The offensive line had one of the best games I have scored (2nd this season only to the performance at Oakland) and the Ravens were able to counter a complex set of Detroit pass rush schemes. To summarize:
— The Lions rushed 6+ on 9 of Flacco’s 36 drop backs
— They rushed 5 men another 12 times
— They had 8 deceptive pass rushes as I define them
— They sent 25(!) individual blitzes from off the LoS, including 8 plays with 2 blitzers
— Despite the overt attempts to scheme for pressure, the Lions registered 0 sacks and only 3 QHs n the game
— Flacco had ATS on 20 of 36 drop backs (56%)
The 56% ATS number would be above average for any game, but because the Lions blitzed so often, they made sacrifices in coverage that aided Flacco’s fine day. Based on Joe’s 2010-2016 numbers that opportunity set should have led to 229 net yards, but he finished with 269 and no turnovers.
While it’s great to see Flacco post some of his best numbers of the season, I give the bulk of the credit to the offensive line.
Ravens Capitalize on Critical Detroit Error
The Lions ran a play with 9 men on the field (Q4, 14:14). It was a crucial 3rd and 7 at the Lions 33 with the Ravens leading 20-13. The Lions left Chris Moore uncovered in the middle of the field and Flacco delivered a strike for a 23-yard conversion and the Ravens scored 2 plays later.
Only once in franchise history did the Ravens get caught with 9 on the field (2016, Week 4, Q2, 6:46) and the Raiders mercifully ran a 4-yard run play.
No Lead is Unsafe
Criticism heard of Dean Pees in recent years have centered on the Ravens proclivity to surrender the lead late. I hope there are not many folks making such a criticism on local talk radio this year, because it would be patently false.
The Ravens scored first, never surrendered the lead, and through 12 games have blown only 1 lead of 3 points (Minnesota, 3-0) at any point in the game.
Offensive Line Scoring
The Ravens ran 62 scored snaps (excludes accepted penalties which result in no play, kneels, spikes, and special teams plays that result in a run or pass).
Stanley: Ronnie still appears to be playing hurt, but has had 2 consecutive top-shelf games. He was beaten outside for a full pressure on a stunt by Zettel (Q1,8:28) and had another half pressure allowed on a bull rush by Freeney (Q1, 6:07) shared with Jensen. From that point, he made 47 of 50 blocks without a negative event. He had 5 blocks in level 2, 1 pancake, and made his only pull. He had 2 highlights, the more impactful of which was a combination to pin Ledbetter then train Whitehead in level 2. That block led Collins’ 11-yard run (Q3, 7:26).
Scoring: 62 plays, 57 blocks, 3 missed, 1.5 pressures, 54 points (.87 per play). Adjusted that’s an A. This is the time of year he got hot in 2016 and it’s exciting to see him take it up a notch at the same time.
Hurst: James turned in another fine performance at LG. His L2 whiff on LB Worrilow allowed Collins to be dropped for a loss of 1. That was his only negative event of the afternoon. I scored him for just a missed block on the QH by LB Jarrad Davis (Q2, 8:27). On that play, he gave ground and became entangled with Collins who was subsequently unable to pick up the blitzing Davis, but the play went for the 23-yard completion to Wallace on the right sideline. He made 9 of 10 pulls as the Ravens returned to more power running, extending his streak to 43 of 51. James had 3 blocks in level 2 and 1 pancake, but did not register a highlight.
Scoring: 62 plays, 58 blocks, 3 missed, 1 penetration, 56 points (.90 per play). After adjustment that’s an A. His grades, at guard only, since the Jax game: B, A, C+, A, C+, B, B, A. The Ravens have significant interior talent returning from IR in 2018 (Siragusa, Yanda, Lewis), but they will need to consider if Hurst is the guy they want at LG going forward. He’ll be significantly more expensive than Lewis in 2018-19, but at this point I also expect him to be better.
Jensen: While he has not disappeared in the interim, Ryan played his best game since the pummeling of the Dolphins in week 8. He surrendered a shared pressure to DE Washington (Q1, 6:07) shared with Stanley (see above). He missed a difficult reach block (Q4, 7:41) which obstructed Skura’s pull and allowed Allen to be taken down for a loss of 1. Watching that play is a reminder of how infrequently the Ravens have been unable to pull effectively in 2017. Part of that is scheme, but Jensen’s ability to anchor (which wasn’t the reason this play failed) has been a big asset to Roman’s system. He had 7 blocks in level 2 and delivered 2 pancakes. His highlight came on a nice combination block (Q1, 9:07) which was wasted on a slow-developing run right for a loss of 4.
Scoring: 62 plays, 59 blocks, 1 missed, 1/2 penetration, ½ pressure, 57 points (.92 per play). That’s an A after adjustment at center.
Skura: Matt had his best game of the season. He had just 2 negative plays, a 1/3 charge on a QH by Whitehead (Q3, 9:25) and the aforementioned shared penetration on the failed pull (Q4, 7:41, see Jensen). In his first 3 games, Skura missed 9 blocks in 128 scored snaps (7.0%). Since then he’s missed just 8 of 315 (2.5%) including none versus the Lions. From missed blocks alone, that’s a pickup of approximately half a grade level at guard. He had 7 blocks in level 2, but scored just 1 point (1, 1, -1) on 3 pulls.
Scoring: 62 plays, 60 blocks, 0 missed, ½ penetration, 1/3 QH, 58 points (.94 per play). With or without adjustment, that’s an A.
Howard: Austin had a good game marred by an illegal block. He surrendered a full pressure to Zettle’s bull rush (Q2, 1:25). I also charged him for 2/3 of the QH when Zettle beat him outside (Q4, 14:26) and Collins was unable to squarely pick up the blitzing Davis. In a full game at tackle, those deductions alone would be good, but he was flagged for an illegal block on Whitehead (Q2, 9:22) which negated 10 yards of an 11-yard pass play to Maxx Williams. It was a small shove, but occurred just as Williams passed, which maximized the likelihood of the flag. Austin looked good moving in level 2 where he connected on 8 of 10 blocks. That’s a high percentage for a tackle. His highlight came on the first play from scrimmage when he set up Spence for the pulling Hurst and moved to level 2 to block Whitehead.
Scoring: 62 plays, 56 blocks, 3 missed, 1 pressure, 2/3 QH, 1 illegal block, 46 points (.74 per play). That’s a C after adjustment.
If you’re interested in seeing scoring trends for the players this season, these charts will be updated weekly.