Ravens Top Jets Despite Uneven Defensive Performance

It wasn’t a pretty night for the secondary who had difficulties matching up with the Jets speed and Darnold’s ability to throw accurately while moving.  None of the corners came away clean.  Let’s review:

  • Jimmy Smith (47 snaps) was targeted 7 times with 5 completions for 66 yards including the 41-yard strike to Anderson (Q4, 9:10).  He made a quick tackle of Bell t hold him to a 3-yard gain (Q2, 3:56).  On the play, there were 2 receivers split left and Smith called for help by clapping his hands.  On 4th and 1 (Q2, 2:00) he delivered a drive-ending strip of Anderson on 4th and 1 in the end zone.
  • Marcus Peters (55 snaps) surrendered 2 completions on 7 targets for 19 yards,  However, he was beaten by Jeff Smith for what would have been a TD, but Darnold overthrew him (Q2, 1:03).  He had a nifty PD from behind WR Vyncint Smith (Q1, 5:24) and had the tight, drive-ending coverage of Anderson (Q3, 11:59) on which the Jets WR caught Darnold’s pass out of bounds.
  • Brandon Carr (33 snaps) missed the tackle on WR Vyncint Smith 3 yards past the LoS on his 31-yard screen reception to convert 3rd and 7.  He also gave up the 18-yard TD to WR Crowder by the right sideline (Q4, 7:43).
  • Marlon Humphrey (57 snaps) appeared to misinterpret his coverage responsibility from the Jets bunch formation (Q2, 13:37) as both he and Jimmy Smith followed WR Jeff Smith’s slant.  Crowder dropped arnold’s perfect pass on the right side of the end zone.  On the next play, Humphrey blanketed Crowder in the end zone, but the Jets WR collected the ball while falling out of bounds.  Marlon had 2 PDs on the final Jets possession and surrendered just 24 yards on 8 targets.

Pass Rush

The Ravens allowed Sam Darnold ample time and space (ATS) on just 9 of 33 drop backs (27%).  He had ATS on 7 throws in the first half with 64 yards, but threw his interception to Clark on the last one.  In the second half, Martindale rushed 4 only 4 times and Darnold had ATS just twice (gains of 15 and 41).

Let’s look at the pass rush results by numbers:

4: 16 plays, 135 yards (8.4 YPP), 1 takeaway

5: 10 plays, 65 yards (6.5 YPP), 1 sack, 1 takeaway

6: 5 plays, 9 yards (1.8 YPP)

7: 2 plays, -2 yards (-1.0 YPP)

Rushing with numbers didn’t produce nearly the disparity of results as against the Jets, but the Ravens still fared much better rushing more.

Martindale dialed down deceptive elements in this one.  He called 13 individual blitzes, 6 stunts, and five drops of 2 or more men to coverage.  A healthy 7 drop backs met my definition of deceptive by pairing multiple deceptive elements on a single play.  The Jets gained 77 yards on those plays (11.0 YPP).


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 Jets ran 57 non-penalty snaps.

Base (6): Among the 9 times the Jets inserted a 6th offensive lineman, the Ravens responded with their base package on 6 occasions. These plays resulted in 23 yards (3.8 YPP) and 3 first downs.

Jumbo Nickel (9): During the Bills game, the Ravens used the jumbo nickel (3-3-5 nickel) exclusively in the first half.  Against the Jets, the Ravens used it on the first play of the game, then as the primary run defense in the second half (8 more times).  The Ravens surrendered 29 yards (3.2 YPP) on these plays.  Domata Peko (7 of 9), Brandon Williams (8 of 9), and Chris Wormley (9 of 9) were the regular fixtures in this package.  Bynes (6) and Fort (3) shared the snaps as the lone ILB.

Standard Nickel (15): Every instance of the standard nickel included Bynes and Onwuasor at ILB.  Perhaps due to the success of the Jets run game in the first half, the Ravens did not play a single sap of their standard nickel in the second half, opting for jumbo nickel on every nickel snap.  That meant Onwuasor was on the sideline for all but 2 snaps after halftime (both base).  The Jets gained 69 yards vs the standard nickel (4.6 YPP).

