The Ravens continued a historically bad season against the run by allowing 19 runs of 6 or more yards.
The Ravens have allowed 4.3 YPC this season, matching their average gain, but this is a franchise that has never allowed 4 yards per carry in a season. It’s foreign to both Ravens fans and probably the coaches as well to see the team struggle so mightily.
Despite the many effective runs by the Bears, the Ravens actually played a Jekyll-and-Hyde game against the run with 9 other tackles for loss. Let’s review both the positive and negative in racing form.
First, the runs of 6+ yards:
— (Q1, 10:10): 29 (Cohen) RL7 (run left for 7 yards), TEs 86, 88 doubled 90, 86 comboed to 22, LT 72 blocked 48
— (Q1, 5:13): 24 RM6, C 65 blocked 97, RG 75 blocked 48 in L2, RT 70 blocked 93
— (Q2, 15:00): 24 RM8, RG 75 blocked 97, RT 70 blocked 92, 86 blocked 57
— (Q2, 13:01): 10 RL19, 48 and 99 followed 29 crossing to right,10 escaped pocket to empty zone.
— (Q2, 7:49): 29 RL7, Ravens show double A, Bears zone block left, 86 blocked 55, LG 71 blocked 69, WR 19 blocked 32
— (Q3, 13:32): 24 RM11, LT 72 blocked 55, LG 71 blocked 69, FB 46 blocked 48
— (Q3, 12:57): 24 RM6, C 65 blocked 48 in L2, LG 71 blocked 97, RT 72 blocked 93, TE 86 blocked 57
— (Q3, 7:54): 29 RM9, WR 18 blocked 32 in L2, TE 88 kicked out 90, LT 72 sealed 42 and 57 (hold?)
— (Q3, 7:02): 24 RM7, LG 71 blocked 93, RG 75 blocked 69, RT 70 blocked 57 in L2
— (Q3, 6:27): 24 RR6, WR 19 blocked 24, TE 86 blocked 21, RG 75 blocked 57, WR 18 blocked 22 in L2
— (Q3, 4:54): 24 RM7, LG 71 blocked 90, LT 72 blocked 55, WR 19 blocked 22 in L2
— (Q3, 2:27): 24 RM6, LG 71 sealed 97, FB 46 blocked 93, LT 72 blocked 99, WR 19 blocked 22 in L2
— (Q3, 1:51): 24 RM6, LT 72 kicked out 55, LG 71 blocked 97, RG 75 blocked 42, 86 blocked 57 in L2, C 65 blocked 48 in L2
— (Q3,1:15): 29 RR8, TE 88 blocked 99, RG 75 sealed 93, RT 70 blocked 57 in L2
— (Q4, 2:07): 24 RM8, LG 71 blocked 97, RG 75 blocked 69 (from behind, IBW?), TE 86 blocked 55, LT 72 blocked 32 in L2, C 65 blocked 48 in L2
— (Q4, 0:31): 24 RL8, 24 ran ill-advised run left OOB with little blocking help.
— (OT, 9:35): 24 RL10, 55 bulled LT 72 to divert 24, but TE 86 blocked 48, RG 75 blocked 97, WR 18 blocked 22 in L2
— (OT, 7:33): 10 RR9, left clean pocket on 3rd and 17, pushed OOB by 41
— (OT, 5:40): 24 RL53, LT 72 blocked 93, LG 71 blocked 69 as part of big pile, C 65 blocked 57 in L2 and tripped to add to pile, TE 88 blocked 22 in L2, and 32 MT at 2 (tackled ball)
Some notes on the positive runs:
— As a group, these plays were extremely well blocked.
— LG Josh Sitton (71) made a number of key blocks and was the most effective Bears lineman in the run game.
— The Bears running backs did a good job of getting a few yards after contact on most plays, but the only big missed tackle was charged to Weddle on Howard’s 53-yard run.
— Of the 19 longest runs, 15 went for gains of 6-9 yards.
— The Bears benefitted from an officiating crew that called a very loose game with regard to holding/illegal blocks.
— The Ravens showed notable fatigue on the defensive line from the early loss of Bronson Kaufusi, who left after just 5 snaps, all of which came at the beginning of Q2. He left a play after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Weddle on which he made the tackle (Q2, 13:01) and did not return. After his departure, the remaining linemen were heavily taxed.
— The Bears’ extensive use of 2-RB and 2-TE sets exacerbated the lack of DL rotation in this game, because the Ravens averaged 2.57 defensive linemen per Bears snap, easily their highest figure of the season.
— The Bears were successful running in every direction and I don’t think the edge players were any more or less responsible than the defensive interior or linebackers for these plays.
— The Bears eligible receivers made a number of effective blocks on the edge and against the secondary.
