FILMSTUDY: Defensive notes vs. Giants 12/23/12

Filmstudy FILMSTUDY: Defensive notes vs. Giants 12/23/12

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During the Denver broadcast, Gumbel quoted Harbaugh as saying the Ravens needed “more yards, more first downs, and more snaps.” The Ravens were outsnapped for the 9th time in 10 games versus Denver.  However, they reversed that trend against the Giants, outsnapping New York by a whopping 81-45 margin en route to a 33-14 win.

The Ravens would knock down Eli Manning 9 times including 3 sacks in 31 drop backs, and allowed just 3.8 YPP.  Manning had been sacked an NFL-low 16 times entering the game.

The Ravens are now tied for 2nd in the entire NFL with 89 passes defensed, but have just 13 interceptions, one every 6.85 PDs.  The Giants are the NFL’s most successful team at converting hands on the football to interceptions with 20 INTs on just 66 PDs (one every 3.3).  The league average is one every 5.12 PDs.

By comparison, the Ravens have been the league’s most successful team in terms of fumble recoveries with a league-low 6 fumbles forced, but 10 recovered.  The 2010 Patriots (11 FF, 12 FR) and 2010 Browns (8 FF, 9 FR) were the last teams to have more fumbles recovered than forced for a full season.  Since the NFL started keeping such statistics in 2001, only the 2001 broncos (9 FF, 11 FR) and 2002 Vikings (5 FF, 7 FR) finished with 2 more recoveries than forced.


  • Versus the Run:  14 plays, 67 yards, 4.8 YPC
  • Versus the Pass:  31 plays, 119 yards, 3.8 YPP
  • Overall:  45 plays, 186 yards, 4.1 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

  • 3 DBs:  None
  • 4 DBs:  15/81, 5.4 YPPA, 1 sack
  • 5 DBs:  26/114, 4.4 YPPA, 1 sack
  • 6 DBs:  4/-9, -2.3 YPPA, 1 sack

By number of pass rushers:

  • 3 or fewer:  2/7, 3.5 YPP
  • 4:  14/60, 4.3 YPP, 2 sacks
  • 5:  9/15, 1.7 YPP, 1 sack
  • 6:  5/26, 5.2 YPP
  • 7:  1/11, 11.0 YPP

Individual Notes:

