Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: No rest for the weary

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Defensive Notes vs. Redskins 12/9/12

As is frequently the case in a close game, the Ravens had a number of 4th-quarter plays which would have greatly increased their chance to win the game if not sealed it. Let’s review:

(Q4, 4:47): Upshaw forced the fumble on the kickoff with the Ravens up 28-20. Reed was ruled to recover and the play was reversed on some of the flimsiest evidence I have ever seen. If that could be overturned, then the Ravens should have been granted a reversal on the Patriots game-winning TD in Baltimore during their perfect regular season.

(Q4, 3:47): On 3rd and 6, Griffin completed a pass to Hankerson for 6 yards. Had the pass been incomplete, the Skins would have punted.

(Q4, 1:42): Cousins entered for Griffin and threw for Garcon. Chris Johnson was flagged for interference and the Redskins converted another 3rd and 6. By this point, the punt option was gone, but the Ravens would have had a shot to stop the Skins on 4th down.

(Q4, 1:37): Cousins completed a 5-yard crossing pattern to Moss who added 10 YAC. Josh Bynes took the wrong angle to Moss and he escaped to the right. Paulson’s block on Ayanbadejo allowed Moss to get to the sideline.

(Q4, 0:45): On 2nd and 20 following intentional grounding by Griffin, Cousins reentered to throw to a wide open Hankerson in the middle of the zone for 15 yards.

(Q4, 0:36): Johnson got inside position on Garcon at the 5-yard line, but took a step towards Moss and Garcon immediately backpedaled and raised his arm for the football. Cousins got the ball over Johnson and into an enormous window to the waiting Garcon to pull the Redskins within 2.

(Q4, 0:29): On the critical 2-point conversion the Ravens lined up in press coverage with all 4 receivers wide (2 to each side). Reed and Pollard each took a side leaving the Ravens just 5 defenders between the tackles. Cousins dropped back and Ngata had good push on Montgomery as Cousins broke past him for the uncontested conversion. Lichtensteiger also had a good block on Bynes.

(OT, 13:52): The Ravens appeared to have gained a field-position advantage with a booming punt from Koch down the right sideline, but despite the favorable location, the Ravens were unable to contain Crawford and the Redskins did not have a flag on the 64-yard return.

The Redskins out-snapped the Ravens 66 to 57 (excluding Flacco’s kneel). As a result, the tired and depleted defense was unable to seal the deal. That’s now 8 times in 9 games that the Ravens have been out-snapped.


  • Versus the Run: 35 plays, 172 yards, 4.9 YPC
  • Versus the Pass: 31 plays, 248 yards, 8.0 YPP
  • Overall: 66 plays, 420 yards, 6.4 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

  • 3 DBs: 2/-2, -1.0 YPPA. These both were 1st and goal from the 1.
  • 4 DBs: 33/232, 7.0 YPPA, 2 sack, 2 TO
  • 5 DBs: 28/185, 6.6 YPPA, 1 sack
  • 6 DBs: 3/5, 1.7 YPPA

By number of pass rushers:

  • 3 or fewer: 1/4, 4.0 YPP
  • 4: 22/149, 6.8 YPP, 3 sacks
  • 5: 6/66, 11.0 YPP
  • 6: 2/29, 14.5 YPP
  • 7: None

Individual Notes:

  • Chris Johnson returned to play nickel for the Ravens after being sidelined since early in the game at Pittsburgh. Johnson had 2 costly mistakes on game-tying drive. He arrived early and twisted Garcon for pass interference (Q4, 1:42) to allow the conversion of 3rd and 6 on Cousins’ first snap. He was then distracted briefly by Moss, which allowed Garcon to get free in the corner of the end zone.
  • Kruger played every snap for the first time in his Ravens career. He had an excellent game in terms of the pass rush provided, but wasn’t particularly effective versus the run. Kruger consistently bulled Polumbus and when he changed up with hands and speed, he shared a sack with Jones (Q4, 2:01). His other sack (Q1,0:58) came on a slow-developing play when he continued to work against Polumbus as Jones and Ngata collapsed the pocket, but couldn’t take down Griffin. The Ravens’ chance to keep Kruger after the season may be slimmer after he played well despite a full workload. He’s had a 5-game stretch which would fit in nicely with a DPOY’s season during which time he’s been party to 8 sacks and 7 QHs.
  • McClain struggled versus both the run and the pass before leaving with a neck injury. He and Bynes continually bit on play fakes and RG III took advantage of the soft middle of the Ravens’ zone. McClain’s tackles were 29, 6, 4, 11, 5, 8, 0, and 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. His assignment was targeted 4 times which included 3 complete passes for 54 yards plus a pass interference penalty. He missed 1 tackle by my count. That’s an awful game for an ILB.
  • Interestingly, it was Bynes who took McClain’s spot at ILB after the injury. He played every snap the remainder of the game with Ayanbadejo and McClellan alternating beside him. Despite his athleticism, Bynes struggled in coverage. Griffin was 4 for 4 throwing to his assignment for 66 yards. That included a 28-yard pass in the seam to FB Darrel Young (ugh). It surprises me that McClellan was not the one to take over for McClain.
  • Only one of the linebackers/linemen played all the snaps: Cody (25), Jones (34), Kemo (17), McPhee (23), Ngata (59), Tyson (6), Ayanbadejo (34), Bynes (41), Kruger (66), McClain (42), McClellan (24), Upshaw (59). Tyson played his last snap midway through Q2 and Hall was inactive which meant McClain’s injury left the Ravens very thin on the front 7. McPhee was used at the end of each half, but otherwise only 3rd down with the exception of a 3 yard TFL at the goal line (Q1, 10:34).
  • Cody started over Kemoeatu and was far too easy to move. He was blocked straight up by Lichtensteiger, guessed wrong and Morris blew past for a 29-yard run (Q1, 15:00). Kemoeatu had an effective day as a pass rusher with a pressure that set up Jones’s sack (Q4,13:52) and a pass batted down at the LoS (Q4, 4:39). He also forced a fumble on Morris (Q2, 9:39) that was scooped up by Kruger. It might have been the best day he ever had as a Raven. It was certainly his biggest impact this season.
  • Ngata had a very active day as a pass rusher with 7 separate pass rushing events (2 QHs + 5 pressures) in 26 snaps as a pass rusher. He had another QH and had forced intentional grounding, but the play was negated by a cheap roughing the passer penalty (Q1, 5:04).
  • Arthur Jones turned in another fine game with all his big plays coming in the 4th quarter. He took down Morris by the ankle for a loss of 3 (Q4, 14:35). On the very next play, he was blocked by both Lichtensteiger and Williams, but rushed wide around the OLS for his first sack. He shared a sack with Kruger on a jailbreak (Q4, 2:01) when he beat Montgomery. He is easily the biggest surprise on the team this season and has registered 4.5 sacks in the last 3 weeks. Jones has maintained intensity as a pass rusher which has manifested itself in some cleanup sack opportunities as well as some pressure which sets up others. He had examples of both Sunday.
  • The defense did a decent job containing RG III including two 5-yard stops on 3rd and 7. They had regular pressure on him after the first two drives. The Ravens had consistent pressure across the line as opposed to just 1 side, which kept Griffin in the pocket.

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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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