It is a little unusual that a game during which a team allows 2 sacks and 3 other QHs results in so little pressure. The Ravens threw deep and often on last year’s first round draft pick, Leon Hall as Mark Clayton had a career day. What were the greatest games ever by a Ravens receiver? Here are my top 4:
1. Qadry Ismail (12/12/99 @ Pittsburgh): 6 receptions for 258 yards with 3 TD
2. Marcus Robinson (11/23/03 vs. Seattle): 7 for 131, 4 TD
3. Mark Clayton (11/30/08 @ Cincinnati): 5 for 164, 1 TD, plus 1 TD pass for 32 yards
4. Derrick Alexander (12/1/96 vs. Pittsburgh): 7 for 198, 1 TD
The Ravens won all 4 of those games and each of the other 3 has a special place in the team’s history.
The 451 yards of total offense were just 28 short of the team record.
Gaither: Jared appears nearly recovered from the injury he suffered against the Giants and had the cleanest game of the offensive linemen. He looked to be blocking with both arms again, although not with the same push he was generating early in the year. For the 2nd straight week, he got away with a holding penalty. He is still getting beaten to the corner by speed rushers (Ogden did too). Lighter speed rushers (Barnes would fall into this category) are foiled by his ability to push his opponent far to the outside. Those who are a little less quick, but have the ability to get small (Freeney, Harrison are the best examples) are often able to absorb the push (or cause the LT to slip off) by leaning left as they plant and turn. When he has full use of his arms, opposing rushers that depend primarily on arm length (ex: Mario Williams) have been consistently frustrated. On Sunday, he went down for a single play on the Ravens 2nd drive and was replaced by Slaughter. He was the only starter to miss a real play (Anderson was pulled before the last kneel). Scoring: 69/72 blocks, 3 missed, 69 points (.96 per play).
Slaughter: Slaughter made his only block when in to replace Gaither.
Grubbs: He took a step backwards after a well-played game vs. the Eagles. He registered 7 level 2 blocks and found a block or pass lane on 6 of his 7 pulling assignments. However, he had a poor blocking game otherwise, including half a sack and a QH allowed. Scoring: 64/73 blocks, 9 missed, ½ sack, 1 QH, 1 penetration, 56 points (.77 per play)
Brown: It was Brown’s 2nd consecutive below average game. On the Bengals first sack (Q1, 10:24), he tried to help Chester double Thornton, which would have been OK except that Thornton had already begun to swim past Chester’s right side (making it impossible for Brown to help Chester shoulder to shoulder) and Grubbs had also turned left to aid Gaither. Brian Johnson raced through the resulting opening, stumbled over Rice’s attempted undercut, and hit Flacco along with Crocker who came untouched from the OLS. Brown had 7 level 2 blocks, but it looks to me like he has been releasing prematurely to level 2 in these last 2 games. Of his 4 missed blocks, at least 2 were “Lost in Space” blocks where he quickly moved through to level 2, but failed to find a block. The most costly of those (Q2, 13:39) was Brown’s whiff on Thornton which allowed #97 to stop Flacco’s QB draw 2 yards short of a TD. Scoring 67/73 blocks, 4 missed, ½ sack, 1 penetration, 62 points (.85 per play). Not terrible by score, but not what we’ve come to expect from the Ravens line anchor.
Chester: Despite allowing half a QH to Peko, Chester had his best game (subjectively, he actually scored a little higher vs. the Giants) since Miami. He made 6 level 2 blocks, and found a block on 4 of 6 pull attempts. Scoring: 66/73 blocks, 6 missed, ½ QH, 64.5 points (.88 per play).
Anderson: It was great to see Big Willie enjoy his Gatorade bath when he was removed before the game’s final play, but I guess he would have rather played a better homecoming game. He gave up 1.5 QH’s, the first because he turned inside to double (Q1, 10:30–this may have been a designed play to fake a run left along the O-Line, but it gave Thornton a free run at Flacco). He then shared a QH with Chester when he appeared to give up on the block prematurely (Q1, 3:23). I’ve been spraying some acid regarding his ponderous movements and level 2 blocking, but he made an amazing 6 such blocks Sunday. Scoring: 67/73, 3 missed, 1 penetration, 1.5 QH, 60.5 points (.83 points per play).