Compare and Contrast

The remarkable comeback against the Seahawks in 2003 had much in common with Monday night’s heart stopper.

Let’s review:

  • The opposing QB had a near perfect game in each.  Matt Hasselbeck went 23/41 for 333 yards with 5 TDs and 0 INTs, 122.3 passer rating.  Wentz was 25/35 for 402 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 128.5 rating.
  • Both games went to OT
  • The Ravens trailed the Seahawks by 17 before scoring 20 unanswered (Q4, 6:41).  The Ravens trailed by 19 in the 3rd quarter and 16 before Jackson’s first TD to Andrews (Q4, 9:44) then reeled off 22 unanswered points.
  • From the deepest trough, the 2003 Ravens relied on a blocked punt/TD by Ed Reed, a strip by Ray Lewis, a 4th-and-28 conversion from Wright to Sanders (tipped by Robinson), consecutive stops on 3rd and 1 then 4th and 1 to set up the final possession, a 44-yard DPI on Marcus Trufant covering Marcus Robinson, and consecutive FGs made by Matt Stover from 40 (to tie) and 42 (to win in OT).
  • From down 16, the 2021 Ravens relied on Jackson to Andrews for a TD, Jackson to Andrews for a 2-point conversion, their first good run defense of the night to overcome a horse collar tackle and force a FG attempt, Campbell’s block, a well-timed drive, Jackson to Andrews for another TD, Jackson to Andrews for another conversion (on a difficult catch), a survival of Tavon Young’s unnecessary roughness flag when Blankenship missed wide left, and a critical coin flip win that preceded the game-winning OT drive.
  • Both games lost some fans prior to the end, but those that remained were very loud.

Putting on a favorite old game is one of the easiest ways for me to fall asleep.  With any luck, I’ll be watching this for the rest of my life.

Averett’s Difficulties

Anthony Averett had been the Ravens best corner entering MNF, but Wentz and the Colts found ways to expose him:

  • (Q1, 9:14):  With ATS, Wentz threw to WR Ashton Dulin PL15 (15 + 0) [1]–he turned wrong way on cut
  • (Q2, 14:52):  On 3rd/10 with ATS, Wentz threw back shoulder to WR Pittman PL11 (11 + 0) [1]
  • (Q2, 5:28):  He drew holding from WR Pittman which was declined on a jet pitch to WR Dulin PM-2
  • (Q2, 1:33):  Wentz threw to WR Pittman PL9 (4 + 5) [1] between Averett and Bowser
  • (Q2, 1:09):  Anthony was flagged for ticky-tack DPI on WR Paris Campbell
  • (Q2, 1:05):  BOQ, Wentz to WR Campbell PL16 (14 + 2) [1]–AA had good initial coverage but overran the play
  • (Q2, 0:43):  Wentz overthrew WR Zach Pascal three yards [1] and Averett delivered a big hit
  • (Q2, 0:10):  Despite a fast QH by Oweh, Wentz threw to WR Pittman PL13 (13 + 0) [1] on curl to set-up end-of-half field goal
  • (Q3, 14:55):  Wentz threw to WR Pascal PL31 (13 + 18) [1] as Averett was again beaten badly at the top of the route
  • (Q3, 14:07):  Under pressure, Wentz threw to WR Pittman PL42 (30 + 12) [1] Averett was flagged for DPI and fell off the tackle
  • (Q4, 0:39):  Under pressure, Wentz threw to WR Campbell PL23 (21 + 2) [1] who beat Averett with inside/outside double move.

Anthony has been exceptionally effective along the boundary this season, but he was exposed by moves at the top of the route in this game.  Hopefully he can be coached to react better, because other teams will try to emulate what the Colts receivers did to him.


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 Colts ran 63 such snaps.

Base (9): The Ravens used their base 3-4 defense with 2 ILB and 2 OLB in a variety of down-and-distance situations (3/15, 1/10, 2/7, 1/10, 3/2, 1/10, 4/11, 1/10, 1/10) with a common lack of success.  The first such deployment was the 76-yard screen TD on 3rd and 15 (Q1, 13:11).  Martindale inserted it just twice on 1st down in the second half.  9 plays, 147 yards, 16.3 YPP.

