Pulling to Nowhere

The Ravens run game is predicated on pulls on a significant percentage of run plays.  Sunday’s game against the Eagles was no different, but the results were the worst I have ever recorded. 

Philly’s front 4 penetrated the Ravens line at will, clogging pulling lanes and creating disadvantageous blocks in the backfield.  In total, the Ravens pulled 18 linemen and had just 1 net point on those plays.  That was the biggest factor in accumulating 4 runs for loss and 3 others for no gain among just 28 carries by running backs.

Aggregate OL Results

The Ravens provided Jackson Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 8 of 30 drop backs (27%).  That’s a below average percentage, but it’s much worse when considering the Eagles rushed 4 on 29 of 30 pass plays.  Jackson had responsibility for all 3 sacks by either trying scramble (2 plays, -2 yards, good decisions relative to throwing the ball away) and holding the ball too long (Q3, 9:02, knocked the Ravens out of FG range).The line otherwise combined to allow 8.5 pressures and half a QH.

In 2019, the Ravens OL had just 4 penalties that stalled drives the entire season.  On Sunday, the Ravens had 6 drive-stalling penalties by the OL, bringing their season total to 9 in 6 games.  That number is inflated by definition, because those penalties came on just 3 different series, but the 8 total flags on the OL both hamstrung the effort and reflected the difficulty the Ravens had with the Eagles DL.

The Ravens ran 65 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 was penalized 4 times for the 2nd time in his career (11/6/16 vs Pittsburgh).  He was bulled for a pressure by DE Derek Barnett (Q1, 11:57) and similarly backed up by Barnett for another full pressure (Q3, 1:47).  Those were his only 2 pass rush events allowed, but they did not summarize his problems with the Barnett.  His penalties included:

  • (Q1, 3:21): False start moved 3rd/8 to 3rd/13 and the drive stalled.
  • (Q2, 12:16): Illegal formation on 3rd/7 was declined when Jackson threw incomplete.  This didn’t technically stall the drive, but it likely would have had the Ravens reached the line to gain on the play and it was enforced.  The option value of penalties is often lost.  It’s why a 5-yard illegal formation flag is significantly worse than a false start.
  • (Q2, 7:12): Block in the back moved 1st/25 to 1st/35
  • (Q4, 8:36): Illegal formation was again declined to bring up 3rd/7 and the drive stalled, but since Stanley’s penalty was declined, he was not technically charged for the stall.

Both of the illegal formation flags were a function of the opponent (Sweat, Barnett), but the illegal block was a bad decision in level 2.

Ronnie made 6 blocks in level 2.  He made a block or executed a fake on both pulls.  His highlight was a combination block on DT Malik Jackson then LB Alex Singleton in level 2 (Q3, 2:25).

Scoring:  65 plays, 55 blocks, 6 missed, 2 pressures, 2 illegal formations, 1 false start, 1 illegal block, 36 points (.55 per play).  That’s a D with adjustment.

The last time Stanley had 4 flags in a game was a wakeup call in 2016.  He played great football the last 8 games of his rookie season and has been one of the league’s top tackles since.  Bud Dupree will be a substantial test.

Bozeman:  Bradley had a tough game where he could not establish any consistency as a puller.  He had a penetration or pressure charge on 4 of his first 6 pulls:

  • (Q1, 10:53): He was met in the backfield then shed by Sweat on Dobbins’ 2-yard loss.
  • (Q1, 5:44): He whiffed on ILB Singleton as DE Brandon Graham also came unblocked on Dobbins 2-yard loss.
  • (Q1, 2:14): He was beaten inside by Graham for a pressure shared with Skura.
  • (Q2, 12:53): He was beaten to the ball carrier by Fletcher Cox, who his pull was schemed to block.

Of his 6 misses, 2 were on pulls and 4 were losses at the LoS.  He had 1 block in level 2, 1 pancake, and scored a net of -1 points on 11 pulling assignments.  His did not have a highlight. 

Scoring:  65 plays, 54 blocks, 6 missed, 2 penetrations (1 + 2 x 1/2), 1.5 pressures, 1 false start, 44 points (.68 per play).  That’s a D after adjustment.

Skura:  Matt was solid against some tough opponents.  He had 4 shared charges, the worst of which came when he was beaten left by Malik Jackson for half of a QH (Q2, 12:16) while S Rodney McLeod rushed unblocked off the ORS to phonebooth the pocket.  Theat was the only time all day the Eagles rushed more than 4.  Of 6 missed blocks, 3 were losses at the LoS.  He had 5 blocks in level 2 and connected on 1 of 2 pulls.  He had a pair of highlight combination blocks (Q2, 8:55; Q2, 6:58). 

Scoring: 65 plays, 55 blocks, 6 missed, ½ penetration, 1 pressure (2 x 1/2), ½ QH, 50.5 points (.78 per play).  That’s a C after adjustment. 

Phillips:  Tyre weathered a head-up match with Fletcher Cox before leaving after 3 quarters with a hand injury.   He was driven straight back by Cox who reached up to bat down Jackson’s pass (Q1, 5:03).  He was bulled then shed by Cox who took down Edwards for a loss of 1 (Q3, 12:38).  Cox drew a hold from Phillips when he beat him right on Dobbins stretch run (Q2, 8:11).  That began a series of 3 penalties to bring up 1st and 35.  He missed a pull on Will Parks on the first Ravens play from scrimmage and his other loss was at the LoS.  He made 2 blocks in level 2, and made 1 of 2 pulls.  He did not have a highlight as I scored it.

Scoring:  51 plays, 47 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 offensive holding, 37 points (.73 per play). That’s a C with adjustment at guard.  The Ravens go into the bye week with a significant question at RG.  While his scoring has been all over the board, I don’t think his aggregate level of play should cause him to lose his job if he’s healthy come week 8.

Brown:  Zeus was the Ravens most effective lineman vs the Eagles.  He was bulled by DE Brandon Graham for a full pressure (Q4, 3:30).  He otherwise had 2 partial pressures, both when beaten outside (Cox and Graham) in Q4.  Of 5 missed blocks, only 1 was a loss at the LoS, with 4 occurring when he moved to level 2, but was unable to find a block (L2NB).  He was fortunate not to be flagged as ineligible downfield when he drifted 5 yards into L2 on an RPO pass to Marquise Brown (Q4, 10:50).  He made 4 blocks in level 2 and had 2 pancakes.  His highlight was a combination on DE Josh Sweat then LB Nathan Gerry (Q4, 1:54).

Scoring:  65 plays, 57 blocks, 5 missed, 2 pressures (1 + 2 x 1/2), 1 illegal formation, 50 points (.77 per play).  That’s a B with adjustment.

Mekari:  Patrick played 14 snaps and was bad.  He was flagged for a hold on Cox which negated a key conversion of 3rd and 7 (Q4, 8:29).  He was bulled again by Cox for a pressure on the next play (Q4, 8:02).  He pulled too slowly to block DE Sweat who took down Edwards for a loss of 4 (Q4, 11:28).   The first of his 2 missed blocks allowed Cox in the backfield to blow up Edwards’ run for a gain of just 1 (Q4, 3:48). 

Scoring:  14 plays, 10 blocks, 2 missed, 1 penetration, 1 pressure, 1 offensive holding, 0 points.  Because he was short of the 20-snap minimum, he does not get a grade.  However, he would have needed approximately 22 additional blocks without a miss or charge to get to a D-.

Powers:  Ben had 1 snap as a 6th lineman and did not make a block in L2.

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.