Don Martindale took off the gloves off defensively including a broader mix of scheme and pressure as his defense led the dismantling of the Rams 33-7.
Martindale Opens Up
Just a week removed from a game where they did not play a single snap of dime, the Ravens inserted Anthony Levine on the 3rd defensive play (he was beaten in coverage for a 6-yard completion to WR Josh Reynolds). That small victory was to provide 200% of the Rams net passing yards for the 1st half (3). Looking at the remaining 3rd down snaps of the half:
— (Q1, 7:30) Judon sacked Manion for a loss of 7.
— (Q1, 3:41) Suggs hit Manion from the blind side and dislodged the football out of bounds for a 6-yard sack.
— (Q1, 0:37) Manion threw incomplete short left for Pharoh Cooper who was blanketed by Levine on the left sideline.
— (Q2, 12:27) Manion again threw incomplete short left for Reynolds as the Ravens rushed 6 and dime back Chuck Clark generated pressure from the A gap.
— (Q2, 9:17) Brent Urban bulled RT Jamil Demby for a QH as Manion overthrew a downed receiver and the backpedaling/diving safety Deshon Elliott narrowly missed an interception.
— (Q2, 1:35) On 3rd and 20, the Rams surrendered with a 7-yard run by Justin Davis.
Some will say the Ravens simply made the Rams twos look bad. They certainly looked like number twos, but Ravens fans should be excited already about what their team will bring to the field on passing downs this season.
Martindale shut down the dime after the first half, but OLB Tim Williams and NT Patrick Ricard took over the game in the second half as the Ravens rolled to a 33-7 win.
Individual Grades and Notes
As in past years, I have given a number of Ravens a grade from +3 to -3 reflecting how much my expectation of their impact on the 2018 Ravens changed based on their performance Thursday (game grade before the front slash, cumulative grade after). I don’t rate starters, players who have no place on the team, or anyone for whom I don’t think I have any data for a judgment. The players here are new to the team, rookies, on the cusp of making the team, have new responsibilities in 2018, in positional battles, or have otherwise have something to prove this season.
Averett (+1/+2): Anthony was inserted at RCB to begin the 2nd quarter and played there all but 1 series for the remainder of the game. There was much to like about his performance. He slipped, but impeded RB John Kelly on a 2-yard pass right which allowed Kenny Young to finish (Q2, 12:02). He failed to collect an interception opportunity on a ball that went through the hands of WR Kendal Thompson (Q3, 3:24). On the very next play, he had stride-for-stride coverage of Thompson down the left sideline as Brandon Allen overthrew his target out of bounds. Averett was unable to negotiate traffic on the 9-yard screen pass (-4 + 13 YAC) to Fred Brown which set up 4th and 1 (Q3, 3:14). He delivered a PD in coverage of Hodge on the Ravens final defensive play to deny 4th and 3 (Q4, 1:19).
Board (-1/-1): Playing with Kenny Young and then Alvin Jones for 4 series in the 2nd half, Chris failed to distinguish himself as a run defender despite 4 tackles (7, 2, 10, and 14 yards from the LoS).
Canady (+1/+1): Maurice had a leaping interception in zone coverage (Q2, 3:07) and did not allow a completion in a 5-series trial at LCB, all in the first half. It was nice to see him play well after a mediocre debut against the Bears.
Clark (0/+1): Chuck started and played most of the first half. The only note I have for him is the A-gap pressure (Q2, 12:27) which forced an incomplete by Manion, but the Ravens allowed just 3 net passing yards on 15 drop backs (0.2 YPP) in the first half and he deserves a share of the credit.
Correa (0/+3): Kamalei split time between ILB (3 series) and OLB. It would have been unreasonable to expect a similar impact on the pass rush from his franchise-best preseason performance in Week 1. However, he contributed 2 pressures as I scored it (Q2, 1:46 and Q3, 13:30) and had the underneath role in Sieler’s 12-yard stunt sack (Q4, 14:11). He had a poor night versus the run, which contributed to an effective rushing performance by the Rams (25 for 121, 4.8 YPC). He was unable to get off his block from C Austin Blythe until he was 7 yards downfield (Q2, 13:46). He lost the left edge to WR Pharoh Cooper on the 17-yard run right by Davis (Q2, 10:40).
Davis (-1/-1): Carl beat LG Demby for a pressure (Q3, 4:34), but he was bulled off the ball by C Aaron Neary (Q3, 14:54) which contributed to a 7-yard run. He’s not playing poorly, but the defensive line competition is fierce. Davis, as a 4th-year player with no option value beyond 2018, may be on the outside.
Elliott (+1/+2): Deshon again showed a nose for the football as he recovered Tim Williams’ strip sack after several failed scoop attempts (Q3, 8:12). He again flashed as a centerfielder on Manion’s overthrow (Q2, 9:17).
Humphrey, Myles (0/0): He saw late action at OLB and bulled TE Cody McElroy to take down Holley for a loss of 1 (Q4, 2:00).
Jackson, Bennett (-1/+1): DNP. His absence gave an opening for Nacua and Elliott to improve their standing relative to him.
Jean-Baptiste (+1/0): He looked good in coverage with a pair of 6-yard receptions with 0 YAC. The TD pass allowed to KhaDrel Hodge was simply a perfectly placed low ball and circus catch despite good coverage by Stanley.
