Defense Bottles Up Raiders’ Attack

Filmstudy Defense Bottles Up Raiders’ Attack

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The Ravens’ schizophrenic season went back into the green with a convincing effort against the Raiders.

They never trailed (like the first 2 wins). They won the takeaway battle 1-0, including a fumble returned for a TD by Jimmy Smith. The Ravens defense produced enough big plays (3 sacks, 2 holding penalties, 13 incomplete passes, 1 turnover) needed to get the Raiders off the field regularly. Joe Flacco was neither sacked nor intercepted. The Ravens rolled up 365 yards, including 143 on the ground while playing to close out the game for the entire 2nd half. The Ravens were penalized just once for 5 yards.

Aside from 3 injuries (Skura, Davis, West) and some difficulty stopping the run, it was about as close to perfect as a conference win against a tough opponent can be.

More pressure Schemes

Pees continued with more schemed pressure with both numbers and deception.

pass-rushers-raidersNeither of the 7-man pressures were converted. The first was out quickly, but too low for Cook (Q3, 6:30) with Weddle trailing and Webb, Onwuasor, and Mosley all blitzing. Just 3 plays later, the Ravens again brought 7 which the Raiders stopped for an ample time and space (ATS) opportunity, but Manuel overthrew Crabtree in the end zone (Q3, 5:03).

Pees increased the individual blitzes to 13 on 29 pass plays. Of the 13 individual blitzes, 8 came from the secondary (Jefferson 3, Webb 3, Weddle 2), which had 2 of the 3 sacks. By my definitions, 6 of the 29 rushes were deceptive and Manuel had ATS on just 11 of 29 drop backs.

In words, the Ravens generated pressure by a variety of means, but Manuel didn’t make them pay for rushing numbers.

Troubles Stopping Run Continue

The Ravens allowed 9 more run plays of 6+ yards after allowing 12 such plays versus the Steelers. However, the Raiders’ longest run was 14 yards and the Raiders generated just 2 such plays after the first 20 minutes as the game situation forced them to take more chances throwing the ball.

Here are racing form notes on those 9 run plays using just shorthand notation and uniform numbers:

— (Q1, 12:05): LG 70 blocked 97, TE 86 blocked 55, LT72 blocked 48 in L2 to lead 24 RM7

— (Q1, 11:10): LG 70 blocked 94, C 61 blocked 57 in L2 to lead 24 RM9

— (Q1, 10:34): LT 72 blocked 99, TE 87 sealed 93 then 57 in L2 to lead 30 RL14

— (Q1, 10:03): TE 88 blocked 90, wasted good penetration by 94 vs. RG 76, C 61 blocked 57 in L2 to lead 24RR6

— (Q1, 8:05): LG 70 blocked 57, LT 72 blocked 55, C 61 sealed 69 to lead 30 RL6

— (Q2, 11:52): C 61 blocked 97, LG 70 and LT 72 doubled 69, to lead 24 RM6 with 56 MT at 3

— (Q2, 10:03): RG 76 and RT 73 sealed 42, LG 70 blocked 57 in L2, 86 kicked out 54 to lead 49 RM11 with 48 MT at 7

— (Q3, 4:19): QB 3 scrambles for RM10 with MT 32 at 8

— (Q4, 11:30): RG 76 sealed 97, TE 87 sealed 93, WR 10 controlled 99 to lead 24 RR9

Kelechi Osemele was a big part of most of these runs.  The Raiders also did a good job of getting a helmet on Mosley in L2 and the edge setters had difficulties with eligible receivers. The 3 missed tackles cost the Ravens only 9 yards.

I encourage folks who are interested to go to Game Pass and review these plays to see if you think there are other key factors in these runs.

Individual Notes by Positional Group

I don’t review the play of every player each week, just some of the key performances (good and bad) which contributed to the outcome.

Please note my snap totals will typically be lower than other published sources such as PFF or the NFL Gamebook, because I exclude kneels, spikes, accepted penalties which result in no play, and special teams plays that result in run or pass. The Ravens had 54 defensive snaps versus the Raiders.

Defensive Line

The Ravens activated 5 defensive linemen, but the surprise of the day was Wormley’s activation with Kaufusi a healthy scratch. If Carl Davis is lost for an extended period, such decisions will be simplified as 3 of the 8 defensive lineman who made the team are now hurt. Until Davis or Brandon Williams returns, I expect Wormley, Kaufusi, and Ricard all to get significant rotational time in support of Henry and Pierce.

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Willie Henry (40 snaps) led the Ravens DL in snaps. On 22 pass snaps, he registered a pressure, a QH, and 2 PDs as I scored it. Perhaps most impressively, he registered both batted passes while facing double teams (Q2, 11:57 and Q4 2:21). He also had a hand in blowing up 2 run plays for losses (Q1, 6:02 and Q3, 14:57). It’s hard to believe he was inactive the first 2 weeks, but after 3 NFL games on defense he’s now a fixture on passing situations (9 of 13 3rd-down snaps versus the Raiders) and has played 40, 28, and 40 snaps the last 3 weeks.

