Filmstudy: Defensive Notes vs. Steelers 12/2/12
A normal day includes a fair number of expletives.
This was much worse.
The Ravens managed to cough up a game they appeared to control thoroughly in the last 10 minutes. The Steelers had given them the game several times over with Sanders’ fumble and Batch’s overthrow of Wallace, but it still seemed unlikely Pittsburgh would muster the touchdown necessary to win the game.
But the signs were there previously. The Ravens allowed too many big opportunities in the passing game. Let’s review:
(Q1, 3:37) Brown had a step on Graham down the right sideline. Batch overthrew the ball OOB, but had the ball been underthrown Graham probably would not have found the ball and it might well have turned into pass interference.
(Q2, 1:10) Batch threw deep down the right sideline for Wallace who was open behind Brown. Wallace dropped the ball and stepped out, but he might have been unable to drag his feet inbounds had he caught it.
(Q2, 0:43) Batch overthrew Wallace all alone in the back of the end zone.
(Q3, 12:44) Batch hit Heath Miller on a deep crossing route behind McClain and McClellan. Miller would race 43 yards to set up the Steelers first TD.
(Q3, 7:11) Batch, again with lots of time, threw deep middle for Sanders who was wide open for an apparent TD. Without contact, and just 3 steps later, the ball was out and Reed recovered.
(Q3, 4:06) Batch was forced from the pocket to the left, typically a disaster for a right-handed QB, but he had time to reset quickly and found Brown behind Ed Reed down the left sideline for a gain of 34.
(Q4, 11:59) Batch found Miller on a pass short middle and the Steelers’ TE split McClellan and Pollard for a 23-yard gain (2 + 21 YAC).
(Q4, 9:01) Batch hit Sanders between the hashes with Williams trailing, Reed moving up, and McClellan unable to get in the passing lane. This was a case where a high throw might well have resulted in a pick. The Steelers were set up with first and goal at the 7 and would score to tie the game.
(Q4, 4:52) Ngata delivered a crushing hit on Batch, but he delivered the biggest first down of the game with a 15-yard pass to Wallace on the right sideline.
Excluding Kruger, the Ravens’ linebackers did very little in the passing game. They contributed no pass rush and provided little coverage of the passing lanes. This was a game where the Ravens wanted to trust their pass rush to provide pressure, particularly given the Steelers problems on the line. They provided 9 QHs, including a pair of sacks, but the pressure came very late. When the Ravens rushed numbers (see below), they were even less effective. Batch had good time to throw and converted enough of the opportunities created by the 4 primary receivers (Wallace, Brown, Sanders, and Miller) to win the game for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers out-snapped the Ravens 65 to 57 (excluding Flacco’s kneel). That includes a 36 to 22 edge in the 2nd half:
Versus the Run: 26 plays, 96 yards, 3.7 YPC
Versus the Pass: 39 plays, 270 yards, 6.9 YPP
Overall: 65 plays, 366 yards, 5.6 YPPA
By number of defensive backs:
3 DBs: 3/0, 0.0 YPPA. These all occurred as the Steelers ran out the game clock for the game-winning FG.
4 DBs: 35/254,7.3 YPPA, 1 sack, 2 TO
5 DBs: 24/91, 3.8 YPPA, 1 sack
6 DBs: 3/21, 7.0 YPPA, 1 TO
By number of pass rushers:
3 or fewer: 2/0, 0.0 YPP
4: 28/179, 6.4 YPP, 2 sacks, 2 TO
5: 7/66, 9.4 YPP, 1 TO
6: 2/25, 12.5 YPP
Here are some individual observations