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Ravens News 9/22: Pass Rush results and more

Baltimore Ravens v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

NFL overreactions, Week 2: Aaron Rodgers lock to win MVP? - Brandon Mendoza

Ravens are only competitive with No. 8

Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ offense, points, points, points. We get it. They’re phenomenal, transcendent even. But can the defense get some credit, too?

Baltimore’s D hasn’t allowed 25 or more points in 14 consecutive games and has at least one takeaway in 15 straight games, which are both the longest active streaks in the NFL. And since we love scoring so much, how about a little love for the unit that has an NFL-best seven defensive touchdowns since 2019?

There’s no question Lamar remains the face of the franchise, but the Ravens don’t become only the fifth team since 1985 to win at least five consecutive regular-season games by 16 or more points without a talented group on the other side of the ball.

DEFENSIVE NOTES WEEK 2 BALTIMORE RAVENS @ HOUSTON TEXANS - Ken McKusick

PASS RUSH

The Ravens had their hands full dealing with Watson’s mobility in the first half. However, as the Texans were forced to commit themselves to the pass in the second half, Martindale was able to dial up his scheme to produce more pressure.

Watson had Ample Time and Space (ATS) on 9 of 39 drop backs (23%) which is low, but that included just 3 of 19 (16%) after halftime. On 11 occasions, Watson threw a pass before the rush had a chance to develop (ball out quick or BOQ), so the Ravens had 19 pressure events among 39 drop backs.

Summarizing by number of pass rushers:

3 or fewer: 1 play, 9 yards. This was a 2-man rush (Q2, 0:16).

4: 21 plays, 139 yards, 6.6 YPP, 2 sacks, 1 TO

5: 15 plays, 109 yards, 7.3 YPP, 1 sack, 1 TO

6: 2 plays, -3 yards, -1.5 YPP, sack

7+: None

Total: 39 plays, 254 yards, 6.5 YPP, 4 sacks, 2 TO

Martindale sent 13 individual blitzes from off the LoS, including 4 by Humphrey from SCB. With fewer blitzes, the Ravens stunted on 6 plays which resulted in a sack and 4 other QHs. I’ve been intrigued by the Ravens ability to stunt with their offseason acquisitions, but now the Ravens have provided some concrete results.

The Ravens also dropped 2+ defenders from the LoS to cover on 10 occasions. Of those, 6 were deceptive because they added another element (stunt or blitz). On those deceptive rushes, the Texans gained just 21 yards.

The yards per pass may seem unspectacular by Ravens standards, but considering the quiet environment and Watson’s 100.2 career passer rating, they were well above my expectation.

Baltimore Ravens snap count analysis: Jimmy Smith takes on extra work, adjusted rotations and more - Aaron Kasinitz

Different game, different rotations

A handful of the differences in playing time distribution from Week 1 to 2 show how the Ravens can reconfigure their approach depending on their opponent and a particular situation.

In a season-opening win against the Browns, for instance, leading receiver Mark Andrews saw the field more than blocking specialist Nick Boyle at tight end. But Sunday, when Baltimore decided to recommit to a power running game in the second half, Boyle (51 offensive snaps) held a larger role than Andrews (38).

On defense, the Ravens adjusted their snap numbers to combat a Texans offense which likes to spread out and fling the ball around the field. Defensive tackles Broderick Washington (28 defensive snaps to 3) and Justin Ellis (21 to 10) saw steep declines in playing time Sunday, while safety Anthony Levine (1 to 10) took the field more often in Week 2.

What the Texans Said After Ravens’ Win - Ryan Mink

DE J.J. Watt

On the Texans’ run defense:

“Yeah, I thought we did a pretty good job early on in the game with the run defense and we were doing some things that we wanted to do, and obviously in the fourth quarter we didn’t. In the fourth quarter we didn’t stop the run. We gave up some big runs. The 4–and-one we gave up the touchdown, and then we gave up the long one there. That obviously isn’t going to help the run defense or the stats or anything. So got to be able to finish the game, not just start it.”

Ranking the most impactful injuries of NFL Week 2: Nick Bosa, Saquon Barkley, Drew Lock and more - Bill Barnwell

8. Tavon Young, CB, Baltimore Ravens

Injury: Knee

While we don’t have the specifics, coach John Harbaugh suggested after the game that his slot cornerback had suffered a season-ending knee injury. If that’s true, the Ravens will lose Young for a second straight season, after the 26-year-old missed all of 2019 with a neck injury. Young will have played just one full game since signing a three-year, $25.8 million extension before the 2019 campaign.

He has no more guaranteed money remaining on that deal after the 2020 season, so Baltimore could cut him and create $3 million in cap space if so inclined. The good news for the Temple product is that Young seemed to be fully recovered from his neck injury before suffering this knee injury. A pay cut might be a compromise both sides find reasonable — he looked to be one of the league’s best slot cornerbacks before dealing with the neck and knee injuries.

The good news for the Ravens is that they were arguably the NFL’s deepest team at cornerback before Young’s injury. Veteran corner Jimmy Smith was running as the team’s fourth corner while dealing with back spasms in Week 1, but he could step in as the third cornerback. Smith is not going to play in the slot, but star corner Marlon Humphrey is capable of playing both inside and outside. The Ravens also have Anthony Averett in reserve and a pair of corners on their practice squad.