Talk about history repeating itself.
In last year’s week 16 game (12/26/10), the Ravens and Browns played a very similar game. In Cleveland that day, the Ravens benefited from a number of Browns’ miscues to win 20-10. Here’s a link:
On Sunday, the Ravens faced a Browns team that:
• Exercised awful clock management at the end of the 2nd quarter
• Used all 6 timeouts used on offense
• Lollygagged their way through a drive beginning with 6:50 to go in the game which assured that it would be their only shot
• Committed 2 false start penalties
• Dropped several passes
• Committed a critical encroachment penalty to surrender a first down on 4th and 2 which denied them a last chance to get the football
The Ravens played well enough to win, but failed to put away a reeling team and let them back in the game with a punt-coverage breakdown and 13 yards of 4th quarter offense with an interception.
All of the Browns 60 snaps were competitive.
Versus the Run: 25 plays, 117 yards, 4.7 YPC
Versus the Pass: 35 plays, 139 yards, 4.0 YPP
Overall: 60 plays, 256 yards, 4.3 YPPA
By number of defensive backs:
3 DBs: 1 play, 1 yard, 1.0 YPPA
4 DBs: 25/115, 4.6 YPPA
5 DBs: 32/148, 4.6 YPPA
6 DBs: 2/-8, -4.0 YPPA
By number of pass rushers:
4: 20/90, 4.5 YPP
5: 11/48, 4.4 YPP
The Browns weren’t able to attack any particular pass defense or pass rush with success that stood out. All 60 snaps were competitive.
• The return of Lardarius Webb was the most welcome result of this game. He had 4 passes defensed, including his 5th interception. Webb had a game where he continually made the most of his opportunities. When he had the shot at the pick, he undercut Massaqoui (Q1, 10:21). When he was too late for the pick, he got his hands on the football and caused a PD (Q2, 8:14 and Q3, 10:24). When too late to impact the flight of the ball, he delivered a hit that dislodged the ball (Q3, 11:35). When he couldn’t do any of those things he made sure tackles (Q1, 15:00 and Q1, 0:52) that held opponents to 0 YAC for the day. Webb still allowed 0 TDs this season with 5 INTs. Opponents have QB rating of 53.7 throwing to his assignments. He’s fully deserving of a Pro Bowl selection.
• Jimmy Smith had a solid game at the other corner as well. He and Reed had good coverage on Massaquoi (Q1, 7:44) down the right sideline as Wallace’s 40-yard throw went incomplete. Jimmy defended the sticks well vs. Massaquoi (Q1, 7:00) by the right sidelines. Wallace’s throw went to the outside and Massaquoi made a diving grab by the right sidelines, but Smith touched up 2 yards short of a first down. Smith was soft on Little (Q2, 2:45) and allowed a 12-yard catch. He recorded a diving PD versus Cribbs by the right sideline (Q2, 2:10). He was soft on Mitchell (Q3, 12:20), but came up quickly to make a sure tackle which held the gain to 6. He again had good coverage by the right sideline on Little when Wallace tossed the ball just out of bounds (Q4, 13:32). He just missed a diving PD by the right sideline covering Mitchell (Q4, 13:26) on what was an excellent gamble. Mitchell made the catch behind him, but was headed out of bounds for a gain of just 6. Jimmy undercut Hillis for a gain of just 2 on his run right (Q4, 13:00). His PD in coverage of Massaquoi (Q4, 4:59) was negated when the Ravens accepted a holding penalty.
• Chris Carr got his first significant playing time since Seattle with 24 snaps. Not included in that total was the 30-yard pass interference against Cribbs that Carr committed with an arm bar. Each team had their longest play of the day as a result of pass interference call (Smith induced a 60-yard call on Adams which was the longest such flag I can ever recall). It appeared that Carr did not trust himself to stay with Cribbs despite good position by the sideline. Carr was otherwise targeted just twice for a 5-yard completion to Cribbs and a drop by Mitchell at a similar distance. For the season, he’s now allowed 13 catches on 17 targets, has been penalized twice for pass interference, and has been credited with 1 PD. He has been outplayed by Danny Gorrer who has been inactive the last 2 weeks.
• Suggs didn’t have much success versus Joe Thomas as a pass rusher, but he contributed a variety of splash plays. He took down Hillis for a loss of 1 (Q2, 3:21). His leap on the screen pass to Hillis (Q3, 10:18) may have impacted the trajectory of the ball and he then recovered to take down Peyton for no gain. He worked off Thomas to put a vice grip on Hillis’ ankles for a loss of 1 (Q4, 9:20). Suggs had a QH on a stunt through the left A gap (Q2, 1:51). He also stunted from the right to flush Wallace on his touchdown pass (Q4, 8:30). He played every snap.
• Cory Redding was inactive which left the Ravens with just 6 active linemen (not including Kruger). The snap counts were again concentrated: Cody 28, Jones 20, Kruger 19, McKinney 21, McPhee 20, Ngata 56, Suggs 60. Ngata has now played 109 of the Ravens last 120 defensive snaps (91%, excludes penalties) which is too much for any interior lineman. With the workload given to their stars, it’s fortunate the Ravens did not play a game with even more defensive snaps.
• The Ravens missed Redding’s stout run defense. They were gashed by Peyton Hillis who had 10 runs of 5+ yards and 4 of 11+. He repeatedly dragged linebackers several extra yards and had all 24 of the Browns designed carries (Wallace also scrambled once for 5 yards).
• The Ravens played 2 snaps of dime and recorded both of their sacks on those plays. The Ravens was vanilla for most of the game, but Wallace did not run for any first downs, was held to 4.0 yard per pass play, and had only 2 pass plays in excess of 12 yards (23-yard completion to Cribbs and Carr’s pass interference). With the Browns 3rd and 5 on what would be their last possession, the Ravens brought 7 (their only rush of more than 5 all game) and the Browns kept in just the linemen to block. Under pressure, Wallace underthrew HIllis to the right. The Ravens would stop the Browns on 4th and 5 on the very next play. While sacks and pressure are a mess of fun to watch, the game plan was well suited to the opponent.
• Wallace made some good throws on the run which I don’t believe have predictive consequences for the Ravens. He was pressured right before hitting Moore for and 11-yard gain (Q1, 12:55). On the Browns lone offensive TD (Q4, 8:30) he was flushed right and threaded his throw to Moore who was bracketed by Reed and Pollard.
• While hustling to chase down Wallace (Q2, 8:10), Pernell McPhee collided with Cary Williams which caused the cornerback’s concussion. That was a scary collision, but he almost hit Jimmy Smith in a similar manner (Q4, 10:43) when chasing down Hillis. McPhee didn’t create much pressure on the day, but the officials missed a flagrant hold (Q2, 8:17) by Pashos.