cowboys) in 2 seasons.
· The Ravens played 2 different dime sets. Stone was used as the dime back twice and Nakamura 4 times. As I’ve mentioned in recent weeks, Ryan has also used 2 different nickel permutations (base 4 plus Ivy or Reed with 4 cornerbacks). Having done this analysis now on the 2000 and 2006-08 teams, I can’t recall a time when the Ravens were not consistent in the use of fixed personnel sets for each of the nickel, dime, and quarter. Injuries and garbage time had an impact, but I can’t recall either Lewis or Ryan choosing between 2 available nickel, dime, or quarter packages.
· Ryan unleashed the 7-man pass rush on 2 occasions. The Ravens had 7 players crash the LoS on a goal line play last week, but these were the first true 7-man pass rushes in 5 weeks. The Ravens gave up 84 yards on 15 4-man rushes (they did get a sack on Fitzpatrick’s first fumble) with 46 yards coming on a single play. On all other rush combinations (3, 5, 6, 7) the Ravens held the Bengals to 14 yards on 21 plays (0.7 YPP including 3 sacks and Leonhard’s INT)
· Rotational opportunities at linebacker continued as all of the 50-somethings who dressed got at least 1 defensive snap. Brendan Ayanbadejo played a single snap (Q2, 2:49) and blew his assignment as he whiffed on both of the stacked WR’s he was supposed to jam. Fitzpatrick fumbled, however, and Ayabadejo was in quickly to vulch a sack. Barnes played just 6 snaps, but contributed to pressure that led to 2 sacks, a completed pass for -5, and 2 other incompletes. Jameel McClain got 7 snaps, 6 of them in the 4th quarter. Nick Greisen replaced Ray Lewis for the last 4 snaps. One thing is apparent to me from all this. Both Harbaugh and Ryan are reinforcing the concept that it’s a privilege to play and not an entitlement. Work ethic and a desire in whatever role identified have been well rewarded. Ayanbadejo, Barnes, Greisen, Jones, Jameel McClain, Nakamura, Stone, and Zbikowski all have at least a highlight or 2 to show for their effort. McAlister and Walker have both been inactive at least once for less solid citizenship.
· The Bengals had 11 drives of 4 plays or less and the other 3 were 6, 7, and 7 plays. They failed to get a first down on 10 drives.
· The Ravens 3 biggest defensive plays:
- Ravens hold Bengals to 3—The Bengals drove 89 yards in the final 1:11 of the first half and had a shot at what would have been a demoralizing TD that would have cut the score to 13-7 despite the Ravens first half dominance. The Ravens rushed 7 on 3rd and 3 from the Ravens 3. Fitzpatrick threw incomplete past TJ in the corner and the Bengals settled for 3.
- Leonhard’s pick 6—What’s a defensive feast like this without that last piece of pumpkin pie?
- 13-way tie between all of the Bengal’s other unsuccessful 3rd and 4th down plays—Those plays are just too similar to select one. The Bengals ran for a first down on 3rd and 1 and passed 6 yards for another, but on these 13 plays the Bengals were 0 for 11 throwing with 2 sacks and a 5-yard run for a total of -8 yards.
Photo by Sabina Moran