Bullies Empowered

Filmstudy Bullies Empowered

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Offensive Line Model and Notes vs. Giants 12/23/12

The bullies never come off well in the movies.

Biff Tannen (Back to the Future), Johnny Lawrence (The Karate Kid), Scut Farkas (A Christmas Story)…you’re not tempted to root for them.

On Sunday, Ravens fans cheered for a bullying of epic proportions as Flacco picked on the Giants’ weakest defensive link and their rookie tackle administered a beating to whoever was assigned to stand in front of him.

Corey Webster was victimized by Joe Flacco.  Joe loves the back shoulder and trusts his receivers to outrun or reposition as necessary to make catches in single coverage.  Cornerbacks who can’t find the football are especially vulnerable.  Flacco targeted Webster 15 times on Sunday for a total of 140 passing yards plus a 17-yard pass interference flag.  While Webster would register 3 PDs, he was about as ineffective as possible given generally tight coverage.

A tired Giants defense endured a 20-play (includes 4 penalties) touchdown drive early in the 3rd quarter and never regained their wind.  Meanwhile Kelechi Osemele, overwhelmed the Giants with to-the-whistle blocking, particularly on the Ravens’ last 3 possessions.  We’ll come back to that.

The Ravens had 77 snaps (excluding 4 kneels):

Oher:  The chop block call was very similar to last Thanksgiving’s flag thrown against the 49ers.  On that play Gore blocked Pollard low and Rachal pushed him an instant later.  On Sunday, Oher went immediately low on Kiwanuka and Reid turned to help double and hit him high.  I don’t like cut blocks by linemen on pass plays, but Reid appeared at fault for making the 2nd touch, so I gave him 2/3 of the charge for that penalty.  By the way, if you have something you want to research about the last 2 seasons, the Season Plus package from NFL Game Rewind now includes the 2011 coaches film as well.  Aside from the penalties, Oher otherwise had a difficult day with 8 missed blocks.  He allowed the first of consecutive penetrations by Canty (Q2, 9:36) when Pierce was dropped for a loss of 2.  He was also beaten outside by Umenyiora who forced an incomple pass. (Q3, 13:28).  Scoring:  75 snaps, 65 blocks, 8 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 false start, 1 holding, 1/3 chop block, 49 points (.65 per play).  That’s a D+ when upgraded for the quality of NY’s DEs and OLBs.

Reid:  Jah had trouble with Canty who beat him with a bull rush for a pressure (Q1, 11:29).  He also allowed Canty a free run to take down Pierce for a loss of 7 (Q2, 8:22) when he assisted Oher on a double.  He pulled and was the only one who could have picked up the blitzing Rivers (Q3, 1:10) who knocked down Flacco.  Amazingly, Pierce did a fine job holding up Pierre-Paul on that play, but Reid chose to help there.  He was 5 of 6 overall when pulling, made 7 blocks in level 2, and had 1 pancake.  In addition to his block on Pierce’s 78-yard run, his highlight was a level-2 block on Paysinger which led the way on Rice’s 19-yard run (Q2, 10:11).  Scoring:  77 plays, 67 blocks, 7 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 QH, 2/3 chop block, 54 points (.70 per play). That would be .78 without the chop block charge, but it’s a solid D effort as I saw it.

Birk:  Matt was beaten for a pressure on the Ravens first snap (Q1, 13:03) on a bull by Joseph.  He did not pick up Pierre-Paul moving before the snap, assisted Reid with a double, and allowed the Giants’ end to rush uncontested through the A gap for a QH (Q1, 0:21).  He was again backed up by Joseph for a pressure on Flacco’s TD pass to Rice (Q2, 1:10).  He made 4 of 5 blocks in level 2.  Scoring:  77 Snaps, 71 blocks, 3 missed, 2 pressures, 1 QH, 64 points (.83 per play).  For a center without an adjustment for competition, that’s a C-, which matches his season score.  He’s still able to seal effectively if he doesn’t have to move anyone, and he can find a block in level 2, but he allows a lot of pressure for a center and gets pushed back too easily.

Yanda:   Marshal’s return, coupled with the departure of Williams, was the line’s biggest difference.  He played injured at the end of last season and wasn’t himself, so it was relieving to see him play effectively.  He was beaten inside by Bernard (Q2, 7:36) for a pressure on the reversed Jacoby Jones TD.  He was again beaten for a pressure, this time by Austin (Q4, 11:57) on Rice’s reception for a loss of 3.  He had lots of wins at the point of attack, but his blocking highlight was probably his kickout of Austin on Pierce’s long run.  Yanda was relieved by Gradkowski for the last offensive series (2 snaps).  Scoring:  75 snaps, 70 blocks, 3 missed, 2 pressures, 66 points (.88 per play).  I’d make that an A- with an adjustment for the quality of the Giants’ front 7.

