The Ravens gave up five pass plays of 20+ yards. Let’s review:
- (Q2, 8:21): On 3rd/1 with ATS, despite a 6/2 pass rush QB Jacoby Brissett threw to TE Adam Shaheen PM21 (20 + 1) . Clark was boxed out and unable to contest the ball but undercut the leaping TE for a fast tackle.
- (Q2, 0:34): Bowser came unblocked through the left C-gap for a fast QH as QB Brissett rolled right and threw PR52 (25 + 27)  to WR Isaiah Ford. Clark missed the tackle at 45 yards. Based on the top view, the three players dropping from the LoS (Stone, Board and McPhee), plus Stephens (who moved up shallow right) were intended to provide shallow zone coverage with Young deep left, Clark deep middle and Averett deep right providing the back-end of cover 3. For some reason, Averett did not continue back with Ford.
- (Q3, 0:20): On 1st/20 with ATS, QB Tua Tagovailoa threw PL35 (35 + 0)  to WR Jaylen Waddle. Stephens contested the catch on back end, but was just too late.
- (Q4, 10:42): QB Tagovailoa threw PR23 (0 + 23)  to TE Durham Smythe, Bynes was nearest to right edge at the throw, Queen was also lost in wash and furthest right at the snap.
- (Q4, 3:29): On 2nd/10, Campbell beat RG Robert Hunt outside for a fast QH, no one followed WR Albert Wilson motion across the formation. Queen or Stephens would have been a reasonable choice, Tagovailoa threw to WR Wilson PL64 (20 + 44) . Clark tackled to temporarily save the touchdown.
These 5 plays represented 195 of Dolphins 351 yards (56%). On all other plays combined, the Ravens allowed 2.8 YPP.
Turnover Opportunities Wasted
The Dolphins defense played well, but their biggest edge over the Ravens was the fact they converted 2 turnover opportunities (Watkins’ fumble retuned for a TD, INT in end zone Q4, 0:47) while the Ravens missed 4 good chances to convert:
- (Q2, 2:00): On 3rd/7, Bowser beat LT Liam Eichenberg for a hand on QB Brissett. Brissett threw 23 yards  for WR Waddle. Averett became the receiver, but could not hold on for the INT.
- (Q3, 14:20): On 3rd/11, Houston beat LT Eichenberg outside for a sack and forced fumble, but Eichenberg recovered.
- (Q4, 13:20): With the ball out quick (BOQ), Tagovailoa threw for TE Mike Gesicki 7 yards in endzone . Bynes made a leaping PD but could not create a tip-drill INT opportunity.
- (Q4, 10:01): Queen rushed unblocked off the OLS to strip Tagovailoa for S/FF. Patrick tried to scoop the ball but lost the FR to LT Eichenberg.
Slip Slidin’ Away
The Ravens had trouble with footing on the Miami grass for much of the first half. It showed up both on the edges for the pass rushers and in how Lamar Jackson moved around the pocket. Whatever the problem, the Ravens must have either adjusted their shoes or their bend to improve their traction in the second half.
Seeing it happen took me back to Super Bowl XXXV when the Ravens had similar footing difficulties in Tampa.
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 Dolphins ran 60 such snaps.
Base (9): The Ravens used their base 3-4 defense with 2 ILB and 2 OLB on early downs and in short yardage situations other than goal line. Among these were 7 run plays for 19 yards and 2 pass plays for 21. 9 plays, 40 yards, 4.4 YPP.
Standard Nickel (33): Martindale again used the standard nickel (including 2 down linemen, 2 OLB, and 2 ILB) as the most common response to 11 and 12 personnel. Aside from the starters, the Ravens played 17 snaps with Tavon Young in the nickel, 7 snaps with Jimmy Smith as the 5th DB, and 9 with Chris Westry. For some of the game, the Ravens had Marlon Humphrey line up opposite TE Mike Gesicki, so they essentially treated him as a WR. 33 plays, 231 yards, 7.0 YPP.
