FILMSTUDY: 2008 Ravens Takeaways-Part III of IV

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: 2008 Ravens Takeaways-Part III of IV

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Was 12/7/08


24.    Q1  1-10-WAS 40 (14:14) J.Campbell pass deep middle intended for S.Moss INTERCEPTED by E.Reed (T.Suggs) at BLT 41. E.Reed to BLT 45 for 4 yards (C.Portis).


The Ravens lined up in the nickel and rushed 4 with no deception.  Suggs beat LT Chris Samuels to the outside and hit Campbell’s arm as he threw.  The ball floated downfield approximately 20 yards in the air where it appeared as if it would fall between Scott, Lewis, Leonhard, and Ivy.  Reed then came diving in to make one of his most spectacular picks as he cradled the ball, completed a somersault, regained his feet, and returned 4 yards.  The Ravens would drive for a TD and the lead they would not relinquish.  Scoring: Reed 11 (5 + 1 return + 3 spectacular + 2 importance), Suggs 4.


25.    Q1  1-10-WAS 11 (9:43) C.Portis up the middle to WAS 22 for 11 yards (E.Reed). FUMBLES (E.Reed), RECOVERED by BLT E. Reed at WAS 22. E.Reed for 22 yards, TOUCHDOWN.  Washington challenged the runner was down by contact ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #1 at 09:30.)


Just 2 and a half minutes later, the Ravens lined up in a standard 4-DB alignment.  Clinton Portis took the handoff and broke left into the 2nd level where he was met by Reed.  From the moment he made contact, it’s apparent Ed’s intention was to strip the ball, not make the tackle.  Leonhard arrived and wrapped up as Reed continued to dig for the ball.  Finally, as Portis was almost down, Reed spun the ball loose inside his elbow and the ground did the rest as the ball bounced out.  Ed scooped it at the 22, turned, and immediately plotted his path to the goal line.  Rolle threw a big block on Campbell, Lewis took out Sellers, and Suggs blocked Samuels.  Moss hit Reed at the 3, spinning him as Santana fell off, but Ed backed in the final yards.  The game was less than 6 minutes old, but the outcome was no longer in doubt.  Scoring:  Reed 20 (5 FF + 5 FR + 5 TD + 3 spectacular + 2 importance), Suggs 2, Lewis 2, Rolle 2, Douglas 1.


26.    Q4  1-15-WAS 34 (2:00) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass deep middle intended for C.Cooley INTERCEPTED by E.Reed at BLT 49. E.Reed to WAS 46 for 5 yards. #20 Ed Reed slid and gave himself up on the play


It had been almost 52 minutes since Ed Reed’s last turnover, but he still had 1 act left.  Leading 24-10, the Ravens rushed 4, dropping Johnson to coverage in the nickel vs. a 3 WR set from the Skins.  Suggs applied good pressure from the ORS, but did not touch Campbell.  Lewis was in Campbell’s face as he released deep middle for Cooley.  The ball was thrown well off target and Reed had an easy INT.  Ed returned the ball 5 yards, then slid to the ground, holding the ball up.  Randle-El grabbed it away, a good way to take a big hit, but the play had been whistled dead with the slide.  The importance point may be generous, but the play sealed a game the Ravens had to have in their playoff run.  Scoring: Reed 7 (5 + 1 return + 1 importance), Lewis 3.


Pit 12/14/08


27.    Q3  1-10-PIT 1 (7:41) B.Roethlisberger pass short left to S.Holmes to PIT 10 for 9 yards (S.Rolle). FUMBLES (S.Rolle), RECOVERED by BLT E. Reed at PIT 21. E.Reed to PIT 16 for 5 yards (M.Starks).


The Steelers lined up with 3 upright receivers in their familiar “V” formation on the ORS and a single back.  The Ravens had a standard set with Leonhard up close in run support.  The Ravens rushed 5 and Roethlisberger took a short drop and threw left to Holmes who caught the ball at the 3, and was stripped by Rolle at the 8.  The ball squirted forward where Reed collected it at the Pit 16 (the Gamebook recovery mark does not match the video) where he was immediately tackled by Starks.  With no return, I assigned no blocking points despite the fact that several players were in position to do so.  At the time the Ravens led 6-3.  They would extend to 9-3 on this possession, again settling for 3 on a red zone opportunity.  Scoring:  Rolle 7 (5 FF + 2 importance), Reed 6 (5 FR + 1 importance).


