The Ravens played the Jaguars for the first time since the 44-7 loss in London in 2017 and did so without DL Calais Campbell, CB Marcus Peters, and CB Jimmy Smith.
That forced a number of adjustments…
The Ravens faced uncertainty at 2 defensive positional groups entering the game, cornerback and the defensive line.
During the week, the Ravens had 5 CBs on the injury report, including Anthony Averett (ankle), Marcus Peters (calf), Jimmy Smith (ribs, shoulder), Davontae Harris (ankle), and Tramon Williams (thigh). Only Marlon Humphrey remained off the list all week.
The Ravens, who went with 4 CBs active against the Browns, expanded to 5 against the Jags, including Humphrey, Averett, Williams, Harris, and practice-squad callup Pierre Desir.
On Friday, the Ravens announced Calais Campbell was out. To make up for his workload, they activated all 5 other DL on the roster (Ellis, Madubuike, Washington, Williams, and Wolfe). The Ravens had activated 5 DL (including Campbell) vs the Browns, so effectively this was Washington replacing Campbell.
In order to create room on the active roster, the Ravens scratched (healthy) Mark Ingram and deactivated core special teams player Kristian Welch (LB who has yet to play a defensive snap). Those 2 were effectively replaced by CB Pierre Desir and WR Dez Bryant.
Backup Corners Come Through
Marlon Humphrey had a sub-par game that included 2 pass interference flags and a TD allowed in coverage of Chris Conley. He also diagnosed, but was late getting to, RB James Robinson’s wheel route TD (Q3, 9:15). In addition, he appeared to be moving with discomfort. Surprisingly, it was the backup corners who delivered the mail for the Ravens in this win.
Anthony Averett played every snap and was exceptional. He had a drive-ending pass defensed in coverage of WR Chris Conley (Q2, 10:54). He was targeted 3 other times for 25 yards, including 8 YAC. Among those was an open-field upending of Shenault on a 2-yard pass near the left numbers (Q3, 2:59).
Tramon Williams (41 snaps) played SCB and was generally effective. He recovered to knock down a TD pass intended for Chark that Minshew threw a little too high under pressure (Q4, 2:00). He allowed just 2 completions allowed, both of which converted 3rd downs (Q2, 12:54; Q3, 10:47) for a total of 22 yards.
Defensive Linemen Win LoS Convincingly
The defensive line played well in Campbell’s absence, shutting down the run and adding some pass rush.
Justin Ellis (16 snaps) contributed to 2 tackles, both of which were defensive wins.
Justin Madubuike (29 snaps) had the best game of his career to date, which is detailed in Star Treatment below. His 3 tackles were all contributions to defensive wins. In the second half, he took over as a pass rusher with 5 pressures despite greatly reduced scheme usage.
Brandon Williams (21 snaps) had 5 tackles of which 3 were contributions to defensive wins. The Jaguars ran for just 11 yards on 9 attempts with him in the game (1.2 YPC). He showed no ill effects from previous leg injury and pursued well along the LoS.
Derek Wolfe again led the team in DL snaps (34). He had 2 tackles (both defensive wins), including a sack and recovered Ngakoue’s forced fumble while double teamed.
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 Jaguars ran 56 such snaps.
Jumbo (0): The Ravens never lined up with just 3 DBs. Despite scoring 2 touchdowns, the Jags never ran a play inside the Ravens 13-yard line.
Base (14): The Ravens used their base 3-4 defense with 2 ILB and 2 OLB versus 21, 12, and 13 personnel, including several snaps with a 6th offensive lineman reporting eligible. Each deployment occurred on 1st or 2nd down. The base package registered defensive wins on 6 of 8 run plays by the Football Outsiders definition and the Jags averaged just 2.6 YPC on those plays. The first instance of a pass against the base defense resulted in Judon’s sack for a safety. 14 plays, 61 yards, 4.4 YPP.
