Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Divisional Playoff Game v. Tennessee

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It was certainly nice that Flacco went unsacked for the 2nd straight game, but with 8 (!) running plays going for a loss, 4 QHs, 2 false starts, and 1.9 YPC (excludes kneels), it was a poor effort for the offensive line.  Some of the poor scoring was reflective of Cameron’s desire to run into 8-man fronts, but most was simply a very dominant D-Line imposing its will on the Ravens talented but inexperienced unit.  The Titans went primarily with a 4-man pass rush, which was generous given the Titans ability to disrupt the pocket in the middle.  Had they brought linebackers more often, it’s likely Flacco would have been sacked once or twice.


The Ravens ran just 50 offensive plays, again excluding those 2 kneels. 


Individual Notes:


Gaither:  Jared had many more breakdowns than normal, including a twisting QH allowed to Vanden Bosch (Q3, 12:02) that was among the 5 most dangerous looking hits Flacco has taken this season.   He was called for a false start and was twice party to a penetration in the run game.  He also was asked to pull (Q3, 10:01) on one play.  He not only missed his block, but McGahee started left into a wall of run blitzers.  Gaither made blocks in level 2 on 6 occasions, and continues to give solid snap-to-whistle effort.  Scoring: 44/50 blocks, 3 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 1 false start, 38 points (.76 per play).


Grubbs:  Grubbs completed all 4 of his pulls, and made 5 blocks in level 2, but otherwise had a forgettable game.  All 5 of his errors came in the running game and his pass blocking remained solid.  I especially like the way this team sets up on screen passes.  Their timing is generally very good on allowing matador-like penetration and they get in position to throw meaningful blocks, not just trail the play.  This week, Chester peeled backwards to make a block when there were not enough targets in front (I failed to make a note that references the specific play).  That is something I have not noticed often.  Scoring:  45/50 blocks, 3 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 1 false start, 39 points (.78 per play).


Brown:  Brown had his worst game of the season against top-quality competition.  While he leads all Ravens’ linemen with 9 games of .90 or higher, his .95 vs. the Redskins (12/7) is his only such performance in the last 8 games.  He made 6 blocks in level 2.  He got tangled with Grubbs (Q3, 5:19) and both went down.  What was notable about that play?  It’s one of the first times this season Brown got another lineman in trouble with his feet.  Given the amount of pulling the Ravens do, that’s very impressive.  Scoring: 43/50 blocks, 3 missed, .5 QH, 2.5 penetrations, 36.5 points (.73 per play).


Chester:  Chris followed up his best game of the season with a tough effort giving up a piece of 4 separate penetrations or QH’s.  He made 4 of 5 pulls successfully and 5 level 2 blocks.  Haynesworth, Brown, and Vickerson were all effective taking on the middle of the Ravens O-Line and created opportunities for Fowler and Bullock.  For the first time in several weeks, Chester was having to give ground in pass blocking that impacted the integrity of the pocket.  Scoring: 42 blocks, 5 missed, 1.5 penetrations, 1.5 QH, 34.5 points (.69 per play).


Anderson:  After suffering what appeared to be a stinger in Q1, Anderson played sparingly, returning to total 24 plays.  He executed all of his pass blocks successfully, making his 3 errors in the run game.  He made 4 blocks in L2.  Scoring:  21 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 19 points (.79 per play).


Terry:  He replaced Anderson in the first quarter.  Anderson would return twice only to be replaced each time by Adam.  The most memorable Terry moment came when he lined up at FB for the first time this season (Q3, 13:28).  Flacco completed a 10-yard pass to Mason.  Terry executed all 30 of his blocks by my scoring and had a false start which kept him from a perfect score, something no Ravens lineman has achieved this season in half or more of a game’s snaps.  It was by far the best performance on the Ravens line.  Terry has quietly put together a nice run, connecting on all 53 of his blocks the last 3 games.  Scoring: 30 blocks, 1 false start, 27 points (.90 per play).


Slaughter:  Entered for one play where the Ravens had 7 offensive linemen (Q2, 12:33).  He was charged with a relatively slow-developing QH.   1 play, -3 points (-3.00 per play).


Other Notes: 


·      The Ravens made much reduced use of Cameron’s unbalanced and jumbo formations.  In total, there were just 9 such plays for 26 yards (2.9 YPPA).  Those were:


·      5-Man Unbalanced Left:  4 plays, 16 yards, 4.0 YPPA.  The highlight was McGahee’s 11-yard run (Q4, 1:56).

·      5-Man Unbalanced Right:  1 incomplete pass

·      6-Man Balanced (Terry to either side of an otherwise balanced line):  3 plays, 10 yards, 3.3 YPPA.  I included the play where Terry lined up at fullback and did not motion out (Q3, 13:28)

·      6-Man Unbalanced (3 tackles left in this case):  None


·      The Ravens had 1 series inside the 5 yard line (after Clayton’s catch), but Ngata did not see action on the offensive line and has not seen action there since 12/7.  Given that he played 62 of the 71 defensive snaps, it’s not really surprising.

·      If you want to see a truly textbook chip block, look at McGahee’s (Q4, 2:05).  He leaned into it and leveled a lineman from the side, then proceeded into the pattern past his prostrate opponent.  Flacco had lots of time on that play and barely missed Mason by the goal line.

·      For the day, I counted only 6 pass attempts where it could be said Flacco had ample time.  That’s not good when the Titans were typically rushing 4.  Of those 6 plays, Flacco completed just 2 for 41 yards.  On the TD pass to Mason, he stepped outside the pocket to create more time, but there was pressure.

·      For the Ravens to beat the Steelers, their Offensive line will have to have one of its best games, allowing Flacco time to beat the secondary.  As we’ve seen, Flacco can make up for the fewer players in the pattern with his ability to squeeze the ball in a tight window.  Some of the most productive plays have also come on very slow-developing short passes where Heap, Rice, McGahee, or Neal release late from a max-protect package.


·      I would expect Harrison to receive a great deal of attention, but the Steelers have a number of other players who can rush the passer effectively.  The Ravens won’t be able to get a tackle and back/TE on Harrison every play, but if this game turns into the sort of war of attrition that the first 2 were, each chip executed on him will be key in minimizing his effectiveness.

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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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