Sports fans tend to talk in extremes after any loss.
This week we’ve heard:
— That was the worst game of Flacco’s career.
— The Ravens offensive line gave him as little time to throw as they ever have.
— The Ravens are keeping a sports car in the garage (Jackson) while driving a school bus (Flacco)
When I sat down to score it, I expected more pressure and some extreme results on the line in particular. What I saw was a middle-of-the-road performance from most angles without any truly extreme results.
The line gave Joe Flacco Ample Time and Space (ATS) of 27 of 57 drop backs (47.4%, excludes 2 spikes). That’s a decent percentage, but it was bolstered by these facts:
— The Bengals used a 4-man pass rush on 40 of 57 snaps. If anything, that’s a little more pressure by numbers than the Bengals have dialed up against the Ravens in the Flacco era. Recent Marvin Lewis teams have been even more passive with 7-man coverage and depended on Flacco to create unforced errors to go with pressure from Atkins and Dunlap. That was again the formula on Thursday night.
— The Bengals played very soft on the last drive and Flacco had 9 of 11 ATS opportunities. Given his opportunity set, Flacco’s yardage was a little better than expected (376 to 343), but he negated that with a poor TD/INT ratio (2/2).
Sports fans have a need to find a grand (and quickly repairable) explanation for any loss. That’s the reason why the backup QB is often the most popular player in town. However, in terms of the Ravens offense, this was simply a slightly-below average performance.
If history is any indicator, they’ll endure worse this season.
The Ravens ran 79 scored snaps (excludes accepted penalties which result in no play, and 2 spikes in this game).
Stanley: Ronnie played hurt, and it showed. Initially he gave appearance of a knee injury. On the final drive of the game, he was hit by the stunting Atkins in the arm and turned away from the play in obvious pain. He missed the game’s final 10 snaps. He was shed to the outside by Hubbard for the first sack (Q1, 9:16). On Atkins’ second sack (Q1, 4:49), he was bulled by Lawson to phonebooth Joe for 1/3 of the charge. He had 3 other full pressure charges. Ronnie missed his only pull and did not have a level 2 block, pancake, or highlight. Martindale did a good job of getting Stanley help in the form of chip blocks, but the Bengals stunt frequently and Stanley had difficulty handling the exchanges (ex: Q4, 2:59).
Scoring: 69 plays, 58 blocks, 5 missed, 3.5 pressures, 1.33 (1 + 1/3) sacks, 1 false start, 40 points (.58 per play). Adjusted that’s a D.
Lewis: Alex had a sharp divide between his run and pass blocking results. Despite the fact the Ravens ran the ball only 22 times, he made all 6 of his pulls and all 8 of his blocks in level 2. Unfortunately, he was not nearly as effective as a pass blocker. He surrendered pressures on consecutive plays to bull rushes by Billings (beginning Q4, 14:15). Atkins rag-dolled him to beat him inside for a QH (2/3 charge, Q2, 0:36). He received 1/3 of the charge for Atkins’ second sack (Q1, 4:49). On that play, he was to receive Geno as a stunt handoff from Skura, but Atkins had already penetrated too far for that to be easily negotiated. Lewis had 4 highlights, which is excellent for 1 game. The best of those was a pull where he initially blocked DE Jordan Willis, then moved to level 2 and pancaked Hubbard at the whistle (Q3, 7:51).
Scoring: 79 plays, 68 blocks, 4 missed, 3.5 (2 + 3 X ½) pressures, 2/3 QH, 1/3 sack, 57 points (.72 per play). After a .08 adjustment for opponent quality and the highlight blocks, that’s a C at guard.
Skura: Matt struggled, particularly as a pass blocker. To summarize his charges in racing form:
— (Q1, 4:49) Bulled by Atkins prior to unsuccessful stunt handoff (1/3 sack charge)
— (Q2, 11:15) Bulled by Glascow to help blow up Allen RL-7 (1/2 penetration charge)
— (Q2, 1:29) Beaten by Hubbard spin left for pressure
— (Q3, 8:32) Beaten left by Billings for flush
— (Q3, 6:45) Bulled by 97 for 1/3 charge on QH
— (Q4, 2:56) Knocked down by Nickerson for pressure
— (Q4, 2:52) Beaten left by Atkins for 1/3 charge on Williams’ strip sack
He made 2 blocks in level 2, but did not have a pancake or highlight.
Scoring: 79 plays, 66 blocks, 6 missed, ½ penetration, 3 pressures, 1/3 QH, 2/3 (1/3 + 1/3) sacks, 54 points (.68 per play). That’s a D after adjustment at center.
Yanda: Like several of his linemates, Marshal had trouble with Geno Atkins. He surrendered 2 QHs initiated by pressure from Atkins in a 3-play sequence (beginning Q3, 4:13). He had another full pressure charge when bulled by Atkins (Q4, 0:25). For the second consecutive game, he was not asked to pull. Marshal has been looking to provide help blocks to either side this season. On Thursday, he twice compromised the pocket by stepping across the space Flacco would use to throw in order to help Hurst. Each time Hurst had lost Dunlap and the help was warranted in terms of a lesser pressure event (each of the 2 resulting pressures might have become a QH or sack). The first was on Flacco’s interception (Q1, 12:24), the second was on the touchdown pass to Brown (Q4, 9:41). In each case, Yanda peeled off a successful double team with Skura to help. I’m sure this has happened but it’s unusual that it would occur twice in the same game. He had 2 pancakes, but I did not score him for any level 2 blocks, nor did he have a highlight.
Scoring: 79 plays, 72 blocks, 4 missed, 1 pressure, 2 QHs, 64 points (.81 per play). That’s a B with adjustment.
Hurst: James slightly improved on a solid performance in week 1. Facing Ravens nemesis Carlos Dunlap, he surrendered portions of 7 pressure events, including a pressure on Flacco’s first interception (Q1, 12:24). He made 6 blocks in level 2 and had a pancake, but no highlight.
Scoring: 79 plays, 68 blocks, 4 missed, 4 (3 + 2 X 1/2) pressures, 1 (1/3 + 2/3) QH, 57 points (.72 per play). That’s a B- after adjustment.
Brown: Orlando entered at RT after Stanley’s injury when with Hurst moved to LT. He made all 10 of his blocks. He did not have a block in level 2, pancake, or highlight. I don’t give a grade until 20 snaps. However, Brown has now played 35 snaps in 2 games and collected 31 points (.89 raw score prior to adjustment). One of the edge rushers I thought might match well with Brown’s length is Dunlap.
If you’re interested in seeing scoring trends for the players this season, these charts will be updated weekly.