Jones (0/+1): Alvin again showed his ability to exploit a gap in the run game when he took down Kelly to deny a 4th-and-1 conversion on the space created by Ricard’s penetration (Q3, 2:32). He finished with 2 tackles on defense plus 3 more on special teams, but was also flagged for holding on a punt which negated a 16-yard return.
Kaufusi (0/+2): Bronson had a highlight-reel 8-yard stuff of Kelly when he raced past the TE to take down Kelly. However, the rest of his night against the run included an edge loss and the inability to get off blocks on 3 runs to his side (Q3, 3:59 and Q3, 0:41 and Q4, 10:43) on gains of 10, 40, and 14. He had 2 pressures as I scored it.
LaCouture (0/0): He swam past RG Brian Allen and C Neary for a pressure on the near interception by Averett (Q3, 3:24).
Nacua (+1/+1): Among 3 tackles, he effectively undercut Fred Brown to stop the WR screen for a gain of 9 on 3rd and 10 (Q3, 3:14).
Onwuasor (0/-1): He made just 1 tackle, 7 yards downfield, in 5 series matched with Mosley, McClellan, Correa, and Jones at ILB.
Porter (0/0): He played the final 2 drives at CB, but did not make my notes.
Ricard (+2/+4): The Rams interior OL couldn’t block him in the 2nd half as he turned in a stellar performance at NT. My notes, in racing form format:
— (Q3, 14:14) Bulled C Neary and bullied TE Mundt to blow up/tackle Kelly RM0 miscredited to Nacua
— (Q3, 8:56) Penetrated for assist on Kelly RM1
— (Q3, 2:32) Bulled past LG Demby, 58 exploited gap to tackle Kelly RM0, deny 4th and 1
— (Q4, 9:20) Penetrated past C Neary to blow up Kelly RM0
— (Q4, 7:50) Doubled by LG and LT 5 yards into L2. Both released and 42 assisted on Kelly RM3
— (Q4, 2:26) Shed LG Kolone for a fast QH
— (Q4, 2:00) Slipped off LT Noteboom to help blow up Holley RL-1 with Humphrey
I do not have a defensive note for Ricard in the first half when he scored on a 3-yard out pattern (the Vonta Leach special) and incredibly, ran a wheel route with Lamar Jackson at QB. After a performance like this (and with the depth the Ravens have all over), the team must be considering leveraging his versatility to save a roster spot.
Sieler (+2/+3): Summarizing the reasons why Sieler is likely to make the team:
— Despite being Ozzie’s last draftee, he’s clearly DeCosta’s guy with the small-school pedigree. In some ways, Senat and Sieler aren’t 2 of the last 3 picks of Ozzie’s career, they’re the first 2 of DeCosta’s.
— It is extremely unusual for a rookie to be the strongest player on any football team, but Sieler has already overcome what is the most common complaint related to young linemen on either side of the ball.
— The Ravens may need a replacement for Brent Urban who will be an UFA after 2018 and can cover the position inexpensively with Wormley and Sieler.
— He’s playing at a high level, albeit against lesser competition.
— He can’t be hidden on the practice squad.
— He beat a double team from LG Jamil Demby and LT Cornelius Lucas to deliver a QH on Allen (Q3, 5:17). He stunted inside over Correa then bulled LT Lucas for a 12-yard sack (Q4, 14:11). He was bulled several yards by Noteboom on Kelly’s RM5 (Q4, 10:05).
Williams, Darious (0/0): In terms of coverage notes, less was more for Darious in his 2nd game. He had a drive-ending PD on 3rd and 6 (Q3, 11:22). WR Jojo Natson beat him out of a physical break (Q4, 8:35) for a 9-yard conversion on 3rd and 5. He and Alvin Jones combined for a takedown for 0 YAC on a 5-yard completion (Q4, 2:26).
Williams, Tim (+3/+5): With all due respect to Patrick Ricard, he was the best player on the field for either team. Per the racing form:
— (Q2, 13:08) Cleaned up on Davis RM-5 blown up by Pierce
— (Q2, 10:03) Spun for tackle after beating RT64 inside on Davis RR3
— (Q2, 1:46) Beat rare triple team for pressure (initially inside RT64), throw away
— (Q2, 1:39) Bulled RT 64 for pressure
— (Q3, 14:54) Backed up by RT63 to contribute to Kelly RR7
— (Q3, 14:14) Blew past RT63 to contain R edge om Kelly RM0
— (Q3, 13:30) Stunted past RG55 for pressure
— (Q3, 8:12) Dipped under RT63 for fast SF-15, recovered by Elliott
— (Q4, 14:11) Failed difficult attempt to tackle Kelly at 5 yards on RR40.
— (Q4, 9:20) Pursued down LoS to tackle Kelly RM0
That’s 4 more pressure events to add to 8 in the first game. There is simply no way to minimize that result by level of competition.
Wormley (0/+2): He took a step back from a fine HoF game. He had another PD at the LoS (Q2, 1:39), but his only other pressure came when he was flagged for holding (Q3, 12:46).
Young, Kenny (-1/0): He played 6 series, including pairings with Mosley (1), McClellan (1), Correa (2), and Board (2). All 3 of his tackles came against the pass (gains of 2, 10, 12). He had a run tackle wiped out by a facemask flag which I cannot see how he could have committed, nor see evidence of in the video (Q2, 14:00). The Rams piled up 81 of their 128 rushing yards on 4 plays (40, 17, 14, 10) and Young was in the game for 3 of those totaling 64 yards.
Defensive MVP: Tim Williams