Rush Dime (15): The Ravens lined up with 1 DL, 3 OLB, 1 ILB, and 6 DB on 15 obvious passing downs (all 3rd and 6+ as well as the last drive of the first half). Chris Board was the sole ILB on each of these plays and Tyus Bowser was one of 3 OLBs on each. The Dolphins converted just 1 of 10 3rd-down opportunities against this package. However, they also strung together PR19, PR2, PR52, PR11 to drive to the 4-yard line at the end of the half. 15 plays, 79 yards, 5.3 YPP.
Quarter (1): The Ravens played a snap with 7 DBs on the last play of the first half (Q2, 0:09, incomplete). Board was on at ILB with Campbell, Houston, and Oweh on the front. 1 play, 0 yards.
Jumbo (2): The Ravens played 2 snaps (excluding penalties) with 4 down linemen, 2 OLB, 3 ILB, and 2 DB (Humphrey and Clark). Both occurred with the Dolphins situated 1st and goal at the Ravens 1 (Q4, 14:05; Q4, 2:24). The Ravens held the Dolphins to a FG after stuffing a run play on the first series, but Tagovailoa ran a QB sneak to put the game away on the latter. 2 plays, 1 yard, 0.5 YPP.
Martindale employed a pass rush that was effective at making both Miami QBs uncomfortable but could not keep up with the coverage breakdowns.
For the game, the Dolphins QBs had ATS on 11 of 40 drop backs (28%) resulting in a pass or sack. They also had 8 ball out quick (BOQ) instances (20%) and the Ravens generated 21 pressure events (53%) within 3 seconds. By pressure situation:
ATS: 7/11 for 86 yards (7.8 YPP)
BOQ: 4/8 for 52 yards (6.5 YPP)
Pressured: 8/17 for 152 net yards (8.9 YPP)
Summarizing by number of pass rushers:
3: 1 play, 0 yards
4: 24 plays, 214 yards, 8.9 YPP, 3 sacks
5: 6 plays, 43 yards, 7.2 YPP
6+: 9 plays, 33 yards, 3.7 YPP, 1 sack
Total: 40 plays, 290 yards, 7.3 YPP, 4 sacks
The Ravens rushed 5+ on 15 of 40 drop backs (38%) on which the Dolphins averaged 5.1 YPP. The Ravens pass defense was more effective the more they rushed.
Martindale called 12 off-ball blitzes (0.33 per pass play) spread across 9 plays. I define off-ball blitzes as from a player who was either outside the slot receiver or more than 1.5 yards off the LoS at the snap. Those 9 plays went for 45 net yards (5.0 YPP).
The Ravens used 4 stunts versus the Dolphin, including 3 of which where Oweh was the looper (-6 net yards, including Oweh’s S-8) and a pressure generated by the stunting Houston which went for a gain of 19. The Ravens did not stunt after halftime.
The Ravens showed simulated pressure 4 times where 2 or 3 dropped from the LoS. Chronologically, those plays went for PM21, PR19, PR52, Inc (23.0 YPP).
I define a deceptive pass rush as incorporating 2 or more of the above elements (off-ball blitzes, stunts, and simulated pressures). The Ravens ran 5 deceptive rushes which went for a total of 52 yards (10.4 YPP).
Tyus Bowser led the Ravens in pressure events with 6 (3 QHs and 3 solo pressures). Justin Houston had a sack ½ a QH and 2 pressures, Odafe Oweh had a sack, 1.5 QHs, and a pressure. Calais Campbell had 2 QHs and a pressure. Josh Bynes had a QH and a shared pressure in 4 pass rush attempts. Josh also picked up a S-1 when he rushed after the pocket was broken. Patrick Queen rushed 5 times and had a sack and 2 shared pressures.
Other Individual Notes
- Patrick Queen (35 snaps) had another good game as the WLB. He found his mojo as a pass rusher with a sack/FF and 2 other shared pressures. Of his 5 tackles, 3 were defensive wins.
- Surprisingly, the Ravens activated 8 OL in addition to Khalil McKenzie for this game. McKenzie played 5 snaps as the 5th DL, but did not see time on offense.
