Prime Time Crowd Noise

The Bank was exceptionally loud on Thursday, a fact which has been touted by the Ravens.  Specific plays impacted include:

  • (Q1, 7:40):  On 3rd/6, Burrow was forced to call a TO with late arrival/adjustment at LoS
  • (Q1, 5:00):  Burrow used the second TO of half when he was unable to realign eligible receivers due to noise
  • (Q2, 9:37):  Delay of game caused by presnap adjustments, just a tick late
  • (Q2, 6:48):  LG Volson false start
  • (Q2, 1:38):  Bengals attempted to draw Ravens offside on 4th/3 to no avail
  • (Q3, 11:26):  DOG on Browning caused by failed presnap communication results in 3rd/10
  • (Q3, 4:02):  WR Chase inexplicably moves up from legal formation to cover TE (illegal) during presnap communications (flagged)

The Bengals were also flagged for 12 men on defense (Q1, 6:48) when the crowd was trying to be quiet.

In terms of hostile crowd noise directed at the opposing offense, this ranks among the most disruptive performances that I can recall.  Others of note:

  • 2000 W2 vs Jacksonville: We all took a big step forward in terms of belief in the 2000 team that day
  • 2003 W12 vs Seahawks: With the stadium half empty, the sound seemed to carry even better as the Ravens manufactured a remarkable comeback to beat Seattle 44-41
  • 2006 W4 vs the Chargers: Prior to the McNair to Heap TD drive, a pair of false starts near the Chargers goal line forced an intentional safety
  • 2006 W12 vs Steelers: Ravens beat the Steelers 27-0 with 9 sacks and the crowd was ravenous from start to finish, willing a 4th-and-17 pick (Q4, 1:44) to preserve the shutout

I’d like to hear your loud-crowd memories for discussion on the defense pod.

Ja’Marr Chase Shut Down

The Bengals star receiver had the second worst game of his career in terms of yards with 12 on just 2 catches (he had 3 yards vs Denver on 12/19/21).  The Bengals QBs targeted him 7 times with just 2 receptions.

The Ravens secondary broadly shared the credit for Chase’s difficulties.  Ronald Darby didn’t let him land in bounds (PD) on a leaping sideline grab (Q3, 2:25).  Geno Stone may have caused him to alligator arm his first target on a WR screen right (Q1, 8:26).  Kyle Hamilton stripped him (Q1, 5:00). And Brandon Stephens, who probably lined up opposite him the most times, denied him with tight coverage on 2 occasions (32 yards downfield, Q1, 0:30; 10 yards, Q2, 1:54) before allowing the 2-yard TD on the Bengals final offensive snap.

Secondary Shuffled Again

With Marlon Humphrey out, the Ravens were back to some of the same players they needed to step up early in the season.  To summarize:

  • Marcus Williams again played every snap but was much less tentative as a tackler and delivered a pair of PDs, including one that ended the first Bengals drive.
  • Kyle Hamilton had a penalty and 2 missed tackles as I scored it, but also delivered pressure and had a drive-ending strip of Boyd among 2 PDs.
  • Geno Stone raced downhill to discourage Ja’Marr Chase from hauling in a WR screen (see above).
  • Ronald Darby had his best game as a Raven with 3 PDs and just 1 catch allowed.
  • Brandon Stephens was outstanding in coverage of Chase.
  • Arthur Maulet took down Mixon for PL2 after he came off his own man and played SCB in the standard nickel that allowed just 2.5 yards per pass play.
  • Rock Ya-Sin played 17 snaps in the first half during which he allowed a 13-yard catch by Boyd.  On his only snap of the second half, he was flagged for a 34-yard DPI to negate a drive-ending incomplete.

The Ravens will need to hope for a similar performance next week versus the Chargers and Justin Herbert, who is having a very similar season to Lamar Jackson as a passer.


Note: all snap totals exclude penalties resulting in no play, kneels, spikes, and specials team plays resulting in a run or pass.  As such, they will be lower than other published totals.

The Bengals ran 59 such snaps.