Standard Nickel (29): The standard nickel includes 2 down linemen, 2 OLB, and 2 ILB and Martindale again used it primarily as a response to 11 personnel on early downs. The Jaguars used 2.74 WRs per play, which meant 11 personnel was used most of the time. In part due to the Jaguars personnel groups and perhaps also as a response to their own personnel limitations, the Ravens did not play any snaps of jumbo nickel this week. 29 plays, 132 yards, 4.6 YPP.
Alternate Base (1): This package includes Board as a 3rd ILB with 2 DL, 2 OLB, and 4 DBs. Because Board is used as a proxy safety in dime packages, this package is also similar to big nickel (with Board replacing the safety). The Ravens used this package only on a 2nd and 8 play vs 12 personnel, which resulted in a 28-yard pass to Eifert, who found separation deep down the right seam between Elliott and Humphrey. 1 play, 28 yards.
Rush Nickel (5): Martindale inserted packages with 1 lineman, 3 OLBs, and 2 ILBs (or 2 linemen, 3 OLBs, 1 ILB) on:
- (Q1, 1:55): A 4th and 5 which resulted in Queen’s drive-ending S-4
- (Q3, 11:33): A 2-play sequence that converted 3rd and 12 (PL8, PR14)
- (Q3, 0:42): A drive-ending 3rd and 13 which resulted in Ngakoue’s strip sack
- (Q4, 8:44): A drive-ending 3rd and 21 which went for a 10-yard swing pass.
5 plays, 27 yards, 5.4 YPP, 2 sacks, 1 TO.
Racecar Nickel (7): This package included 1 DL, 1 ILB, and 4 OLBs vs the Jaguars. Martindale deployed it 3 times on 3rd down in the first half in addition to all 4 plays of the Jaguars final drive of the half. The package was not used at all in the second half. Chris Board was again used as the only ILB in this package (proxy dimeback) with Wolfe, Bowser, Judon, McPhee, and Ngakoue. Ferguson was used primarily as a run defender on early downs (he played a single 3rd and 4 snap) and Ward was inactive. The results were in sharp contrast to the Browns game where the racecar was paired with soft zone defense and resulted in 12.0 YPP. 7 plays, 19 yards, 2.7 YPP.
Dime (0): The Ravens never inserted a 6th defensive back. In fact, only 5 DBs played a defensive snap, which is an oddity for the Ravens.
Martindale was aggressive with both numbers and scheme to generate pressure.
Minshew had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 9 of 34 drop backs (26%), which is below average. He delivered the ball before pressure could develop on 8 other occasions, so the Ravens generated 17 pressure events (50%, 5 sacks, 2 other QHs within 3 seconds, and 10 pressures).
Summarizing by number of pass rushers:
3 (or fewer): 2 plays, 6 yards, 3.0 YPP. 1 sack, 1 TO
4: 13 plays, 58 yards, 4.5 YPP, 1 sack
5: 14 plays, 127 yards, 9.1 YPP, 2 sacks
6: 2 plays, 6 yards, 3.0 YPP
7+: 3 plays, 5 yards, 1.7 YPP, 1 sack
Total: 34 plays, 202 yards, 5.9 YPP, 5 sacks, 1 TO
The Ravens rushed 5+ men on 19 of 34 drop backs (56%), which is well above their season average. On those plays the Ravens defense allowed 7.3 YPP despite collecting 3 sacks. Minshew had some great touch passes under pressure in this group. Rushing 4 or fewer, the Ravens allowed 4.3 YPP with 2 sacks and a turnover in 15 plays.
Martindale used 18 individual blitzes from off the LoS split over 13 plays. Queen led the team with 5. The 13 plays included 2 sacks, 2 QHs, 3 pressures, 4 BOQ, and 2 ATS.
The Ravens stunted only 4 times, a total depressed by the number of off-LoS blitzes. The 4 plays with an individual stunt resulted in Queen’s sack, a pressure by Bowser, and 2 pressures by Madubuike.
On 7 occasions they dropped 2+ from the LoS to cover. Those resulted in 3 sacks, a QH, 1 BOQ, and 2 ATS.