  • The Ravens had 2 changes in the secondary.  Jimmy Smith was active, but played only special teams, as Chykie Brown was the full-time nickel.  Omar Brown also replaced Sean Considine as the dime and turned in a game effort with the first 4 defensive snaps of his career.
  • Chykie Brown gets the list treatment this week with a terrific effort in just 30 snaps:
    • He made the tackle on Bradshaw’s direct snap to foil the Giants’ 3rd and 2 attempt (Q1, 13:49).
    • He drew offensive pass interference on Hixon to negate a 39-yard completion down the right sideline (Q2, 4:14).
    • He knocked down Manning’s pass thrown a little behind Hixon (Q3, 5:11).
    • He stripped Nicks of a 14-yard completion down the right sideline (Q3, 3:47).
    • He leapt without finding the football and it caromed off his waist for a PD (Q4, 10:42).
    • He dislodged the football from Randle between the hash and right numbers (Q4, 3:31).
    • He lined up in press coverage of Hixon and was beaten down the right sideline for a TD (Q4, 3:24) on the Giants’ final play from scrimmage.
    • Games with 4 PDs are exceedingly rare and to have one in 30 snaps is outstanding.
  • Chris Johnson was active, but did not see action on either defense or special teams per the Gamebook.  I assume this means he was nursing an injury of some sort, but I would also guess he’s lost his nickel spot to Chykie.
  • Omar Brown got his first 4 NFL defensive snaps as the dime back and picked up right where he left off in the preseason.  The Ravens dime pass rush gave the Giants fits on those 4 plays:
    • (Q1, 6:48) Ihedigbo evaded Bradshaw for a QH as manning threw incomplete
    • (Q2, 3:38) The Ravens rushed only 3, but Kruger dislodged the football for an apparent sack/FF.  The play was eventually ruled an incomplete pass, but it appeared Upshaw recovered, then fumbled himself.
    • (Q3, 13:28) Ayanbadejo blitzed through the right A gap as Kruger occupied Snee and Baas blocked McPhee.  Based on the parting of those 2 linemen, the play appeared designed pressure through that gap as opposed to Brendon simply picking the spot.
    • (Q3, 3:43) Brown and Brown blitzed from the ORS.  Chykie was picked up, but Omar slipped right by Bradshaw to the outside to take down Manning for a loss of 9.
    • In a debut that won’t require exaggeration for his grandchildren, Brown’s 4 plays resulted in -9 yards, 3 QHs, and his own sack of the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
  • James Ihedigbo had a fine game as the replacement for Pollard.  He diagnosed the direct snap to Bradshaw (Q1, 13:49) and penetrated past Bennett to blow up the 3rd and 2 attempt.  He would add QHs on consecutive pass plays, although the second went for a 43-yard completion (Q1, 4:19), and finished with 4 tackles.
  • The ILB situation was settled with Ellerbe returning to play every snap while Josh Bynes and Brendon Ayanbadejo split time next to Dannell.  Ellerbe led the team with 5 tackles and had an outstanding snap anticipation and sack of Manning that was negated by a blown offsides call on Suggs.  Using the line-judge’s angle, Ellerbe was actually the 3rd man to cross the line of scrimmage.  Suggs did so 2 clicks (.07 seconds) after the ball first moved, McPhee 5 clicks (.17 seconds), and Ellerbe 9 clicks (.3 seconds).  There are perhaps 4-6 plays per game which are closer in terms of either lining up offsides or jumping early and they are rarely flagged.
  • The team played without a nose tackle for the final 3 drives.  Cody played just 5 defensive snaps and Kemo 13 for the game.  Pernell McPhee was again used sparingly (18 snaps), but was on the field for most of the last 3 drives and 2 of the 3 sacks.
  • With Albert McClellan out, Upshaw, Kruger, and Suggs split the snaps at OLB.  It looks as if there is a strong preference to keep Kruger fresh, so Upshaw started, played most running downs (but only 24 total snaps) and Kruger played 31 snaps (23 passes).  Beginning early in the 2nd quarter (Q2, 12:57) Kruger played all but 2 snaps.
  • Ngata had a solid game and by far his lowest snap count of the season (34, previous low 49) excepting his 0-snap, exercise-bike-riding activation for the Oakland game.  He split a double from Beatty and Boothe to take down Bradshaw for a gain of 2 (Q1, 0:03) and 2 plays later he slapped aside Snee to register a 15-yard sack on Manning.  He later penetrated through the vacated hole left by the pulling Boothe to take down Bradshaw for no gain (Q4, 7:20).
  • Arthur Jones registered 2 more QHs and a tackle in just 17 snaps (10 passing).  He has now had 4.5 sacks and 5 QH in the last 5 games.
  • Tyson was the lone significant defensive disappointment.  He played 11 snaps on which the Giants averaged 11.6 YPPA.  Bennett drove him back several yards to lead Wilson’s 14-yard TD run (Q1, 1:34).  He did draw a holding flag on Snee to negate a 13-yard run by Bradshaw (Q2, 5:21)
  • Corey Graham and Paul Kruger are in a tight battle for the team lead in Net Yardage Over Average.  That stat compares the yards gained on plays with the player in compared to the NFL-wide average for similar down and distance.  So far, the Ravens have allowed 224.6 less yards than expected with Kruger in (.32 yards per play better) and 222.4 fewer yards than expected with Graham inserted (.42 yards per play).  It’s not a good thing to have role players leading your team in such a category.  Good defenses have their ironmen lead in this aggregate category, while the Colts, for example, are led by Mario Harvey (36.6 fewer yards in just 25 snaps) while their regulars are all in the -500 range.  I do think there is something to learn from these statistics, but they would be better if also adjusted to the team per-play averages.

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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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