28.    Q4  3-1-BLT 24 (15:00) (Shotgun) B.Roethlisberger sacked at BLT 30 for -6 yards (T.Suggs). FUMBLES (T.Suggs), RECOVERED by BLT B. McKinney at BLT 33. B.McKinney to BLT 37 for 4 yards (H.Miller). PENALTY on BLT-H.Ngata, Personal Foul, 15 yards, enforced at BLT 37.


On 3rd and 1, the Steelers lined up in a 2-back, 2 TE formation.  The Ravens countered with only 1 CB (Walker) and rushed 5 as Scott dropped to coverage.  Suggs beat Miller on the ORS.  Roethlisberger pump faked, but the defense did not flinch as he rolled to the right.  When he reloaded, Suggs and Bannan both hit him.  The ball popped up (it appears to me to have been dislodged by Bannan’s helmet) and was taken from the air by McKinney near the right sideline.  Before a return could develop, McKinney was tripped up by Greisen.  Ngata was called for unnecessary roughness which nullified very good field position.  It was a huge play at the time and preserved the Ravens 9-3 lead.  Scoring:  Suggs 7 (3 FF + 3 sack + 1 importance), Bannan 6 (2 FF + 3 phantom sack + 1 importance), McKinney 7 (5 FR + 1 importance + 1 acrobatic grab), Ngata -3.  Bannan was not officially credited with a QH or sack, but I credited him with 2 of the 5 FF points and sack points since he hit Roethlisberger at essentially the same time as Suggs.  I also split 3 importance points on this turnover. 


Dal 12/20/08


29.    Q1  2-3-DAL 49 (13:00) T.Romo pass deep middle intended for Roy E.Williams INTERCEPTED by E.Reed at BLT 8. E.Reed to BLT 8 for no gain (Roy E.Williams).


The Cowboys lined up 212 (2 WRs, 1 TE, 2 RBs) against 4 Ravens DB’s.  The Ravens rushed 4 with Johnson dropping to cover.  After play action, Romo rolled right and released deep to the right numbers for Roy Williams.  Ngata provided good pressure and the ball was essentially thrown up for grabs.  Romo would later refer to it as a punt.  Reed took the ball at the 8 and was immediately taken down by Williams.  Scoring:  Reed 7 (5 + 2 importance), Ngata 3.


30.    Q2  3-2-DAL 37 (:43) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass deep left intended for T.Owens INTERCEPTED by E.Reed at BLT 20. E.Reed to BLT 49 for 29 yards (T.Choice).


With 0:43 left in the half, the Cowboys lined up with 3 WR vs. the Ravens nickel.  The Ravens rushed 6 with McClain flushing Romo left from the pocket.  He unloaded deep down the left sideline for Terrell Owens who was covered by Walker.  The ball was badly underthrown.  TO made no effort to return for the ball and Walker did not separate from TO, allowing Reed to slip underneath for an easy pick.  Reed returned the ball nearly to midfield which set up the Ravens for the FG that would give them a 9-7 halftime lead that they would never surrender.  As always, he looked to lateral, but this time resisted the urge.  Rolle, Scott, McClain, and Walker all threw blocks on the return. Scoring:  Reed 11 (5 + 3 importance + 3 return), McClain 5 (3 pressure + 2 block), Rolle 2, Scott 2, Leonhard 1.


Jax 12/28/08


31.  Q1 2-7-JAX 21 (8:29) D.Garrard pass short right to D.Northcutt to JAX 33 for 12 yards (F.Walker). FUMBLES (F.Walker), RECOVERED by BLT-R.Lewis at JAX 33. R.Lewis to JAX 33 for no gain (T.Pashos).


The Jags lined up with 2 WR and 2 TE vs. the Ravens nickel on 2nd and 7.  The Ravens rushed just the base 4 and an unpressured Garrard completed a slant pass right to Northcutt.  Walker, in single coverage, was beaten inside trying to press Northcutt, but recovered to knock the ball loose with his left arm as he wrapped up.  Lewis pounced on it quickly in what would be his first of 2 FRs.  The 3 importance points were split.  There was no return.  Scoring:  Walker 7 (5 FF + 1 importance + 1 for the nice FF while recovering from behind), Lewis 7 (5 FR + 2 importance).


32.   Q29-BLT 19 (2:14) (Shotgun) D.Garrard pass short middle intended for R.Williams INTERCEPTED by E.Reed at BLT 15.  E.Reed to BLT22 for 7 yards. Lateral to H.Ngata to BLT 29 for 7 yards (T.Pashos).