The standard nickel/jumbo nickel decision boils down to the Ravens desire to have either Onwuasor or an extra DL on the field.  Some edge setting is also made easier by the possibility of wider OLBs with 3 DL.  Based on the usage of package by half, it appears Martindale decided Bell posed a greater threat than Darnold from his success in the first half and adjusted accordingly.

Dime (23): The Bills steamrolled the Ravens dime for 9.7 YPC with their power run schemes.  The Jets managed only 5.3 YPC running vs the dime, but also 8.0 YPP on pass plays.

Of the dime snaps, 10 were modified racecar (0 ILBs, 6 DBs, 1 DL, 4 OLBs), on which the Jets gained 74 yards.  The remaining 13 were standard (1 ILB, 6 DBs, 2 OLB, 2 DL) and resulted in 94 yards (7.2 YPP). 

Quarter (4):  Anthony Levine entered to play 4 such snaps, all in the first half.  The Ravens allowed 21 yards on 4 plays (5.3 YPP), including Clark’s interception.

Other Notes

  • The Ravens were fortunate to have a game with few defensive snaps on short week.  The active defensive linemen, Michael Pierce (35 snaps), Domata Peko (20), Brandon Williams (30), and Chris Wormley (30) each had a manageable workload despite the fact Patrick Ricard did not play a defensive snap.
  • Michael Pierce shed C Harrison then looped outside LT Beachum for a hard QH (Q1, 5:19) that earned him some playing time as the lone DL in the modified racecar package (7 of 9 deployments). 
  • Domata Peko contributed to 6 tackles (2 solo, 4 assists) in just 20 snaps, by far his most productive 2019 game.  It’s unusual for this to be true of a player his age, but he has fresh legs in December.
  • Jihad Ward had a fumble recovery for the 2nd consecutive game on Bowser’s strip sack (Q3, 5:29).  He held Darnold’s shirt until Judon arrived to finish his QH (Q1, 13:43).  He drew an illegal blindside block foul on Harrison (Q1, 1:28), which negated a 19-yard completion.

Star Treatment

Note: Individual plays use a shorthand where the field is divided into sections 1 through 5 and may include a division of air yards and YAC. For example, a 13-yard pass completed by the right sideline could be denoted as “PR13 (7 + 6) [5]”.

Chris Wormley:

  • (Q3, 6:58):  He shed RT Shell outside for fast pressure on screen to disrupt timing on PM-2.
  • (Q3, 6:11):  He pursued to tackle WR Vyncint Smith PR4 after Clark missed the tackle.
  • (Q3, 5:02):  He bulled LG Lewis to flush Darnold right, thrown away OOB.
  • (Q3, 4:55):  He shed RG Compton to tackle RB Bell RR3.
  • (Q4, 15:00):  He bulled LG Lewis for pressure on Darnold incomplete for Crowder.

Jaylon Ferguson:

  • (Q1, 14:23):  On 2nd/5, he won the left edge vs. LT Kelvin Beachum to redirect Bell right for Judon’s tackle RM0.
  • (Q1, 7:13):  He lost the right edge to RT Shell as part of Bell RM15.
  • (Q1, 6:37):  He bulled RT Shell for pressure but Darnold threw complete to WR Jeff Smith PL12 [1].
  • (Q1, 0:59):  Jaylon won the right edge vs. RT Shell to redirect Bell inside RM4.
  • (Q2, 8:04):  He bulled RT Shell for pressure as Darnold threw complete to WR Anderson PM5 [4].
  • (Q2, 5:29):  He won the right edge vs. RT Shell, Thomas cleaned up Bell RM2.
  • (Q3, 11:59):  On 3rd/2, he bulled RT Shell for pressure, Darnold threw incomplete OOB for Anderson.
  • (Q3, 4:12):  On 3rd/7, he stunted for a hard QH as Darnold overthrew Crowder 10 yards [1].
  • (Q4, 4:32):  On 3rd/2, he shed LT Beachum to tackle Bell RM1 with assist from Pierce.
  • (Q4, 4:07):  On 4th/1, he was not fooled by play action and delivered an unblocked QH as Darnold’s pass for Crowder was knocked away by Humphrey on the Jets’ final offensive play.

Defensive MVPs

  1. Jaylon Ferguson
  2. Domata Peko
  3. Jihad Ward