Base (4): The Ravens used their 4-DB/3-DL package just 4 times with the last occurrence on the fourth play of the second half (Q3, 13:46).  Each such alignment included Harrison and Robinson at OLB.  These included 2 runs for 2 yards and 2 passes for 26.  4 plays, 28 yards, 7.0 YPP.

Standard Nickel (17): The Ravens used their standard nickel as the primary response to the Bengals 11 personnel packages.  The Ravens played the same safeties for every such play with Maulet inserted at SCB.  These plays included 5 runs for 16 and 12 pass plays for 30 net yards.  17 plays, 46 net yards, 2.7 YPP, 1 sack.

Big Nickel (38):  The Ravens used the big nickel as a response to 12 personnel and as a change of pace vs 11 personnel packages.  These each included Hamilton at SCB with Williams and Stone on the back end.  These plays included 16 runs for 118 yards and 22 pass plays for 80 net yards.  38 plays, 198 yards, 5.2 YPP, 4 sacks.

Both nickel packages were successful but the Bengals rolled up 70 yards on the final 7 plays to close the gap to 34-20 and improve their statistics.

Pass Rush

Macdonald used limited amounts of both numbers and deception as the Ravens defense held the Bengals to just 3.8 yards per pass play.

For the game, Burrow/Browning had ATS on 7 of 36 drop backs (19%).  On those plays, Bengals completed 4 of 7 for 64 yards (9.1 YPP).  They also delivered the ball before pressure could develop (BOQ) 15 times (42%, 5.0 YPP).  The Ravens generated a pressure event on 14 plays (39%), including 5 sacks.  With pressure, Bengals were 4 of 9 for -3 net yards (-0.2 YPP). 

Summarizing by number of pass rushers:

3 or fewer: 1 play, 7 yards

4: 31 plays, 118 net yards, 3.8 YPP, 5 sacks

5: 3 plays, 9 yards, 3.0 YPP

6: 1 play, 2 yards (final TD to Chase)

Total:  36 plays, 136 net yards, 3.8 YPP, 5 sacks

Macdonald dialed up 5 individual blitzes (.14 per pass play) from off the LoS, all singles.  On those 5 plays, the Bengals gained 11 yards (2.2 YPP).

The Ravens stunted 8 times among 7 plays.  Those plays resulted in 28 net yards (4.0 YPP), including 1 sack. 

The Ravens used simulated pressure 5 times resulting in 2 net yards (0.4 YPP) with 2 or more dropping from the line of scrimmage, including 1 sack.

I define a deceptive pass rush as incorporating 2 or more of the above elements (off ball blitzes, stunts, and simulated pressures).  There were 3 such instances on which Cinncinnati gained -2 net yards (-0.7 YPP) with 1 sack.

In other words, everything Macdonald schemed in terms of numbers or deception was tremendously successful both in absolute and relative terms.

Oweh led the team with contributions to 5 pressure events (S-7 and 4 pressures).  He also flushed a Bengals QB on 3 other occasions for scrambles (1 defensive win).  Madubuike had a sack and 3 other pressures.  Clowney had a sack, QH, 1 pressure, and 1 other QH negated by DPI. Van Noy had a sack and 2 pressures.

Star Treatment

Odafe Oweh

  • (Q1,10:02):  He beat LT Brown outside but just missed sack from behind as Burrow scrambled RM7
  • (Q1, 8:49):  He tackled TE Hudson PL7 (5 + 2) [2] but was flagged for facemask
  • (Q1, 5:00):  On 2nd/10, he bulled then shed LT Brown for pressure as Burrow threw incomplete for WR Chase 12 yards [1], stripped by Hamilton
  • (Q1, 4:54):  On 3rd/10, he bulled LT Brown for pressure as Clowney cleaned up for S-7
  • (Q2, 12:34):  On 2nd/4, he chased Burrow for late pressure, incomplete -2 yards [4]
  • (Q2, 2:00):  He was flagged for illegal hands to the face of RG Cappa tacked on to Mixon RL3
  • (Q3, 10:43):  He flushed QB Browning left where he was taken down for RL3, (effectively S+3) to bring up 3rd/5
  • (Q3, 3:44):  On 1st/15, he was blocked 12-to-6 by LT Brown but worked free to clean up S-7 off pressure by Jones
  • (Q3, 2:25):  On 3rd/17, he beat LT Brown outside forcing him through the cone for pressure as Browning threw incomplete deep left with pushout by Darby to force punt
  • (Q4, 4:16):  On 2nd/8, he bulled then shed TE Smith to shut off the front-side scramble as Van Noy collected S-10
  • (Q4, 2:55):  On 4th/3, his spin flushed Browning left for RL19