On 3rd and 9, the Jags line up with 3 WRs and 2 RBs.  The Ravens rushed 5 from the nickel with both Ngata and Suggs dropping to coverage.  Garrard looked to Williams on the slant.  In review, it appears Reed actually misread the intended receiver as Walker, but acrobatically reached back across his body for the pick.  He returned to the 25, then flipped the ball to Ngata at the 22 who returned it 7 yards where he was undercut by Owens.  It wasn’t his best lateral decision ever.  While Enberg gleefully announced Ngata was the largest ball carrier in the game, Reed got an earful from Harbaugh.  Whatever he told him could not have been particularly memorable, as we will see.  Scoring:  Reed 12 (5 + 2 importance + 3 acrobatics + 1 return + 1 lateral), Ngata 2 (1 lateral accepted + 1 return), McClain 1.


33.  Q4  2-9-JAX 39 (5:56) (Shotgun) M.Jones-Drew right guard to JAX 41 for 2 yards (B.Scott). FUMBLES (B.Scott), RECOVERED by BLT-R.Lewis at JAX 40. R.Lewis to JAX 40 for no gain (B.Meester).


Jets fans watching this game on a 2nd TV (the Dolphins and Jets were playing at the same time at the Meadowlands) would have been very upset with the Jags 4th quarter play selection.  Down 20, Jax ran a draw to Jones-Drew on 2nd and 9 vs. the Ravens nickel.  Scott met him in the A gap and ripped the ball free.  Lewis was being held around the shoulders by Jags RG Norman, but somehow managed to flop on the football first beating the TE Estandia who was equidistant and unblocked.  Many thought this would be Ray’s last home game as a Raven and he led the team with 8 tackles a forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries.  Scoring:  Scott 6 (5 FF + 1 importance), Lewis 6 (5 FR + 1 fighting through hold on the recovery).  The importance point is a little generous, but the play sealed the game and playoff spot for the Ravens with less than 6 minutes left.  From this point on, Ravens fans focused their hopes on a Miami win in New Jersey so no trip to New England would be necessary.


34.  Q4  2-6-BLT 31 (2:00) (Shotgun) D.Garrard pass deep middle intended for D.Northcutt INTERCEPTED by E.Reed at BLT -7.  E.Reed to BLT 31 for 38 yards. FUMBLES, recovered by BLT-T.Suggs at BLT 30. T.Suggs to BLT 30 for no gain (K.Barnes).


At the 2 minute warning, the Jags had driven to the Ravens 31 and lined up with 3 WRs vs. the Ravens nickel.  Showing a complete lack of respect for the Jags receiving corps, the Ravens continued to play nickel despite the score and time.  To compound the insult, the Ravens rushed 7 with Reed dropping to centerfield and man coverage by 3 corners on the Jags 3 wideouts.  Despite the alignment, both Williamson and Northcutt got behind their corners (Rolle and Oglesby).  Garrard was pressured by Leonhard and Scott, but threw over Rolle and Oglesby to the right half of the Ravens endzone.  Either aforementioned Jax receiver might have caught the ball had Reed not slid into the passing lane and made a leaping interception.  Predictably, Reed returned the ball 38 yards before attempting a lateral to Rolle.  This time, the pitch was wide, but Suggs recovered at the Ravens 30.  No importance points on this one.  Scoring:  Reed 10 (5 + 1 leaping + 4 return), Leonhard 5 (3 pressure + 2 block), Scott 4 (3 pressure + 1 convoy), Rolle 2, Bannan 2, Suggs 2 (convoyed and I awarded a point for the recovery), Greisen 2, Oglesby 1, Ngata 1.


This was the Ravens last regular season takeaway.  Here are the scores through 16 games:


The scoring through 16 games:













































Just how special was Ed Reed’s season?  Many football historians would tell you that Night Train Lane’s 14 interceptions in 12 games as a rookie in 1952 was a greater feat.  However, Lane played that year in a league that featured 2.1 interceptions per team per game.  In fact 7.4% of all passes were intercepted that season, a percentage that has not been matched since.  By comparison, interceptions had dropped to an all-time low .9 per team per game (2.8% of passes intercepted was also the all-time lowest) in 2008.  I made a comparison of every league-leading interception total from 1950 through 2008.  Adjusted to 2008 interceptions (by interceptions per game and number of games played), here are the all-time single season leaders:












Paul Krause+ (22)





Dainard Paulson (27)





Deltha O’Neal (28)





Ty Law (31)





Emmitt Thomas+ (31)





Ed Reed (30)





Asante Samuel (25)





Champ Bailey (28)





Antonio Cromartie (23)





Mark A. Carrier (22)





Lester Hayes (25)


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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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