- Justin Houston had a fine game of pressure (see above), but also held the edge well (Q1, 8:36) on a RL1 by Gaskin. The holding flag he drew on Eichenberg was offset by a phantom facemask on Averett, but that prevented the Dolphins from picking up another 1st and goal and the Ravens forced a FG attempt 2 plays later.
- Anthony Averett had consistently tight coverage with the exception of the inexplicable failure to follow Isaiah Ford deep right (Q2, 0:34). He had at least a portion of coverage on 4 drive-ending plays (Q2, 13:28; Q2, 6:27; Q2, 2:00; Q4, 12:42).
- Marlon Humphrey made contributions a pass rusher (1 QH, 1 pressure), and stripped Gesicki twice directly for PDs. The fact Gesicki had 0 receptions on 7 targets was a group effort for the defense, but Marlon deserves the most individual credit.
- (Q2, 10:22): He finished with a QH of Brissett on Houston’s initial pressure/flush right
- (Q2, 7:36): On 1st/5, he drew offensive holding on TE Smythe
- (Q2, 3:56): He missed a tackle 2 yards behind LoS on Brissett’s scramble RL4
- (Q2, 3:24): He beat LT Eichenberg outside forcing RB Myles Gaskin to impede throwing cone. Brissett hit his arm on Gaskin’s helmet.
- (Q2, 3:21): On 3rd/6, he bulled RT Jesse Davis to flush Brissett right where he threw PR6 to WR Waddle
- (Q2, 2:00): On 3rd/7, he beat LT Eichenberg outside for pressure on Averett’s near INT
- (Q2, 0:34): He came unblocked through the left C-gap for a fast QH as Brissett threw PR52 to WR Ford on blown coverage
- (Q3, 9:43): He beat LT Eichenberg outside for QH as QB Tagovailoa misfired badly behind TE Gesicki.
Tyus used his speed effectively vs the Dolphins tackles. Because the Ravens often lined up with a 4-man front, he was not used frequently in coverage.
- (Q1, 7:53): On 3rd/9, he stunted through the right B-gap as Campbell drew attention from RG Hunt to S-8
- (Q1, 1:55): He shed blocks from TE Smythe then LT Eichenberg to tackle RB Gaskin RL-1 with assist from Humphrey
- (Q2, 2:33): On 2nd/8, he held the left edge vs. TE Smythe then tackled RB Gaskin RM-1 with assist from Campbell
- (Q2, 0:51): He bulled then shed RT Davis for QH shared with Houston, INC
- (Q3, 14:24): He beat LT Eichenberg inside for a fast QH as Brissett threw incomplete for RB Gaskin
- (Q3, 14:20): On 3rd/11, he beat RG Hunt inside for pressure in face of Brissett as Houston delivered sack/forced fumble
- (Q3, 10:28): He contained the right edge to clean-up RB Gaskin RM1 off Campbell’s initial penetration
Odafe used both his length (vs Eichenberg) and quickness (to stunt) effectively. He and Campbell make a great stunt team and the Ravens should have even more stunt flexibility when Wolfe returns.
- (Q1, 9:16): He missed a tackle one yard past the LoS on the 16-yard screen reception by WR Wilson
- (Q1, 8:36): He tackled RB Gaskin RM1 with assist from Houston
- (Q2, 7:13): He beat LT Eichenberg for a QH as Clark deflected Brissett’s pass for TE Gesicki
- (Q2, 2:33): He assisted Oweh on tackle of RB Gaskin RM-1
- (Q3, 10:28): He bulled LG Austin Jackson 4 yards into backfield to blow up RB Gaskin RM1
- (Q4, 12:42): On 3rd/11, he bulled C Austin Reiter for pressure as Tagovailoa threw out of endzone for TE Mack Hollins
- (Q4, 4:12): He threw aside RG Hunt to tackle Gaskin RM0
- (Q4, 3:29): On 2nd/10, he beat RG Hunt outside for a fast QH but Tagovailoa threw PL64 to uncovered WR Wilson
Calais consistently racks up the most individual notes with his combination of iron-man play, run defense, and pass rush contributions. He made 4 tackles vs the Dolphins, 3 of which were defensive wins.
I do not select defensive MVPs after a loss.