The story of the game was the Bengals ability to generate big plays in the passing game.  Let’s review:

  • (Q1, 13:19):  On 3rd/8, Oweh stunted outside over Campbell for pressure but failed to bring down Burrow, Burrow threw to RB Samaje Perine PR23 (4 + 19) [5].  Stephens appeared to have responsibility based on delayed rush, but Perine slipped out as he went in.
  • (Q2, 6:40):  Campbell bulled TE Drew Sample for pressure, but Burrow threw to TE C.J. Uzomah PM55 (30 + 25) [2] who beat Humphrey then evaded the tackle from Marlon for the TD.
  • (Q2, 0:32):  On 2nd/10 with ATS despite a 6-man pass rush, Burrow threw to WR Ja’Marr Chase PM26 (11 + 15) [2] who outraced Humphrey and Clark to the right sideline.
  • (Q3, 13:20):  Burrow released quickly to WR Chase PM17 (11 + 6) [2] with Humphrey soft and space open in the middle of field.
  • (Q3, 11:58):  On 2nd/15, Burrow threw before pressure could develop (BOQ) to WR Chase PM21 (9 + 12) [4] with Averett closest in zone.  Elliott missed the tackle at 13 to allow 8 extra YAC.
  • (Q3, 11:13):  With ATS, Burrow threw to TE Uzomah PR32 (16 + 16) [4].  Humphrey, Clark and Houston all moved to cover WR Tyler Boyd.   
  • (Q3, 6:02):  On 3rd/2 with ATS, Burrow threw to WR Chase PR82 (6 + 76) [5] on slant/cross in front of Humphrey.  Despite the ball being slightly behind Chase, Elliott missed a tackle at 10 yards and Chase spun past Humphrey and Clark at 14 for TD.
  • (Q3, 3:37):  Oweh bulled RT Riley Reiff for pressure as Burrow threw to WR Boyd PM25 (15 + 10) [4] wide open in zone with Queen closest.
  • (Q3, 0:17):  With ATS, Burrow threw to WR Chase PR27 (24 + 3) [5].  Humphrey punched the ball out but Chase kicked it while OOB.

Some recurring themes:

  • Poor tackling in the secondary led to some significant YAC plays.
  • The Ravens pass rush also failed to finish their sack opportunities.
  • Burrow stood up to pressure well (3 times), but also maximized his opportunities with ATS and when the ball was out quickly (detail in Pass Rush section below).
  • The Ravens had both man and zone coverage breakdowns.

This will be a tough film week for the Ravens defense.  There wasn’t any single problem that explains all of this.  Much of it was their own doing, but the less correctable problem is Burrow and Chase in the same division for the foreseeable future.


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 62 such snaps.

Base (5): The Ravens used their base 3-4 defense with 2 ILB and 2 OLB to produce Jeckyl-and-Hyde results.  Among these 5 plays were 3 defensive wins, including a 3rd-and-1 stop.  The other 2 plays were the 55-yard TD to Uzomah (Q2, 6:40) and the 46-yard TD run by Perine (Q4, 7:07).  5 plays, 103 yards, 20.3 YPP.

Standard Nickel (27): 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.  He deployed a bigger nickel with Jimmy Smith (16 snaps in all packages) in more likely run situations, including most 12 personnel.  Otherwise, Tavon Young was the SCB.  27 plays, 156 yards, 5.8 YPP.

Jumbo NIckel (7): The Ravens used 2 different versions of jumbo nickel versus the Bengals.  They lined up with 3 down linemen, 2 OLB, and 1 ILB on 4th and 1 (Q1, 7:28).  The other 6 occurrences included 3 down linemen, 1 OLB, and 2 ILB.  All 7 plays included Jimmy Smith was the 5th DB.  7 plays, 71 yards, 10.1 YPP.