Osemele:  KO had primary responsibility for Jason Pierre-Paul the week after facing Von Miller.  Those are 2 of the league’s best defensive players.  He wasn’t perfect, but he minimized the damage to a penetration from JPP (Q1, 8:14) which resulted in a Rice loss of 1, a QH when he failed to pick up JPP’s stunt (Q3, 6:21), and a pressure to Tracy where he gave too much ground and allowed the pocket to be flushed on what would become Flacco’s 36-yard completion to Pitta (Q3, 7:39).

Osemele had several highlight blocks including a seal on Kiwanuka on Pierce’s 10-yard run left (Q1, 1:25) and a kickout of Rivers on Pierce’s long run (Q4, 9:34).

The final 3 drives, KO played possessed with physical to-the-whistle blocking that the Giants clearly did not appreciate.  On Pierce’s 5-yard run right (Q3, 2:10), Osemele pancaked the lunging JPP, then rolled over him.  He again blocked JPP to the whistle (Q3, 1:02) on Pierce’s 4-yard run middle and JPP shoved back.  On Rice’s 4-yard run (Q4, 14:25), KO finished by flinging Blackburn backwards with 1 arm at the whistle.  In an up-and-down year filled with both enormous promise and rookie mistakes, Kelechi was clearly enjoying handing out a physical beating.

Scoring:  77 snaps, 68 blocks, 6 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 QH, 61 points (.79 per play).  Pierre-Paul had one of his worst games of the season and KO deserves much of the credit.  With the adjustment for facing such a monster, I’d call this game a B+.  Osemele appears to be peaking at the right time (1/2 sack, 3 QHs, and 5 pressures in the last 4 games) and if the Ravens are to win a playoff game at either Houston or Denver, he’ll need to play a big role. 

McKinnie:  Bryant played 5 goal-line snaps as a TE before replacing Oher for the last series at LT.  He made all 7 of his blocks. 

Gradkowski:  He entered at RG for the last 2 snaps and made both his blocks. 

Other Notes: 

  • Flacco had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 17 of 36 drop-backs.  With ATS, Flacco was 14/17 for 167 yards, 0 TD/0 INT (9.8 YPP).  Those are slightly better than average results for such opportunities.
  • Without ATS, he was 11/19 for 142 yards with 2 TD, 0 INT, and was not sacked (7.5 YPP).  Those are outstanding numbers without ATS.
  • The offensive line and Joe each played their part in a sack-less day for the Ravens’ offense.  Based on seasonal norms, he could have expected to throw for 225 yards giving the level of pressure, but he actually threw for 309.  Subjectively, I’d say it was Flacco’s best game of the season with many outstanding throws and only one that was in significant danger of a costly interception (Q3, 14:27).  In particular, his 36-yard, on-the-run completion to Pitta (Q3, 7:39) was one his best career throws.
  • Pierce’s 78-yard run (Q4, 9:34) was as perfectly blocked as any play you’ll see.  Let’s review:
    • Leach motioned back into the backfield from a bunch right;
    • Osemele kicked out Tracy;
    • Yanda kicked out Austin;
    • Birk turned left and sealed Herzlich;
    • Seals from Oher and Reid caught 3 players in the wash including Kiwanuka;
    • Leach led with a pancake on Blackburn;
    • Bajema kicked out Rivers in level 2;
    • Jacoby Jones slowed up Webster in level 2; and
    • Pierce beat the one guy he had to get past with a cut to the outside on Brown
  • The other play which struck me as to the astounding growth of the player was Torrey Smith’s 43-yard catch versus Webster (Q1, 6:02).  The Ravens ran their zone-block left with 2 blockers for the boot right.  Flacco had time to set and launched accurately down the right sideline.  Last season, Torrey’s primary weapon was his speed.  This year, his hands are greatly improved and he has become better at repositioning himself for a throw.  On this play, Webster had step-for-step inside coverage, a recipe that can lead to an interception, but he couldn’t find the football (a consistent theme Sunday) and Smith swam over the cornerback’s right shoulder with his left arm at about the 15-yard line to gain the positional advantage and slid inside to the football.

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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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