Standard Nickel (28): 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.  28 plays, 203 yards, 7.3 YPP.

Jumbo NIckel (9): The Ravens again turned to jumbo nickel versus the Colts as an alternative vs 11 personnel.  The version used on Monday night included 3 down linemen, 1 OLB, and 2 ILB.  These all used Jimmy Smith as the 5th DB (in place of Tavon Young). 9 plays, 101 yards, 11.2 YPP.

32 Dime (1): This package includes a 3-man-down front (3 OLBs or 1 DL, 2 OLBs) along with 2 ILBs and 6 DBs. It was deployed only once (Q4, 0:13) on the pass that set up the Colts game-winning FG miss.  1 play, 15 yards, 15.0 YPP.

Rush Dime (2): The Ravens lined up with 2 DL, 3 OLB, 0 ILB, and 6 DB on 2 occasions.  These included a 2nd and 11 (Q2, 11:40) and a 1st and 10 on the last drive of the half (Q2, 1:05).  2 plays, 18 yards, 9.0 YPP.

Racecar Dime (14): Martindale inserted his 4 OLB package with 1 DL, 0 ILB, and 6 DBs most frequently on obvious passing downs.  This package included a removal of all ILBs (who have struggled significantly in 2021) and the Ravens were at their most successful.  14 plays, 37 yards, 2.6 YPP.

Pass Rush

Martindale used both numbers and deception in moderation versus Wentz.  In the simplest terms, nothing worked.

For the game, Wentz had ATS on 11 of 37 drop backs (30%) resulting in a pass or sack.  He also had 14 ball out quick (BOQ) instances and the Ravens generated 12 pressure events within 3 seconds.  By pass-rush situation:

ATS: 9/11 for 132 yards (11.0 YPP)

BOQ: 11/14 for 141 yards (10.1 YPP)

Pressured: 6/10 for 115 net yards, 2 sacks for 12, 1 TO, (9.6 YPP)

Summarizing by number of pass rushers:

3: 1 play, 5 yards

4: 21 plays, 193 yards, 9.2 YPP, 1 sack, 1 TO

5: 11 plays, 119 yards, 10.8 YPP, 1 sack

6+: 4 plays, 73 yards, 18.3 YPP

Total:  37 plays, 390 yards, 10.5 YPP, 2 sacks, 1 TO

The Ravens rushed 5+ on 15 of 37 drop backs (41%) on which the Colts averaged 12.8 YPP with 1 sack.

Martindale used 15 individual blitzes (.41 per pass play) from off the LoS spread across 11 plays.  Wentz completed 7 of 10 (1 sack) for 143 net yards (13.0 YPP).  As with the Broncos, Martindale did Wentz a favor when he sent an off-ball blitz.

The Ravens used just 1 designed stunt all game (incomplete).  With the ball frequently delivered quickly, stunts would have been difficult to convert.

The Ravens showed simulated pressure just once as well (PL9) where 2 dropped from the LoS.

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 4 deceptive rushes, all of which were paired off-ball blitzes, a 10.8% rate.  4 plays, 51 yards (12.8 YPP).

Justin Houston was the Ravens most effective pass rusher with contributions to 4 pressure events plus a QH and a sack lost to penalty.  Odafe Oweh also had 4 pressure contributions, including the strip sack.