Rush Dime (12): The Ravens lined up with 1 DL, 3 OLB, 1 ILB, and 6 DB on 12 occasions.  Chris Board was the sole ILB on each of these plays.  These were all obvious passing situations by down-and distance (5 3rd downs) or game situation (the firs 7 plays of the end-of-half drive).  12 plays, 74 yards, 6.2 YPP.

Racecar Dime (3): Martindale inserted his 4 OLB package with 1 DL, 0 ILB, and 6 DB on 3 occasions (PR23, PR82, PL11).  Among those plays were 2 conversions on 3rd and 8 and the 82-yard TD to Chase.  3 plays, 116 yards, 38.7 YPP.

Quarter (1): The Ravens played a snap with 7 DBs on the last play of the first half (Q2, 0:10, incomplete) for the second straight week. This was the only snap where Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young were on the field together.  1 play, 0 yards.

Jumbo (7): The Ravens played the final 7 defensive snaps of the game with 4 down linemen, 2 OLB, 2 ILB, and 3 DB (Humphrey, Elliott, and Clark).  The Bengals ran directly into it as it appeared both teams wanted to finish the game.  It was interesting Geno Stone or Brandon Stephens did not get time at FS for these plays, since it looked like Eliiott was taking extreme care (probably instructed) not to get involved in the tackles. 7 plays, -1 yard, -0.1 YPP.

Pass Rush

Martindale employed an aggressive pass rush by numbers vs Burrow, who had been one of the fastest QBs in terms of time to throw.  However, in terms of deceptive elements Wink was quite conservative.  Unsurprisingly for a game where the opponent threw for 10.8 YPP, there was not a substantial positive split.

For the game, Burrow had ATS on 13 of 38 drop backs (34%) resulting in a pass or sack.  He also had 7 ball out quick (BOQ) instances and the Ravens generated 17 pressure events within 3 seconds.  By pressure situation:

ATS: 9/13 for 213 yards (16.4 YPP)

BOQ: 6/7 for 61 yards (8.7 YPP)

Pressured: 8/17 for 135 net yards (7.5 YPP), 1 sack, 1 INT

From the perspective of the defense, each of these YPP results is bad for the circumstances.

Summarizing by number of pass rushers:

3: 2 plays, 0 yards

4: 20 plays, 224 yards, 11.2 YPP, 1 sack

5: 8 plays, 127 yards, 15.9 YPP

6+: 8 plays, 58 yards, 7.3 YPP, 1 TO

Total:  38 plays, 409 yards, 10.8 YPP, 1 sack, 1 TO

The Ravens rushed 5+ on 16 of 38 drop backs (42%) on which the Bengals averaged 11.6 YPP with 1 sack and 1 TO.

Martindale called just 2 individual blitzes the entire game (.05 per pass play) from a player who was either outside the slot receiver or more than 1.5 yards off the LoS at the snap.  The 2 passes were both completed for 28 total yards.  This was even lower than last week’s .07 total and that was the lowest I can recall in the Martindale era.

The Ravens used 5 stunts versus the Bengals, up from 0 against the Chargers (they also had 0 vs the Chiefs).  I’d like to be able to report the stunts were effective, but they weren’t (PR23, Inc, PR13, PR32, PR82, 30.0 YPP).

The Ravens showed simulated pressure 5 times where 2 or 3 dropped from the LoS, including the 82-yard pass to Chase.

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 3 deceptive rushes which were each a combination that included a simulated pressure, twice with a stunt and once with an off-ball blitz.

Justin Houston was by far the Ravens most effective pass rusher with contributions to 2 pressures plus 4 other QHs.  Odafe Oweh also had contributions to 4 pressures.

Other Individual Notes

  • MLB Josh Bynes (46 snaps) played well with 6 tackles, 5 of which were defensive wins (R0, P6, R0, R0, R-5).  He diagnosed the QB sneak by Burrow and 2nd and 1, leapt over the line, and the Ravens were able to stop the play for no gain.  He also delivered a pressure (Q1, 12:29).
  • For the second consecutive week, the Ravens activated all 5 ILBs on their roster.  Patrick Queen got the majority of the WLB snaps (27) and made 2 tackles, including a TFL.  Malik Harrison (11 total snaps) saw time at WLB and lined up at OLB on 4 jumbo nickel snaps.  Chris Board (20 total snaps) played some as the WLB and some as the only ILB in obvious passing situations.