Of 34 drop backs, 7 rushes were deceptive as I define it by incorporating 2 or more of the above elements. In order, those went for:
- S-3 by Judon (safety)
- PM8 with QH by Queen
- PR10 with QH by Judon
- PM2 with pressure by Ngakoue and Queen
- PL3 on BOQ
- S-5 by Wolfe
- Incomplete with pressure by Madubuike
Despite the success, Martindale called just 1 deceptive rush after halftime. That may have been a case of keeping some scheme in the playbook with a big lead.
Matthew Judon (1 sack, 1 QH, 1 pressure), Yannick Ngakoue (2 sacks, 3 other shared pressures), Patrick Queen (1 sack, 1 QH, 1 shared pressure) and Justin Madubuike (5 pressures) were the Ravens most effective pass rushers. This was a day to savor an effective Ravens pass rush and came despite the fact Minshew delivered the football in an average of 2.69 seconds, which is faster than average.
- (Q1, 1:55): On 4th/5, he bulled RT Jawaan Taylor to flush Minshew left where Queen cleaned up S-4.
- (Q2, 13:37): He bulled LT Cam Robinson to bubble Shenault left on RL1.
- (Q2, 5:16): He beat LT Robinson inside for pressure with Queen on PM2.
- (Q2, 0:55): He beat RT Taylor with spin move inside for fast S-8.
- (Q3, 0:46): He bulled LT Robinson for pressure with Judon as Minshew overthrew Shenault at goal line.
- (Q3, 0:42): He beat LT Robinson with spin for SF-4 punched free with his left hand and recovered by Wolfe.
Yannick picked a satisfying time for his best game as a Raven.
- (Q1, 5:02): He blitzed through the left B-gap for a QH as Minshew threw PM8 to WR Collin Johnson.
- (Q1, 2:35): On 3rd/4, he blitzed and tackled Minshew RM-1 to foil his naked boot taking advantage of Bowser’s containment.
- (Q1, 1:55): On 4th/5, he chased down Minshew as he escaped the pocket left for S-4.
- (Q2, 11:39): He tackled RB James Robinson PL-2 (-2 + 0)  before he could turn to generate YAC.
- (Q2, 5:16): He blitzed through the left A-gap and beat RB Robinson for pressure with Ngakoue on PM2.
- (Q2, 3:57): On 3rd/5, he filled the right C-gap quickly to tackle RB Robinson RM0.
- (Q3, 9:15): On 3rd/4, with ATS he trailed in coverage of RB Robinson’s wheel route which was dropped in perfectly for PR17 TD (13 + 4) .
- (Q3, 3:41): He missed a tackle at 7 yards on RB Robinson RM11.
It’s a good sign Patrick played well in a game with significant TE usage and surrendered just 3 receptions.
- (Q3, 14:21): He drove back RG AJ Cann then pursued to tackle RB Robinson RR0.
- (Q3, 13:39): He bulled LG Andrew Norwell with his back for pressure to flush Minshew right where he threw PR21.
- (Q3, 3:59): On 2nd/18, he beat RG Cann outside for a fast pressure, Minshew threw PR22 to WR DJ Chark against whom Humphrey had been flagged for DPI.
- (Q4, 9:46): He crossed the face of LT Robinson to tackle RB Robinson RR-1 as McPhee sealed off the right edge.
- (Q4, 9:18): He beat RG Cann outside with violent hands for fast pressure as Minshew’s pass for TE Tyler Eifert was knocked down by Clark.
- (Q4, 3:09): He was blocked by RG Cann to help lead RB Dare Ogunbowale RM17.
- (Q4, 2:00): He beat C Tyler Shatley left for pressure as Minshew’s pass for WR Chark was deflected at the last moment by Tramon Williams in the endzone.
- (Q4, 1:49): He bulled RT Taylor for pressure as Minshew threw PR13 TD to WR Chris Conley in the endzone.
Madubuike and Queen are two of the few defensive players on the team who are young enough that an improved level of play is likely.
- Yannick Ngakoue
- Patrick Queen
- Justin Madubuike
Honorable mentions include Anthony Averett, Tyus Bowser, Matthew Judon, Brandon Williams, Tramon Williams, and Derek Wolfe.