A Man Short

The Ravens lined up to go for 4th and 6 at the Bengals 46 (Q2, 7:56).  More unusual than the decision to leave the offense on the field was the fact the Ravens did so with just 10 men.

The vast majority of shorthanded situations in the NFL come on defense where substitutions are made to react to the offensive personnel (a source of error) and there are no rules as to how the defense must line up that make the unfilled role obvious to all or even most of the other defenders.

For an offensive play to be run shorthanded:

  • It can only practically occur with 1 of 5 skill position players, since the OL and QB rarely change by play
  • It must not violate the formation rules on offense in an obvious way.  That means there still needs to be an eligible receiver lined up on either side of the ineligible linemen.
  • It must not be noticed by the QB who presumably will be scanning the field for pre-snap reads/leverage opposite his receivers.
  • It must slip by the coaches and quality control eyes who can use the headset loop to ask the head coach to call a timeout from the sideline.

Incredibly, the Ravens ran a high-leverage play which met all of these conditions and surrendered the ball to the Bengals on downs when Jackson overthrew a well-covered Mark Andrews.

Aggregate OL Results

The Ravens provided Jackson Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 15 of 38 drop backs (39%).  That’s a slightly above average amount by today’s standards and he did not use the opportunity set well.

The heat that did occur was not all a function of the offensive line, that allowed 1 sack, 1.33 other QHs, and 8 pressures.  The pocket was frequently compromised by designed boots and the Bengals brought overload blitzes on several plays which denied ATS.  Specifically, Bengals slot corner Darius Phillips (#23) was in the backfield all afternoon (often unblocked), including 2 QHs and 2 PDs behind the LoS.

The Ravens ran 61 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 a good game that was not without warts.  He was bulled then shed by DE Carl Lawson for a QH (Q3, 14:21).  He first looked to block inside, then was much too late to stop Lawson’s speed rush (Q2, 0:43), which forced Jackson to step up into a sack by Carlos Dunlap.  I split the charge for that sack to Stanley and Brown.  He missed 4 blocks, 3 of which were losses at the LoS.  He made 6 blocks in level 2, and I scored him with 2 of 3 points on his counter pulls (effectively play fakes).  The Ravens ran 3 counter plays during the game with LG and LT pulling right.  On the first of those (Q1, 7:23), Mekari gave ground and tripped Bozeman, but Stanley was able to hurdle the LG to avoid a multi-car pileup and the associated injury risk.  His highlight was a combination block on Lawson then ILB Davis-Gaither (Q2, 5:33) that led a 5-yard run by Edwards. 

Also of note…Stanley was way out front of Duvernay’s 42-yard run and made his initial (and possibly ill-advised) block on Lawson 38 yards from the LoS (Q1, 12:12).  That’s the farthest from the LoS I can recall a Ravens lineman making his initial block in 15 years of OL scoring (more than 75,000 blocks).  I would love to hear what Ronnie Stanley’s top speed was on that play.  Lawson went flying and Boykin tripped over Stanley.

Scoring:  61 plays, 55 blocks, 4 missed, 1 QH, ½ sack, 49 points (.80 per play).  That’s a B with adjustment.

Bozeman:  Bradley had another solid outing.  He was bulled by DT Geno Atkins for a pressure on the 16-yard pass to Brown (Q1, 6:46).  He pirouetted 360 degrees to get a piece of the stunting Carl Lawson as he pressured Jackson (Q2, 9:50).  That play will remind old Baltimore Colts fans of Glenn Ressler’s block in Super Bowl V.  However, the need to spin was in part created by the fact he overdelivered underneath rusher Sam Hubbard to Stanley.  After watching the play multiple times, I charged the pressure to Bozeman as much as I liked the way he found a way to contribute from out of position.  Of his 7 misses, 3 were on pulls, including 1 where he was stood up by rookie DE Khalid Kareem.  The other 4 were all losses at the LoS.  He had 2 blocks in level 2, 1 pancake, and pulled successfully on 10 of 13 assignments.  His highlight was a kickout pull he maintained for 10 yards on ILB Germaine Pratt (Q1, 7:59). 