Star Treatment

Anthony Averett

  • (Q1, 14:53):  He swatted hard, but failed to dislodge Burrow’s throw to WR Tee Higgins PR11 (11 + 0) [5]
  • (Q1, 13:23):  With ATS, Burrow overthrew Higgins 13 yards [5] with Averett close
  • (Q1, 12:29):  Anthony dislodged Burrow’s throw for WR Higgins short right
  • (Q1, 12:25):  He registered a PD 7 yards [5] vs. WR Higgins to deny 3rd/10
  • (Q1, 3:26):  He swiped but failed to dislodge Burrow’s pass to WR Boyd PR5 (5 + 0) [5]
  • (Q1, 2:47):  He disrupted Burrow’s pass for WR Higgins 27 yards [1] to deny 3rd/5
  • (Q2, 7:06):  He was soft, but tackled WR Higgins PL9 (4 + 5) [1]
  • (Q2, 1:51):  He immediately took down WR Higgins PR7 (7 + 0) [5]
  • (Q2, 0:37):  He had step for step coverage of WR Higgins 28 yards [5] and went up with him to defend the ball that was just overthrown
  • (Q2, 0:10):  On 3rd/3, he had tight coverage of WR Higgins in left of endzone forcing Burrow to overthrow and settle for half-ending field goal
  • (Q3, 11:58):  On 2nd/15, he was closest in zone as Burrow threw to WR Chase PM21 (9 + 12) [4]
  • (Q3, 2:09):  He missed a tackle at 9 as WR Higgins adjusted to catch Campbell’s deflection PL11 (7 + 4) [1]
  • (Q3, 0:42):  On 3rd/10 with ATS, Burrow threw to WR Higgins PR11 (9 + 2) [5], Anthony pushed OOB but was flagged for DPI (declined)
  • (Q4, 15:00):  With ATS, Burrow overthrew WR Higgins 20 yards [2] in endzone with tight coverage by Averett

Anthony’s game was a mixed bag, including a missed tackle and a declined DPI, but he did a fine job with his primary coverage assignment.  The Ravens had Marlon Humphrey following Ja’Marr Chase for most of the game, which left Averett responsible for Higgins. Burrow targeted Higgins 15 times with 7 completions for 62 yards (4.1 YPP).  Anthony tracked the ball well, did not allow any substantive YAC, and delivered 3 drive-ending coverage plays.

From Higgins’ perspective, this game dropped his career yards per target from 8.1 to 7.7.  It won’t help him at contract time.

Justin Houston

  • (Q1, 15:00):  He beat LT Jonah Williams inside to flush Burrow left, for throw incomplete
  • (Q1, 14:53):  He had a free run for a QH when LT Williams and RB Joe Mixon both blocked Young outside
  • (Q1, 12:25):  On 3rd/10, he bulled then shed LT Williams for pressure on drive-ending PD by Averett
  • (Q1, 5:19):  On 3rd/5, he bulled then beat LT Williams inside for a QH as Burrow thew incomplete to end drive
  • (Q2, 14:03):  He was blocked by RT Reiff as part of RB Mixon’s RR9
  • (Q2, 12:35):  On 3rd/1, he and Humphrey combined to tackle RB Perine RM0 to deny conversion
  • (Q2, 1:29):  He blew by LT Williams inside for a fast QH on PR4
  • (Q4, 14:55):  On 3rd/Goal he beat RT Reiff outside for QH as Burrow’s pass for WR Chase was intercepted by Humphrey

Justin contributed to 4 drive-ending plays and used LT Jonah Williams (the 2019 11th overall pick) like a sock puppet for most of the game.