Michael Pierce (39 snaps) had an off game. He did not generate a pressure in 16 pass snaps and made just 1 tackle (a stuff) on 23 run snaps. As you can infer from the racing form notes above, he was handled on Oakland’s big run plays.

Chris Wormley (13 snaps) made his NFL debut and registered a pressure on his first pass rush snap (Q1, 5:20).  He also provided front-side containment on Suggs’ sack (Q4, 13:10).

Linebackers

The Ravens again activated all 9 of their linebackers (5 OLBs, 4 ILBs). Freeny was again the only LB who did not see action on defense.

Patrick Onwuasor (36 snaps) had a mixed game. He played all but 1 snap when the Ravens were in the standard or nickel defense. Of his 5 tackles, 2 were run stuffs. He didn’t generate any pressures, but I also don’t have a negative coverage event noted for him. His most significant contribution was forcing Cook’s fumble, which was returned for the score that put the Ravens up 14-0.  Kamalei Correa played just 1 snap defensively.

CJ Mosley (all 54 snaps) had just 2 run stuffs among 6 tackles. While some of the Raiders runs of 6+ yards are listed as left or right, Oakland piled up the bulk of their yardage inside the edge defenders and they accounted for Mosley on those plays.

Tyus Bowser (8 snaps) has played just 22 total snaps over the last 3 weeks beginning with a poor performance in London. He didn’t make my notes or register a statistic on the defensive scoresheet. He’s fighting with 4 other OLBs for playing time, but Pees is using an OLB to rush from the inside on most passing situations.

Tim Williams (8 snaps) had 2 pressures by bull rush of LT Donald Penn (Q1, 5:15 and Q3, 8:20) in 5 pass rush snaps, but he also missed a tackle and lost backside containment of Manuel which allowed the Raiders QB to extend a 22-yard pass play to Roberts (Q3, 7:45).  Williams was removed immediately after the latter play and did not return.

Matthew Judon (33 snaps) had just 1 pressure, but made 2 nice plays in coverage:

— (Q1, 5:20): He had tight coverage of Cook in the end zone as Manuel overthrew him.

— (Q3, 15:00): He knocked away a pass intended for Roberts behind the LoS and tackled him for good measure.

Judon was credited with 4 tackles including a 2-yard loss by Lynch (Q1, 6:02), but he was handled by WR Roberts on one of the longer Raiders runs.

Za’Darius Smith (36 snaps) was used to rush from the inside frequently in passing situations. I scored him for 3 pressures in 23 pass rush snaps.  He had 4 tackles, all on plays of 5+ yards.

Terrell Suggs (40 snaps) rebounded from a poor game against the Steelers to play well. He delivered a pressure (on Henry’s QH), a QH (on the play that resulted in Cook’s fumble), and a sack (Q4, 13:10) in 21 snaps as a pass rusher.

Secondary

Marlon Humphrey (53 snaps) started his first NFL game opposite Jimmy Smith with Carr in the slot. The only play he missed was the Raiders 3rd snap on which Cook fumbled. He missed a tackle on Crabtree which allowed 11 YAC (Q1, 6:42), but did not otherwise allow any big plays. He was fortunate that Manuel overthrew Crabtree in the end zone, which should have been a pitch-and-catch TD.

Brandon Carr (54 snaps) played the entire game and allowed his first TD as a Raven. Both of the big plays he allowed (41-yard TD to Crabtree, Q2, 9:20 as well as the 22-yard pass to Roberts Q3, 7:45) came when Manuel extended the play due to failures in pass rush containment. He’s not a speedster and requires an effective pass rush to complement his press skills.

Eric Weddle (54 snaps) had a mixed game, but finished strong. He drew a hold on Patterson (Q2, 5:18) that stalled a drive. He ducked under the pull of RG Feliciano to trip up Lynch for no gain (finished by Suggs, Q3,11:16). He violently dislodged a pass from Roberts for a PD on the Raiders final drive (Q4, 2:10). He led the team with 7 tackles, but also missed 1 that allowed Manuel the extra yardage required to convert a 3rd and 9 run (Q3, 4:19). The Raiders would pull within a touchdown on the next play.

Jimmy Smith (7 snaps) played the first series and exited with a sore Achilles after he returned Cook’s fumble for a TD. He was used on just 4 more snaps, all in a 4-CB dime alignment the Ravens have not previously used this season. Manuel did not throw at him in 6 coverage snaps.

Lardarius Webb (39 snaps) was used extensively after the injury to Jimmy Smith forced Carr back to his normal spot on the outside. Webb played several snaps as a cover-2 safety, which allowed Jefferson to play closer to the LoS, something Pees has rarely done this season, but that Jefferson did often in Arizona. One such play resulted in Jefferson’s sack (Q2, 3:23) which came on an uncontested rush off the slot. Webb also hustled to make the block on Manuel that helped finish Jimmy Smith’s TD return.

Anthony Levine (13 snaps) continues to make the most of limited opportunities. He stood in the left B-gap and rushed uncontested to sack Manuel for a loss of 8 (Q3, 10:31).  It was his first career sack in 6 NFL seasons.

Defensive stars of the game:

  1. Willie Henry
  2. Jimmy Smith
  3. Terrell Suggs

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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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