Relentless Blitz

The Broncos blitzed on 70% of plays resulting in a pass or sack (28/40), which is a higher rate than I can ever recall for a Ravens opponent.

By number of rushers:

4: 12 plays, 117 yards, 9.8 YPP

5: 15 plays, 123 yards, 8.2 YPP

6: 8 plays, 49 yards, 6.1 YPP

7: 5 plays, 15 yards, 3.0 YPP

The Ravens afforded Jackson ample time and space (ATS) on just 10 of 40 drop backs (25%).  Under normal conditions, that would be a low total, but given the Denver blitz numbers, I’d call it very good.  When Jackson had ATS, he was 7/10 for 146 yards, 14.6 YPP.

If the pattern of reduced yards with increased numbers is something other teams try to emulate, Jackson will need hot reads and even more in the way of set and chip blockers among the eligible receivers.  He also needs the ability to read such blitzes and make changes at the line of scrimmage.

Versus the Broncos, the Ravens used 26 Set blockers and 10 chip blockers (.90 per play), their highest rate of the year.  That helped cover for their weakness at tackle, but it wasn’t enough to account for all of the free runners.

Individual Scoring

The Ravens ran 70 scored snaps (excludes accepted penalties which result in no play, kneels, spikes, and special teams plays that result in a run or pass).

Villanueva:  Alejandro was having a tough game when he left with an injury.  He was beaten inside by DE Dre’Mont Jones who tackled Murray for a loss of 1 on the first offensive play (Q1, 11:58).  He was bulled then shed by OLB Malik Reed for a QH (Q1, 1:40).  He pancaked Reed at the feet of Lamar for a pressure (Q2, 0:31).  He closed out the half with a 1/3 share of the sack by Stearns when he was bulled by OLB Reed to compress (Q2, 0:18).  He missed only 1 block, on a pull.  He did not make any blocks in level 2 but had 2 pancakes and made 1 of 2 pulls.  I did not record a highlight. 

Scoring:  37 plays, 32 blocks, 1 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 QH, 1/3 sack, 23 points (.62 per play).  That’s a D with adjustment.

Smith:  Andre replaced Villanueva and had a solid score ruined by a costly penalty.  He was late out of his stance and to slow to reach DE Shelby Harris, so he grabbed his face mask in desperation.  That cost the Ravens a touchdown to Andrews.  He had only 1 other negative play on which he wandered back into the cone (Q4, 7:47) for a pressure.  Of his 5 misses, 4 were losses at the LoS.  Among the misses is a play where he got away with illegal use of hands (Q4, 2:12).  He had 1 block in L2 and made 2 of 2 pulls.

Scoring:  33 plays, 27 blocks, 5 missed, 1 pressure, 1 face mask, 16 points (.48 per play).  That’s still an F after adjustment.  The charge for the face mask is -9.  Without it, he would have a B or B- (.80 or .81 adjusted), but that penalty cost him approximately .28 off his score in this game.  If you have PFF, you’ll see they scored him reasonably well in pass blocking, which is a function of bounded scoring.  Each of their plays is on a [-2 to +2] grading range, which means they never weight awful plays such as 10-15 yard penalties and full sacks as harshly as I do.

Where do the Ravens go from here if Villanueva can’t go?  The Ravens have 4 tackles on their practice squad and no time to assimilate a new player through COVID protocols.  That means 2 of Smith, Adrian Ealy, Jaryd Jones-Smith, and David Sharpe will be suiting up against the Colts with Mekari the only healthy tackle.  It’s a bad situation when a struggling player (Villanueva) is a huge loss, but that’s where the Ravens are at OT right now.    

Powers:  Ben wasn’t the biggest problem on the OL but was not as effective as he had been with Denver packing the LoS.  He took 2/3 of the charge for the QH by Shelby Harris when he was pancaked (Q2, 0:25).  He also got a pressure charge when DT McTelvin Agim got his hands up for a PD (Q4, 14:15).  Among 3 missed blocks were 2 losses at the LoS and a missed pull (shed by Alexander Johnson).  He made 4 of 5 pulls but had no blocks in level 2, pancakes, or highlights.  Powers is most effective in the Ravens power schemes when he begins as part of a double team then moves up to level 2 (or allows another to do so) with a big size advantage.  The crowded LoS presented by Denver forced more 1-on-1 matchups with heavies and resulted in less push and fewer L2 blocks for all of the Ravens linemen.

Scoring: 37 plays, 32 blocks, 3 missed, 1 pressure, 2/3 QH, 28 points (.76 per play).  That’s a C after adjustment. 

Cleveland:  Ben had a fine game ruined by a holding flag.  He was beaten badly to the outside by NT Mike Purcell and held him as he was being shed.  A coincidental face mask by Simmons on Bell went unflagged, but it would not have changed the scoring on this play.  That was his only negative event.  Of 3 missed blocks, 2 were losses at the LoS.  He made 4 of 5 pulls but did not make a block in level 2 or record a highlight.  He had 1 pancake.  As with Powers, the fact Denver was swarming at the LoS reduced the impact Cleveland’s power had on the game.

Scoring:  33 plays, 30 blocks, 3 missed, 1 offensive holding, 24 points (.73 per play). That’s a D+ with adjustment.

Bozeman:  Bradley took a step back.  He was party to 3 pressure events, including 2 full charges (beaten right by DT Harris, Q3, 13:39; bulled by NT Purcell, Q4, 2:12).  He also missed 9 blocks, 7 of which came on run plays and 6 of which were losses at LoS.  This was a game where he was on the ground a lot, including 3 plays where he slipped, tripped, or was shed as he was entering level 2.  He had 2 blocks in level 2 but did not have a solo pancake or highlight.  He was not assigned to pull. 

Scoring:  70 plays, 58 blocks, 9 missed, 2.33 pressures, 53.33 points (.76 per play).  That’s a D with adjustment.

As with the rotating LGs, Bozeman’s relative size at center is a bigger asset when the Ravens have an opportunity to set up combination opportunities.

Zeitler:  Kevin rebounded from a poor outing against the Lions to be the Ravens most effective lineman.  He was bulled by LB Justin Strnad on a pull for a pressure (Q3, 2:54).  He had a 1/3 share of another pressure when bulled by DE Jones.  He missed 3 blocks, only 1 of which was a loss at the LoS.  He made 3 blocks in level 2 and scored 5 of a possible 9 points on pulls.  He had a pair of highlight combination blocks (Q3, 4:18; Q4, 12:33). 

Scoring:  70 plays, 65 blocks, 3 missed, 1.33 pressures, 62.33 points (.89 per play).  That’s an A after adjustment.

Mekari:  Patrick turned in a solid result when considering the difficulty of the assignment.  He was party to 2 sacks (beaten inside by Stearns, 1/3 charge, Q2, 0:18); beaten outside by Von Miller to flush Jackson, 1/2 share, Q4, 14:54).  He also surrendered a full QH when beaten outside by DT Shamar Stephen (Q2, 8:36).  Among 8 missed blocks were 7 losses at the LoS that included a pancake.  He delivered a pancake of his own. made 5 blocks in level 2.  He was not assigned to pull.  He had 2 highlight combination blocks (Q1, 11:58; Q4, 3:38).

Scoring: 70 plays, 57 blocks, 8 missed, 1/3 pressure, 1.33 QH, .83 (1/3 + ½) sacks, 1 false start, 44.33 points (.63 per play).  That’s a C- after adjustment.

Colon:  Trystan played 2 total snaps.  He made 2 blocks and was the primary target on a 3rd (Q4, 2:00). 

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.