Scoring:  61 plays, 52 blocks, 7 missed, 2 pressure, 48 points (.79 per play).  That’s a B after adjustment.  Had I not charged the stunt pressure mentioned above, that grade would have been a B+.

Skura:  Matt again played well.  He was quickly shed by DT Geno Atkins for a pressure on the 4th and 6 play (Q2, 7:56).  That was his only negative event.  Among 4 missed blocks, he was pancaked on 3 and unable to find an effective block on the last (a less serious error).  He had 3 blocks in level 2 and connected on his only pull.  His delayed pull left and ability to maintain his block on Lawson had the most impact on Duvernay’s 42-yard run (Q1, 12:12).

Scoring: 61 plays, 56 blocks, 4 missed, 1 pressure, 54 points (.89 per play).  That’s an A after adjustment. 

Mekari:  Patrick started at RG, split time with Ben Powers, and struggled.  He surrendered a pressure by bull rush to Hubbard (Q1, 10:48).  Mekari allowed another full pressure when he overpassed ILB Logan Wilson to Skura then failed to pick up the stunting Atkins (Q2, 0:10).  He missed 6 blocks, for a variety of reasons:

  • (Q1, 11:30): He was thrown to the ground by DT DJ Reader while both players had arms extended.
  • (Q1, 7:23): He tripped the pulling Bozeman on a counter play when he initially gave ground to DT Reader.
  • (Q1, 4:05): He was pushed to the ground by Reader while setting up to zone block to the left.
  • (Q1, 3:07): He was bulled and pancaked by DT Amani Bledsoe.
  • (Q2, 0:43): He patrolled an area with no opponent and failed to look for work in terms of a block on either DE Carlos Dunlap or ILB Logan Wilson as Jackson was sacked for a loss of 9.  This was a case where Marshall Yanda might have found a way to chip one of these players and extend the protection.  I did not give Mekari any portion of the sack charge.
  • (Q4, 12:58): He quickly moved to level 2, but was unable to find a target on a zone run left.

He made 5 blocks in level 2 and delivered 1 pancake but did not have a highlight.  He made his only pull.

Scoring:  45 plays, 36 blocks, 6 missed, 2 pressures, 1/6 QH, 31.5 points (.70 per play). That’s a D+ with adjustment at guard.  Mekari had some anchor issues in this game, but some of that boils down to opponents (Reader in particular) being able to dictate first contact with length.

Brown:  Zeus returned to RT and had a solid game.  He shared a sack with Ronnie Stanley (Q2, 0:43) when bulled by DE Dunlap.  He allowed 2 other full pressures, the first when beaten outside by DE Sam Hubbard (Q1, 11:30) to flush Jackson right.  He was deeked at the LoS by the dropping ILB Wilson and allowed DE Hubbard to rush unblocked (Q2, 1:20).  Hubbard’s pressure resulted in a back-foot throw which was intercepted by Wilson.  He made 3 blocks in level 2 but did not have a pancake, pull, or highlight.

Scoring:  61 plays, 54 blocks, 3 missed, 2 pressures, 1/6 QH, ½ sack, 46.5 points (.76 per play).  That’s a B- with adjustment.

Powers:  Ben played 16 snaps in rotation at RG with Mekari.  He gave ground then allowed DT Reader to bat down a pass (Q3, 10:50).  He was flagged for illegal man downfield (Q1, 0:20), but I did not charge him for the foul because Jackson ad-libbed a pass to throw the ball away when trapped on a designed run.  Powers was not the only lineman downfield and Dunlap negated the flag with his personal foul.  He was flagged for a hold on ILB Josh Bynes (Q3, 10:15) which was inside the frame, but the torque was well exaggerated by the veteran LB.  It may also have been a ticky-tack call by 2020 standards of flagrancy.  In any case, this is a coachable moment where Powers was winning the block and had no need to hold.

He did not have a pancake, nor did he have a pulling assignment.  His only level 2 block was a highlight combination on DT Christian Covington then LB Davis-Gaither.

Scoring:  16 plays, 14 blocks, 0 missed, 1 pressure, 1 offensive hold, 6 points (.38 per play).  Because he was short of the 20-snap minimum, he does not get a grade.

Bredeson:  Ben had 1 snap as a 6th lineman and made his block.

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.