The loss to the Seahawks was a familiar story in many ways, but one all-too-hackneyed plot element is more frustrating than the others. The Seahawks used primarily a 4-man rush to frustrate Flacco. They rushed 4 on 36 of 54 pass plays and only once rushed more than 5.
Flacco had ample time and space (ATS) on 36 of 54 drop backs (67%). To say a day of fine pass protection was wasted would be an understatement. With ATS he was 22 of 36 for 202 yards 1 TD, 0 INT (5.6 YPP). That is a QB rating of 85.6 on what should be the cream of opportunities.
In 2010, Flacco’s QB rating was 113.1 on the 43% of his drop backs with ATS. So far in 2011 he’s had much more frequent ATS (54%), but his QB rating on those opportunities has gone down to 88.3. Without ATS, Flacco was 8 of 17 for 54 yards 0/1 with a sack for -8 (2.6 YPP).
McKinnie: Bryant drew Chris Clemons, the Seahawks’ best pass rusher, for the majority of snaps. Clemons anticipated the snap well and kept McKinnie off balance. He had 3 negative pass blocking events. Clemons split a double team from Grubbs and McKinnie to knock down Flacco (Q3, 10:18). McKinnie gave ground in the pocket to ward off Clemons, but was off balance and allowed the Seahawks end to beat him inside for a QH (Q4, 12:11). He was bulled straight back to pressure Flacco on a pass that went incomplete to Dickson (Q4, 6:39). The Ravens ran the ball on the game’s first 4 plays from scrimmage. After allowing Bryant to slide off his shoulder for the tackle on Rice’s run right, he made a block in level 2 and a pancake on the 2 end arounds then had another block in level 2 on the following play. Scoring: 60 blocks, 3 missed, 1 pressure, 1.5 QH, 53.5 points (.81 per play). This is a case where the score is close to my subjective view.
Grubbs: Aside from the aforementioned shared QH with McKinnie, Grubbs did not make any serious mistakes. He made a very nice block on the Screen pass to Rice (Q3, 3:59). He was not used to pull. While he made 2 blocks in level 2, I can’t point to any devastating run blocks. He, like the rest of the line, was very effective against pressure that was largely straightforward, but he played a key role in picking up the overload blitz left on Flacco’s TD pass to Dickson (Q4, 5:57). On the TD pass, he handled Mebane, but didn’t give ground, which left the unassigned Wright with no lane to create pressure. Scoring: 64 blocks, 1 missed, 1/2 QH, 62.5 points (.95 per play).
Birk: Without some complexity of pass rush scheme, centers score well by my system. The Seahawks didn’t bring much delayed pressure, nor much of any pressure from other than their front 4. Matt avoided any pass-blocking errors and made level 2 blocks on both Reed’s end around (Q1, 12:28) and Rice’s 11-yard burst (Q2, 0:46). Scoring: 65 blocks, 1 missed (.99 per play).
Yanda: Marshal once again had no pass rush events allowed versus the Seahawks. He pulled successfully on all 3 attempts, had 2 blocks in level 2, and 1 pancake. Scoring: 65 blocks, 1 missed, 65 points (.99 per play).
Oher: Oher was bulled backwards by Hargrove to pressure Flacco on the Ravens’ first drive (Q1, 11:28). He had 3 other missed blocks in the passing game, but Flacco had the ball out before pressure developed on each of those. He missed 1 run block, but otherwise moved well and had 2 blocks in level 2. Scoring: 61 blocks, 2 missed, 1 pressure, 59 points (.89 per play). Michael is playing very well now. He has not been penalized in the last 3 games and only twice in the last 6. He has allowed just 1 sack and 1/3 QH in the last 5 games.
Reid: Jah entered for 3 jumbo formation snaps and made 2 blocks. Inexplicably, he did not report eligible on his first snap (Q1, 4:57). Just how much does Reid have to remember as a 6th lineman? There will always be someone eligible when he’s in and 90%+ of the time it will be him. Scoring: 2 blocks, 1 Illegal Substitution, -1 points (-.50 per play)
Other Offensive Notes:
• Malcolm Smith came delayed and untouched between the occupied McKinnie (Clemons) and Grubbs (Mebane) to register the Seahawks’ only sack (Q4, 9:01). It was a perfectly schemed and timed sack, so I didn’t charge it to a lineman. The line gave up just 2 other QHs, was not penalized, and the Ravens did not have a run for a loss. That’s a hell of a day, and the scores reflect the lack of errors.
• Despite his lack of total touches, Rice had some terrific individual efforts for YAC on screen passes. The best example was probably his 13-yard reception (-5 + 18 YAC) on the Ravens last TD drive (Q4, 7:16).
• The tall Seattle corners were effective and I believe their height cut down on the number of deep shots the Ravens took. This week the Ravens go from facing Sherman (6’3”) and Browner (6’4”) to Clements and Jennings who are both 5’11” and present a more typical set of challenges.
• Both of the consecutive end arounds were well blocked. Pitta threw the key block on Thomas to spring Smith for 16 yards (Q1, 12:54). Dickson then threw a solid seal on Wright to help Reed run right for 16 yards on the next play.
Maureen and I went to the game in Seattle and had the opportunity to speak with former Baltimore Colts' Stan White, who was on our flight.
One question that had bothered me for years about the ’75-’77 team was the game against Detroit in 1977.
If you recall, the Colts bolted to a 9-1 start that season then lost at Denver, lost at Miami, and came home to play Detroit on the next-to-last Sunday of the season. Miami and New England were both in contention to win the division, but New England’s best shot was a 3-way tie. The Colts lost at home to 5-7 Detroit on a very suspicious blocked punt in the closing seconds.
Had that play cost the Colts the division, we might refer to such a game-losing blunder as a “Marchibroda” or a “David Lee” rather than a “Joe Pisarcik”. However, the loss may have improved the Colts chances. New England was officially eliminated before the Colts and Patriots took the field at 4 PM the next Sunday. The Colts then staged one of the great comebacks of the Bert Jones era to beat the Patriots and make the playoffs 30-24 in the game that featured the quick whistle on Bert’s fumble.
Marchibroda denied the blocked punt against the Lions was intentional at the time, but I had always been skeptical. Stan White painted a much more credible and complete picture, however. He said only he and long-snapper Forrest Blue knew that the Colts weren’t eliminated by the loss. He says he is the one who told Marchibroda in the clubhouse and by his reaction knew the block had not been planned.
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