Thanksgiving Breakfast – Defensive Notes vs. Jets

Filmstudy Thanksgiving Breakfast – Defensive Notes vs. Jets

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Ever wake up on Thanksgiving and tell yourself to eat light because you have a big meal coming?

The Ravens played a low-snap defensive effort versus the Jets with a showdown with the Steelers looming Thursday.

Playing at home on Thanksgiving has been described as the pot-sweetener for the Ravens not receiving the NFL opener at home.  It’s more than fair compensation and if the Ravens fail to win Thursday, it won’t be because they entered the game tired or banged up.

The Steelers come off a similarly one-sided road win at Cleveland in which they played 73 defensive snaps and are reported to have lost their nose tackle (McClendon, broken ankle) for the season.  Meanwhile the Ravens played just 55 defensive snaps against the Jets and were able to spread them among their active front 7 players:

Several things jumped off the chart at me:


  • Ngata played just 26 snaps.  The big lead provided an outstanding opportunity to rest him for Thursday.  Ngata did not see action on either of the last two series and played just two snaps in the 4th quarter.
  • McPhee and Arthur Brown were again well-rested and effective in the 2nd half.  Each played just five first-half snaps.
  • The fact that Daryl Smith played every snap is not a cause for concern.  He’s the defensive signal caller and the Ravens have always had their green-dot player on the field for every snap.

The Jets’ 55 offensive plays were all competitive:


Versus the Run:  28 plays, 102 yards, 3.6 YPC

Versus the Pass:  27 plays, 118 yards, 4.4 YPC

Overall:  55 plays, 220 yards, 4.0 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

3 DBs:  2 plays, 3 yards, 1.5 YPPA

4 DBs:  19/58, 3.1 YPPA, 1 sack

5 DBs:  34/159, 4.7 YPPA, 2 sacks, 3 TO

6 DBs+:  None

By number of pass rushers:

3:  None

4:  20/94, 4.7 YPP, 2 sacks, 2 TO

5:  4/13, 3.3 YPP

6:  3/11, 3.7 YPP, 1 sack

7:  None

Other Notes


  • The Jets converted 1/12 3rd downs.  On those 12 plays, they gained a total of 8 yards (0.7 YPPA), were sacked once, and turned the ball over twice.
  • All 3 cornerbacks are playing at a high level.  Geno Smith completed a 30-yard pass to Salas in garbage time (Q4, 5:49) on a play where the Jets WR appeared to shove Jimmy Smith with both hands as he broke.  That was Geno’s only completion more than 15 yards from the LoS.  In total, Jimmy was targeted just 3 times.
  • Webb was outstanding in run support and led the team with 6 tackles.   He took down Smith for a gain of 5 on 3rd and 9 (Q1, 0:32).  He tackled first Smith, then Ivory on consecutive runs to the right side (beginning Q2, 10:09).  He was targeted twice, but did not allow a completion and stripped Cumberland of a 3rd down conversion (Q3, 7:59).  He missed a tackle on Powell (Q4, 0:27) that was part of 8 YAC.
  • Graham is fitting well back into an outside corner role, particularly in the recent, windy conditions.  Among 34 defensive snaps, he was targeted only 3 times:
    • (Q3, 1:41)  Graham had Nelson blanketed 30 yards down the right sideline.  Smith’s pass was slightly underthrown with pressure from Dumervil, Corey adjusted well to the ball, and Nelson was unable to disrupt the interception.
    • (Q4, 4:24)  He had coverage of Salas 15 yards down the right sideline.  McPhee bulled Colon for pressure and Graham again intercepted.
    • (Q4, 1:02)  Playing soft as time ran down, Graham read Smith and raced up to knock away a pass intended for Stephen Hill along the right sideline.
  • The Ravens showed little in the way of deceptive pressure.  Pre-snap movement was limited and Pees seemed content to contain Smith.  Of the last 15 times Geno Smith dropped back, the Ravens rushed 4 on 14 occasions.
  • The Ravens’ +2 turnover margin brings them to -3 on the season.  Despite some quality opponents down the stretch, I expect that margin to improve with the combination of high-quality play at cornerback and a furious pass rush.
  • The Ravens are tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 37, but they have been also been sacked 37 times, the 5th -worst total in the league.  They now have 25 sacks with exactly 4 rushing the passer, an outstanding total.
  • Where would the Ravens be without Daryl Smith?  He was credited with PDs on 3 consecutive plays (beginning Q4, 11:21).  It was a rare case where the punt (14 seconds) took longer than the drive (13 seconds).  All that said, while his coverage was good and he would have prevented a first down, I believe the 3rd down pass was a simple drop by Holmes.  He sacked Smith on a patient, delayed blitz past LG Winters (Q2, 8:00) and had one other pressure (Q2, 0:53) among just 3 times rushing the QB.
  • I don’t believe any Raven defender has ever recorded 3 PDs to generate a single 3-and-out on one series.  Based on Gamebook data, there have been only 98 3-PD games in Ravens history.  In any case, it was an outstanding performance.
  • Canty generated a little pressure, but his PD on 3rd down near the goal line appeared headed directly for Daryl Smith who was the front side of bracketed coverage on Nelson.  It was a likely pick 6.
  • In reviewing all of the Jets’ passing plays, it wasn’t any one thing that made them so ineffective.  The Ravens generated decent, but not outstanding pressure.  Smith was made uncomfortable with multiple bull rushes creating a small space from which to throw.  Some of the pressure was late, but Smith held the ball creating some additional failures.  Coverage was outstanding.  The Jets had 3 penalties specifically on pass plays (holding, ineligible man downfield, and an illegal forward pass).  Perhaps most importantly, Smith was well contained in the pocket and did not create any big plays with his legs.

Both teams attempted to overcome the elements with some trickery.  The Jets ran the Wildcat 8 times and gained 33 yards including a 13-yard pass by Cribbs to Geno Smith.  The Ravens got 7 touches for Tyrod Taylor.  The first 2 runs went for first downs (18 and 3 yards).  He added runs for -6 and -7, a 6-yrd reception, and 1 of 2 passing for 6 yards.

In each case, the special packages were not game changers and both the Ravens and Jets put the game in the hands of their regular signal callers.  Flacco delivered 8.1 YPP and a 97.1 QBR on a windy day.  Geno Smith had 4.4 YPP and a QBR of 22.3.

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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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