Now the 9 tackles for loss:
— (Q1, 12:17): 24 RR-3, 97 beat C 65 left to blow up/tackle, 99 arrived simultaneously, but received no tackle credit
— (Q1, 3:57): 29 RM-6, 55 beat TE 88 outside to blow up pitch left
— (Q1, 3:19): 29 RR-7, 99 held edge vs. TE 86 then shed him for tackle
— (Q2, 3:36): 24 RL-1, 99 shed pulling RG 75 for tackle
— (Q2, 2:07): 29 RM-1, 57 shot right A gap unblocked for tackle
— (Q3, 5:41): 24 RL-7, 55 shed TE 88 to tackle
— (Q4, 2:00): 24 RM-2, 93 penetrated past RT 70, 97 beat C 65 left to blow up, 42 cleaned up to deny 3rd and 1
— (OT, 5:09): 29 RM-1, 32 penetrated unblocked for tackle
— (OT, 3:43): 24 RM-2, 69 beat LT 72 inside for tackle
Notes on the tackles for loss:
— While the successful runs were mostly plays with 3 or 4 well-choreographed blocks, all but 2 of the TFLs by the Ravens were individual efforts.
— Matt Judon was the Ravens’ most effective run defender and could easily have been credited with a piece of 3 run tackles for loss. He was also mentioned just twice among the key blocks on the 6+ yard runs for the Bears.
Where do the Ravens go from here in terms of defending the run?
— For starters, the Ravens need to get healthy up front. There is no substitute for a healthy DL rotation. They regressed another step this game with the injury to Kaufusi, which is of unknown severity at this time. Carl Davis practiced this week and should return soon. The key man, of course, is Brandon Williams.
— Aside from the line, the Ravens are still suffering at WLB. They probably need to consider ILB and another young safety as priorities in the 2018 draft. The ILB situation briefly hit panic when Mosley was forced out with what appeared to be an equipment problem on the first drive.
— The 2017 Ravens have allowed 848 yards on 199 carries (4.3 YPC). The 2000 unit to which they were regularly compared through the preseason and first 2 games allowed just 970 yards for the entire season on 361 carries (2.7 YPC). In addition to the total yards, it is a significant concern that opponents have been in a position to run the ball more than 33 times per game.
— It’s true that the Ravens rushing yards allowed total includes a 58-yard run on a fake punt (not really a defensive play), but given the fact the 2012 Ravens squeaked under 4 YPC on a kneel by Andy Dalton on the last play of the regular season, I can’t construct a compelling argument to exclude that play from the average.
Success Rushing the Passer
Despite vanilla scheme, the Ravens had success rushing Trubisky, allowing ample time and space (ATS) on just 6 of 21 drop backs (29%). The Ravens sacked him 4 times, and knocked him down another 3 times (including 2 where he had ATS).
Pees called just 2 deceptive pass rushes all day:
— (Q2, 1:57): Judon stunted through the left A gap for an 8-yard sack as Levine also stunted.
— (Q4, 9:29): Webb blitzed off the left slot for a sack/forced fumble. Mosley also blitzed and recovered the fumble.
Despite succeeding by most measures in putting pressure on Trubisky and keeping him in check for most of the game, it was a hollow victory as the most important Bears plays all occurred without ATS:
— (Q2, 3:00) Halfback option TD pass from Cohen to Miller
— (Q3, 6:06) 27-yard TD pass from Trubisky to Sims
— (OT, 4:26) 18-yard completion to Wright which set up the winning FG
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 74 defensive snaps versus the Bears.
The DL was discussed extensively in the run sections. Here are the snap counts by player:
Henry became the first of the linemen to record 60 snaps in a game this season. Pierce had been in the 50s on 3 other occasions. The 51 snaps for Wormley is exceedingly unusual for a Ravens rookie, particularly when you consider it came just 1 game after a 13-snap NFL debut.
The Ravens activated 8 of their 9 linebackers (Tim Williams was inactive). Freeny was again the only LB who did not see action on defense.
Patrick Onwuasor (63 snaps) again had significantly more playing time than Kamalei Correa (6 snaps).
Tyus Bowser (7 snaps) did not pick up playing time despite both the scratch of Tim Williams and the large number of defensive snaps. He now has played 29 total snaps over the last 4 weeks.
Matthew Judon (63 snaps) was the defensive MVP. He had 12 tackles, including 5 run stuffs. Among his run stuffs were 2 tackles for loss and on another he arrived simultaneously with pierce, but did not receive even an assist. He sacked Trubisky twice.
Za’Darius Smith (36 snaps) had a QH and a pressure in 12 pass snaps. The roughing the passer call (Q1, 11:15) is among the worst I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t late, and the 2017 NFL rulebook contains the following safe harbor for the defense:
It is not a foul if the defender swipes, wraps, or grabs a passer in the knee area or below in an attempt to tackle him, provided he does not make forcible contact with the helmet, shoulder, chest, or forearm.
While the Bears did not score on the drive, they went on to advance the ball another 47 yards to significantly change field position and piled up 8 more snaps (they would have had 1 more because the play had other offsetting penalties).
Terrell Suggs (53 snaps) had a pressure, a QH, and half a sack in 18 pass snaps. His run tackles were for -7, 0, and -6 yards.
If solely looking for a defensive culprit, it would be fair to say the Ravens lost this game at safety. To summarize:
— Both touchdown passes were cases where Tony Jefferson was beaten. He lost Miller to a well-executed halfback option (Q2, 3:00) and was subsequently beaten by Sims (Q3, 6:06) for the other Bears offensive touchdown.
— Eric Weddle had the game’s biggest missed tackle (OT, 5:40).
— Jefferson contributed a thoroughly unnecessary facemask personal foul (Q2, 14:29) which set the Bears up at the Ravens 36 en route to their first FG.