The Envelope Please…Defensive Notes vs. Colts 12/11/11

For a defensive laugher, the Ravens forgot a lot of punch lines.

The Ravens dominated by most measures, yet went 0 for 3 recovering the fumbles they forced and left some interceptions on the field. While it was good to see some of the young players get a chance on the final drive, it was disappointing to see the Ravens render their own pass rush impotent by playing so soft on the corners. That led to the only touchdown allowed.

I’ve got more detail on Terrell Suggs below, but just where does he stand for Defensive Player of the Year at this point? He is peaking at the right time, but he still needs a strong finish to be the obvious selection. As I see it, there are 5 other significant competitors:

DeMarcus Ware (Pros: Been in the discussion longer, similar sack/QH stats to Suggs, Cons: Injury, borderline playoff team, not as good turnover stats)
Justin Smith (Pros: Best player on a great defense, balanced run/pass defender, Cons: Stats don’t convey dominance well, may split attention with Willis)
Patrick Willis (Pros: Recognized as best ILB in the game, great defense, Cons: Injury, limited turnover stats)
Darrelle Revis (Pros: 42.6 QB rating on his coverage assignments, good defensive team, Cons: Thrown at a lot for a great corner, season has not been as head-and-shoulders above all other corners as in past when he didn’t win it)
Von Miller (Pros: The actual fuel to the Tebow miracle, outstanding run defender and pass rusher, Cons: Rookie, shares spotlight with Tebow, borderline playoff team)

I’ll take some heat for leaving Jared Allen off this list. He’s an outstanding pass rusher and a pretty decent run defender as well, but I doubt he’ll win the award even if he sets the sack record because of Vikings’ season.

The Colts had just 55 offensive snaps (excluding the 2 spikes):


Versus the Run: 16 plays, 50 yards, 3.1 YPC
Versus the Pass: 39 plays, 117 yards, 2.9 YPP
Overall: 55 plays, 167 yards, 3.0 YPPA

By number of defensive backs:

3 DBs: 1 play, -2 yards, -2.0 YPPA
4 DBs: 14/37, 2.6 YPPA, 2 sacks
5 DBs: 39/132 3.4 YPPA, 2 sacks, 1 TO
6 DBs: 1/0

By number of pass rushers:

3: 2/17, 8.5 YPP
4: 26/64, 2.5 YPP, 3 sacks
5: 7/24, 3.4 YPP, 1 sack, 1 TO
6: 4/12, 3.0 YPP

Individual Notes:

Suggs had another off-the-charts game. Let’s review:

• He beat Costonzo for a strip (Q2, 9:58). Since the ball was simply dislodged with Orlovsky still standing, this was a rare case where a sack is awarded without a QH.
• As he was being pancaked by Hill, he drove Brown’s run inside to hold his gain to 2 (Q2, 3:56).
• He caught Brown for a 6-yard loss on the ill-advised screen pass to end the first half (Q2, 0:31).
• He made the initial penetration and contact on Carter, spun him, and while he missed the tackle, Ngata also had penetration and McClain finished for a loss of 2 (Q3, 9:53).
• He again beat Costonzo outside to drop Orlovsky as he forced his 2nd fumble (Q3, 3:34).
• He was past Costonzo on the inside for what might have been another sack when the Colts LT tackled him from behind for a hold flagged immediately by 2 officials (Q3, 2:21). The 3rd and 13 pass went incomplete, so the penalty was declined. It was amusing to see that Suggs was one of the last players off the field and looked as if he wanted the penalty accepted.
• Terrell set up at LDE and rushed outside against Linkenbach (Q4, 12:35). He was able to reach out and touch Orlovsky from the edge which must have felt like a touch of death to Dan, who quickly threw the ball away.
• Suggs beat Costonzo inside to take down Orlovsky as he again stripped the ball (Q4, 8:34).
• He pushed Linkenbach back towards the still-winless Orlovsky then broke off to push down Dan just after he grounded the ball at the feet of Addai (Q4, 7:22).
• He sat out the entire last series for Kindle, so he accomplished all of the above in a game where he was on the field for just 41 non-penalty snaps.

• Kindle was active for only the 2nd time all season. He played a snap that normally would have gone to Kruger (Q3, 2:21) and was on the field for entire last drive. He had little chance to develop a pass rush with quick drops/short throws. The Ravens had to make room for Sergio Kindle by listing McKinney, Doss, Laquan Williams, and Chavis Williams inactive. As far as I know they were all healthy scratches based on this week’s injury reports.

• Cody needs more special penetration plays, but he blew up 2 running plays Sunday. He drove back Saturday to stack up Carter’s 2-yard loss (Q2, 8:09) on which Johnson cleaned up. He also stayed with Saturday to take down Brown for a gain of 3 (Q2, 6:41).

• Since allowing 78 offensive snaps by the Bengals in the first game without Lewis, the Ravens have held their last 3 opponents to 55 or fewer competitive snaps. In part, the re-emergence of the running game has shortened games as has the strength of the defense and offensive weakness of the opponents.

• Despite the deactivation of McKinney, the Ravens defensive line enters the game at San Diego well rested. The snap counts by player were: Cody 19, Jones 23, Kruger 30, McPhee 30, Ngata 33, Redding 21, Suggs 41. The Chargers are a team capable of keeping the Ravens on the field for many more snaps.

• The Ravens pass rush was unremarkable and featured much less in the way of deception than in recent weeks. Nonetheless, they sacked Orlovsky 3 times with a 4-man rush and once with 5 rushing. For the season, they have now sacked opposing QBs on 11.9% of 5-man rushes, 8.5% with 4 men, and 12.5% (3 for 24) with 3 men.

• McClain led the team in tackles and looked good in coverage until the last play of the game. He covered Dallas Clark on an incomplete pass (Q1, 15:00). The very next (Q1, 14:57) play he took down Garcon immediately after the catch for a gain of 4. He added a PD in coverage of Clark at the 1-yard line (Q2, 3:15) to force the Colts to settle for a FG. On the game’s final play he appeared to have underneath responsibility for Tamme who made the catch for the Colts’ only TD.

• The Ravens played just 1 snap of dime (Q1, 8:14) with Nakamura. They have still played just 16 dime snaps all season.

• Even when protecting a big lead, the Ravens played nickel for the final drive. I’m not concerned about that drive. The Ravens inserted Gorrer and Brown at corner, replacing Smith and Webb. Cary Williams also remained in the game and all 3 played very soft as Orlovsky completed a series of short passes primarily from a 3-step drop. The Ravens used a 4-man pass rush on 7 of those 10 plays which had no chance to generate pressure.

• Orlovsky threw at Jimmy Smith’s assignment 4 times. All went incomplete including a PD (Q2, 15:00) in coverage of Garcon.

• Cary Williams had tough assignments for most of the game and played well. He was targeted 7 times with 3 receptions and 2 PDs. Each of the PDs had potential to be an INT, but was not converted. He was penalized for illegal hands to the face to wipe out an incomplete pass on a PD by McPhee. The Colts did much to beat themselves with one of the best examples being a throw just short of the first down (Q3, 9:07) to Wayne on which the receiver did not show good marker awareness.

For more on this game and archived content, please visit:

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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