The magical season continued with a thrashing of the defending NFC champion Rams in LA, but the Ravens offensive line suffered a significant loss with the season-ending knee injury to Matt Skura.
Based on Harbaugh’s post-game comments and the acquisition of Jake Brendel, it appears the Ravens will continue with Mekari at C and Bozeman at LG rather than inserting Powers at LG and moving Bozeman to C. Brendel has limited NFL experience at both C an LG with the Dolphins, but he’s undersized, so a more natural fit at center. It is not immediately clear whether Brendel or Powers will be active as the Ravens 7th lineman versus the 49ers.
The Ravens ran 71 scored snaps (excludes accepted penalties which result in no play, kneels, spikes, and special teams plays that result in a run or pass).
Stanley: Ronnie had another top-shelf performance. He gave ground to DT Tanzel Smart to compromise the pocket (Q4, 8:38) for his only pass rush event. His false start penalty was his only other negative play. Stanley missed 3 blocks, only one of which was a loss at the LoS. He had 1 block in level 2 and 2 pancakes, but was not assigned to pull. He peeled off his double team with Bozeman to flatten DE Morgan Fox in the pocket for his highlight (Q1, 3:23).
Scoring: 71 plays, 67 blocks, 3 missed, 1 pressure, 1 false start, 62 points (.87 per play). That’s an A with adjustment.
Bozeman: Bradley had a rocky night as a pass blocker more than offset by outstanding run blocking. He was beaten inside by Aaron Donald for a pressure (Q3, 9:52) and again outside by Donald for a pressure (Q3, 6:43). Michael Brockers also pancaked him directly at the feet of Griffin for a 3rd pressure on the final competitive snap (Q4, 3:28). He missed 3 blocks, 2 of which were losses to Donald at the LoS. Bozeman had 5 blocks in level 2, delivered 1 pancake, and connected on 10 of 11 pulls. His highlight was a pull to drive Littleton 5 yards in level 2 to lead Edwards’ 10-yard run (Q1, 4:42).
Scoring: 71 plays, 65 blocks, 3 missed, 3 pressures, 59 points (.83 per play). That’s a B+ with adjustment.
Skura: Matt’s injury left the Ravens with their first continuity issue of the year on the offensive line. Before the injury he made 14 of 15 blocks including jumping a gap left to pick up Aaron Donald (Q1, 7:51) on the first TD pass to Brown. That highlight earned him an appreciative pat on the back from Bozeman, who was beaten outside on the play. He had 2 blocks in level 2 but did not have a pancake or pulling assignment.
Scoring: 15 plays, 14 blocks, 1 missed. He was below the 20-snap minimum for a grade.
Yanda: Marshal again played well and left the game 3 plays into the 4th quarter. He did not have a negative event in the game. Of his 3 missed blocks, 1 was a pull where he was unable to find a block anywhere along his route, which ended in level 2. He was pancaked by DT Sebastian Joseph-Day on a designed boot right by Jackson for a miss on what ended up as a QH when Jackson held to ball too long by the right sideline. His other miss came when beaten inside by Donald (Q4, 15:00) on a play where Taylor Rapp rushed unblocked through the left C gap for a fast QH. Marshal made 6 blocks in level 2, delivered 1 pancake, and made 3 of 4 pulls. He had 2 highlight combination blocks (Q1, 2:39; Q3, 14:21). His 3rd highlight was a pull to pancake ILB Corey Littleton in level 2.
Scoring: 58 plays, 55 blocks, 3 missed, 55 points (.95 per play). That’s an A prior to adjustment.
Brown: Zeus delivered his 3rd consecutive A after adjustment. He was beaten outside by OLB Clay Matthews (Q2, 0:25) who flushed Jackson from the pocket. OLB Dante Fowler also beat him outside to provide front-side containment for a share of the QH by Rapp (Q4, 15:00). Orlando chose to double inside rather than block Michael Brockers who delivered a fast QH (Q4, 7:18). Gus Edwards was fanned out on the right side with Ebukam, so I can’t see another possible responsibility. Normally, Brown would be at risk for several missed blocks, if only on the back side of run plays. However, I didn’t score him for any in this game. He had 3 pancakes, but did not register a block in level 2, or highlight. He did not have a pulling assignment.
Scoring: 71 plays, 68 blocks, 0 missed, 1 pressure, 1.5 QHs, 61.5 points (.87 per play). That’s an A with adjustment.
Hurst: James played 14 scored snaps, including 13 at RG as relief for Yanda. Michael Brockers bulled then shed him to sack Griffin (Q4, 7:18). He missed 3 blocks (2 L2NBs and 1 whiff on a pull). He made 2 blocks in level 2 and made 1 of 3 pulls. His highlight was a combination block where he helped tee up Aaron Donald for Brown, then put a shoulder into both Littleton and Weddle in level 2 (Q4, 8:04).
Mekari: Patrick replaced Skura at center and had an effective run-blocking performance marred by a pair of holding flags. He was bulled by DT Sebastian Joseph-Day for a pressure (Q3, 13:41) which resulted in Lamar’s first incomplete pass. Each of his 2 holding flags came when locked inside the frame of rookie NT Greg Gaines. A little background…
After a fine senior year at Washington (56 tackles, 4.5 sacks), Gaines’ wasn’t drafted until the 4th round in part due to arm length (31.25”). Arm length concerns also kept Mekari from being drafted despite fine pass-blocking results playing tackle at California. Gaines, like Mekari was happy to lock up inside the frame and attempt to wrestle past the Ravens center. However, Mekari pulled down and Gaines dropped to the ground to draw the flag (Q3, 4:07) on a play with a coincident chop block by Edwards (a 15-yard flag, which caused the holding to be declined). Later (Q4, 9:03), Mekari and Gaines locked up again and Mekari pulled down as Gaines tried to slip by him on a run play. This second flag was also declined because the Rams chose to accept the 1-yard run to bring up 3rd and 8.
Mekari missed just 1 block (L2NB) to go with 5 blocks in level 2. He was not assigned to pull, nor did he have a (unflagged) pancake. He had 3 highlight blocks:
- (Q3, 11:28): He teed up Joseph-Day for Yanda then blocked Rapp 10 yard in level 2
- (Q3, 6:02): He teed up Gaines for Bozeman, then blocked Rapp in level 2
- (Q4, 7:23): He picked up Donald effectively and pushed him several yards from the pocket after the Rams DT slipped by Bozeman
Scoring: 56 plays, 52 blocks, 2 missed, 1 pressure, 2 offensive holding penalties, 38 points (.68 per play). That’s a D with adjustment at center. There were indicators which offer hope, but the penalties ruined his grade versus the Rams. Ryan Jensen was flagged for holding 3 times during the 2017 opener at Cincinnati but then recovered to earn a big contract by avoiding flags the rest of the season.
If you’re interested in seeing scoring trends for the players this season, those charts will be posted in the Gallery section and updated weekly.
What would have Mekari’s score been without the 2 holding penalties?