11/12/07 vs. Cincinnati--Ravens Blitz Woes Continue
The Ravens secondary put up a game effort despite having CMac, Pittman, Rolle, and Sapp all inactive and Ivy injured early. But you’ve heard all that. To me, the story of this game was been the Ravens failure to convert on their blitzes. Last year was special, but the simple rule of thumb was more people rushing the QB meant fewer yards. As we’ll get to after the numbers, this year has been just the opposite.
Vs. the Rush
32 plays, 72 yards, 2.3 YPC
Best: Bannan 13/18, 1.4
Worst: Edwards 13/45, 3.5
Vs. the Pass
37 plays, 256 yards, 6.9 YPP
Best: Edwards 11/46, 4.2 YPP, Gaston 12/53, 4.4 YPP
Worst: Bannan 11/124, 11.3 YPP
69 plays, 328 yards, 4.8 YPPA
Best: Gaston 16/59, 3.7 YPPA, Edwards 24/91, 3.8 YPPA
Worst: Bannan 24/142 5.9 YPPA, Pryce 34/197, 5.8, Barnes 2/34, 17.0
By number of Pass Rushers
3: 6 plays, 6 yards, 1.0 YPP, 1 sack
4: 21/106, 5.0 YPP, 2 sacks
5: 10/144, 14.4 YPP
Give Rex credit for not trying any 6 or 7 man pressures in this game.
By number of Defensive Backs
3: 1 play, 0 yards (goal line stop on 3rd and 1)
4: 47/242, 5.1 YPPA
5: 21/86, 4.1 YPPA, 3 sacks
• Ivy has been a real asset to the Ravens this season. While he’ll never be a shut down corner, or even one you can leave in true man coverage, he’s filled in wherever asked and done a fine job. His play this year in full-time duty should give a good indication to folks how effective a NB he is
• Willie Gaston was effective in 1st game. The Bengals recorded just 2 plays of 10 or more yards with him in the game. He played nickel after Ivy was hurt on the Bengals second drive. Gaston would cover an outside receiver as Prude moved onto the slot.
• Prude saw significant playing time for the first time since week 3 vs. Arizona and was effective on both outside and slot coverage. He racked up 64 plays from scrimmage, a career high. The Bengals seemed to want to throw to his side on their quick outs, but those plays were reasonably well contained.
• Winborne saw his 2nd NFL play, this time on 3rd and goal at the 1 in the Ravens 3-safety goal line alignment.
• Reed did an amazing job of quarterbacking the entire secondary after rumors that he would not play circulated the night before (of curse, if you used the information for deciding which team to bet, you won). He continually moved up and repositioned the young CB’s. While he’s had many better games statistically (3 tackles and a PD), the fact that the Bengals were held out of the end zone despite the 6 turnovers and JV secondary makes this one of his finest games from my perspective.
• Johnson Missed his first 2 defensive snaps of the year. There is now no Raven that has played every snap (Lewis and Scott have missed 1 each). Johnson was replaced by Barnes in 2 early nickel situations (34 yards). Seeing Johnson called to the sidelines had a certain absurdity to it. Johnson is a more effective pass rusher than Barnes at this point, and is certainly more versatile in terms of scheme, but I’m happy to see the Ravens commit to some plays from the youngsters.
• Pryce was effective in pass rush for the 2nd straight game. He got good pressure primarily in the 4-man rush, recorded a late sack, and looks to be back at full strength.
• Bannan’s game was a microcosm of his season. Another terrific effort vs. the run and a liability vs. the pass. He is now tied with Ngata for the lowest YPC on the team at 2.3, but he has allowed a whopping 8.2 YPP, worst of the linemen and worse than any starter.
• Now what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the blitz. The Bengals picked up the Ravens blitz very well as you can see from the numbers above registering 14.4 YPP with 5 blitzers and 4.2 YPP with 3 or 4. Comparing 2006/2007 in YPP for the season:
o 3 Rushers: 10.0/4.8 on 23/21 plays (includes plays with less than 3 rushers)
o 4 Rushers: 5.9/5.7 on 283/140 plays
o 5 Rushers: 4.4/7.8 on 196/90 plays
o 6 Rushers: 3.8/11.2 on 51/20 plays
o 7 Rushers: 3.8/1.6 on 15/8 plays (includes plays with more than 7 rushers)
o All Passes: 5.3/6.6 on 568/279 plays
• To summarize the obvious, the 2007 Ravens have been much less effective with each additional rusher if you ignore the 8 plays with 7 rushers (or simply include them with the 6-man rushes). That’s in stark contrast to the 2006 Ravens that improved with every additional player they sent after the QB. So what’s different from 2006? The pass rush has missed Pryce this season, but the main difference is the secondary. When you rush 5, 6, or 7 men, you are asking your secondary to keep those receivers tightly covered for an extra second or so, primarily in man coverage. You simply can’t do that with an overmatched secondary, particularly the Ravens who have not played a single snap with their starting secondary since week 2.