Odafe had 2 tack-on penalties that mitigated an otherwise outstanding performance.  He contributed to 2 drive-ending plays.  This game was another valuable combination of initial and cleanup pressures versus LT Orlando Brown.

Jadeveon Clowney

  • (Q1, 9:23):  He was blocked by RT Williams as part of Mixon RR11
  • (Q1, 4:54):  He was blocked past the pocket by RT Williams but worked free to clean up S-7 off pressure from Oweh and Madubuike
  • (Q2, 6:28):  He beat RT Williams inside for QH on PL9 to Mixon
  • (Q3, 11:26):  On 3rd/5, he stunted through the left A-gap for hard QH negated by Ya-Sin 34-yard DPI on WR Irwin
  • (Q4, 9:19):  On 3rd/5, he bulled RG Cappa to help flush Browning (with Jones) on what became Madubuike S-2

Jadeveon was party to 2 drive-ending plays.

Ronald Darby

  • (Q3, 11:32):  On 2nd/5, he had step-for-step coverage of WR Jackson 30 yards [1] and dislodged for PD
  • (Q3, 10:02):  On 3rd/5, he reached around WR Irwin 4 yards [4] for a drive-ending PD
  • (Q3, 2:25):  On 3rd/17, he had tight coverage of Chase 37 yards [1] who leapt to catch the ball near the sidelines but was driven out by Darby for another drive-ending PD  

Ronald allowed a single 12-yard completion to Irwin (Q2, 2:20) but delivered PDs each other time he was targeted in 17 coverage snaps.  The Ravens allowed just 1.8 yards per pass when he was on the field.

Brandon Stephens

  • (Q1, 0:30):  He had close trailing coverage of WR Chase 32 yards [5] as Burrow overthrew with QH Pierce
  • (Q2, 12:34):  He was close as Burrow threw incomplete for TE Smith -2 yards [4]
  • (Q2, 12:27):  On 3rd/4, he had coverage over the top with Queen underneath of TE Hudson on PR21 (16 +5) [5]
  • (Q2, 1:54):  He had tight coverage of Chase 10 yards [1] as Browning threw OOB under pressure
  • (Q4, 3:36):  On 3rd/18, he and Stone finally tackled RB Williams on RM15
  • (Q4, 1:12):  On 1st/2, he surrendered his 1st TD of the season to Chase by the left pylon PL2

In a game where he frequently lined up opposite Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals star registered just 2 catches for 12 yards.  That total did include a 2-yard TD (Q4, 1:12) which was the first allowed all season by Brandon.

Marcus Williams

  • (Q1, 7:40):  On 3rd/6, he undercut Burrow’s pass for WR Boyd 7 yards [2] for drive-ending PD
  • (Q1, 2:34):  He stripped Boyd of a reception 10 yards [3]
  • (Q2, 11:05):  He delivered an immediate tackle on TE Sample on PM13 (11 + 2) [4]
  • (Q2, 2:20):  He wrapped up effectively to tackle WR Irwin PL12 (10 + 2) [2]
  • (Q2, 1:50):  He pushed RB Mixon OOB on RB screen PL7 (-2 +9) [2] after Queen’s MT 
  • (Q3, 15:00):  He combined to tackle Mixon RM2 with Smith

While he is still clearly feeling the effects of his pec injury, Marcus delivered much improved tackling and in particular was less tentative approaching ball carriers.

Defensive MVPs

  1. Ronald Darby
  2. Brandon Stephens
  3. Marcus Williams

Honorable mention to Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Madubuike, Odafe Oweh, Michael Pierce, Tavius Robinson, Kyle Van Noy