Other Individual Notes

  • Calais Campbell had another outstanding game and appears headed for the Pro Bowl.  He had contributions to 4 run tackles for 2 yards or less, but 2 of those were on 2nd and 3 so they were not defensive wins by the FO definition.  His QH occurred on a 42-yard TD pass.  The blocked FG requires no disclaimer.  
  • Jimmy Smith played well, primarily on the back end in dime.  He ran into Clark (Q1, 13:11), which was the major failure on the 76-yard screen TD.  Otherwise, he had a nice PD by strip of RB Hines (Q4, 0:32) and made the tackle of WR Pascal for a gain of 2 on 2nd and 20 (Q4, 0:18) before the UR flag on Young.
  • Brandon Stephens led the team in tackles and did not have a miss.  Unfortunately, his tackles included just 2 defensive wins (RL3, PL4) and 9 others (PM15, RM2, PL31, PL21, RL13, PL24, RL22, PR29, RL7) where he was most often the last line of defense.  He had a QH off Oweh’s initial pressure (Q4, 0:32).
  • Odafe Oweh continues to deliver impact plays.  He had contributions to 4 pressure events including the strip sack and a QH.  Get off was one of the issues for Oweh that showed up in college, but he timed up the snap perfectly on the sack (looked like offsides from how badly he beats all other linemen) and blew by LT Fisher.  I’m thrilled with his production to date and even more amazed by his growth.
  • All 3 ILBs continued to struggle.  Patrick Queen missed a tackle that drew an emote from Humphrey clearly indicting for him for failing to wrap up (Q1, 5:43).  He, Malik Harrison, and Chris Board all had trouble getting off blocks in a game where the Colts guards (without Quenton Nelson) roamed L2 at will. 

Star Treatment

Tavon Young

  • (Q1, 13:11):  He was blocked by WR Pascal on Wentz to RB Taylor PL76 screen TD
  • (Q2, 15:00):  He stripped WR Pascal 5 yards [3] for a PD
  • (Q2, 10:56):  He blitzed unblocked off slot left for a drive-ending S-7
  • (Q2, 5:28):  He strung out then tackled WR Dulin on PM-2
  • (Q2, 0:39):  He beat a block from WR Pascal to tackle WR Pittman PR-1 (-4 + 3) [4]
  • (Q4, 0:18):  On 2nd/20, he reacted to TE Jack Doyle’s extracurriculars with a push/flop that drew unnecessary roughness; Smith, Houston, Bowser and Humphrey all emoted

Tavon has made big plays every game this season.  In this game, he played aggressively downhill to record 3 TFLs.

Brandon Williams

  • (Q1, 3:47):  He recovered the fumble caused by Oweh to end the Colts 2nd drive
  • (Q2, 12:24):  He assisted Clark to tackle RB Taylor RM-1
  • (Q2, 11:40):  With one arm, he slowed RB Marlon Mack for RM2 with an assist from McPhee that appeared to stop a big play
  • (Q3, 4:27):  He beat LG Chris Reed and pulling TE Doyle to blow-up RB Nyheim Hines RL0 as Campbell cleaned up
  • (Q4, 15:00):  He was blocked by RG Mark Glowinski on RB Mack’s RL22
  • (Q4, 14:24):  He blew up RB Taylor from the ground as Queen tackled RM-1

It’s not good that the Colts rushed for 4.7 YPP, but Brandon held up his end.

Justin Houston

  • (Q1, 13:22):  He bulled LT Eric Fisher for fast pressure to flush Wentz left for Madubuike clean-up QH
  • (Q1, 6:27):  He was not fooled on the naked boot right and delivered a QH as Wentz threw PM8
  • (Q2, 5:06):  On 3rd/10, he and Clark took down WR Pittman after PM5 to deny conversion
  • (Q2, 1:13):  He bulled RT Matt Pryor for pressure as Wentz thew incomplete
  • (Q2, 1:09):  He beat RT Pryor inside for a fast QH negated by DPI Averett
  • (Q3, 5:13):  RB Jonathan Taylor outraced him to the left edge on RL13
  • (Q3, 3:42):  He bulled LT Fisher for pressure
  • (Q4, 8:57):  On Wentz throw to RB Taylor PR29 (0 + 29) [5], he missed a tackle at 6 yards
  • (Q4, 8:06):  He was not fooled by boot right and took down Wentz for a seven-yard loss negated by horse-collar tackle

Justin had a costly penalty to negate his own sack, but was the most productive of the Ravens pass rushers with 4 events (plus a QH negated by DPI)

Defensive MVPs

  1. Tavon Young
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Brandon Williams

Honorable mention to Chuck Clark, Justin Houston, Marlon Humphrey, Odafe Oweh, Jimmy Smith, and Brandon Stephens.