ReFo: Ravens @ Dolphins, Week 5
The tone for this game was set on the very first drive. Faced with a 2nd-and-1, the Dolphins handed the ball off twice to Lamar Miller and he was stoned both times by Haloti Ngata and the Ravens’ defensive front. From the beginning to the end, defensive lines dominated the game. The Dolphins averaged 2.2 yards per designed run, while the Ravens averaged 3.2. The Ravens had 19 hurries and the Dolphins had 28. With the game on the line it was a sack from Elvis Dumervil that would push the Dolphins out of makeable field goal territory and give the Ravens the 26-23 win.
Baltimore – Three Performances of Note
Pressure When it Counts
The Dolphins’ defensive line may have been able to generate more pressures, but it was the Ravens’ defensive line that got to the quarterback when it mattered most. On the last drive of the game, the Ravens were able to pressure Ryan Tannehill on four of his six drop-backs. Dumervil (+2.2), Chris Canty (+1.0), and Pernell McPhee (+1.6) were all able to get pressure on Tannehill that last drive and all had multiple pressures in the game. It was a common theme that when the Ravens needed their pass rush, the pass rush delivered. The Ravens got pressure on six of 15 third downs including three sacks, while the third downs they didn’t get pressure on had a speedy average time to throw of 2 seconds.
Get Monroe Up to Speed
Bryant McKinnie’s (-5.4) lame-duck performance went about as one would expect from the often criticized veteran left tackle. McKinnie did nothing to disprove his reputation for being lazy, as he barely even tried to put up a fight for his job. The Ravens ran the ball 13 times into McKinnie’s gaps and they came away with a total of 23 yards. McKinnie also gave up six pressures in 37 pass blocking snaps. The same play-to-the-whistle mentality of Marshal Yanda could not be found in the 12th-year left tackle, as he was regularly caught standing upright if he thought a run had passed him or a play had been made. McKinnie is now ranked 59th out of 61 tackles and it looks like his days starting at left tackle are probably up.
Still Looking for Answers on the Ground
The Ravens ground game has been absolutely dreadful this season. They are 31st in yards per carry at 2.8 and, unsurprisingly, have the second-worst team run blocking grade, in front of only the Jaguars. While the offensive line deficiencies have been obvious (see Eugene Monroe trade), the running backs have been shadows of their playoff selves. Sunday was no different. Both Ray Rice (-2.0) and Bernard Pierce (-1.8) fumbled against the Dolphins and neither was able to break a tackle. Pierce was frequently indecisive and stuttered when his initial point of attack was closed and in turn was unable to find ulterior running lanes before defenders arrived. Rice has been more decisive in his cuts than Pierce, it’s just that he’s gone down extremely easily this season — his 10.7 elusive rating is 24th out of 27 qualifying running backs (Pierce’s is 25.6, and Adrian Peterson’s is 87.8 for comparison). There were multiple times on Sunday where he was unable to maintain balance through a hole even when there was no defender making a serious tackle attempt, just bodies. He averaged just 1.3 yards after contact and is averaging 1.58 on the season.
Miami – Three Performances of Note
Randy Starks (+7.7), Jared Odrick (+4.4), and Paul Soliai (+3.3) are quickly becoming one of the fiercest defensive tackle rotations in the NFL. They’re currently PFF’s 7th-, 10th-, and 8th-highest graded defensive tackles and they certainly looked the part against the Ravens. The trio combined for 11 pressures and seven run stops while Odrick added a batted pass. While Starks and Soliai have had great seasons in the past, Odrick’s much improved play has come out of nowhere. Odrick was a first-round pick in 2010, but was inconsistent as a 3-4 and terrible as a 4-3 end. The Penn State product appears to be much better suited rushing from the tackle position in a 4-3 and is on pace to triple his pressure total from last season. Odrick’s played inside the tackles on 96% of his snaps this season compared to less than 50% last season and the difference has been night and day.
No Help For Tannehill
Sunday’s game must have been frustrating for Ryan Tannehill (+4.7). Drive after drive was halted by sacks, pressures, and/or dropped passes. It wasn’t just that Miami’s offensive line was getting beaten — it’s that they were losing immediately. The Dolphins’ quarterback faced pressure on 17 of his 46 drop-backs, but the average pressure came in just 2.3 seconds. To give some context, the average time to throw in the NFL this season is just under 2.8 seconds and only 37% of passes have been thrown in less than 2.3 seconds.
To go along with three third-down sacks, the Dolphins also had two third-down drops. Both drops came in Baltimore territory, the most notable being Mike Wallace’s late in the first quarter. Wallace broke wide open at the Baltimore 6-yard line after middle linebacker Daryl Smith bit on motion to the flat. The throw was slightly behind Wallace, but it was one he had to bring in and it led to the Dolphins settling for a field goal.
Not the Same Clabo
Five games in and it’s probably safe to say that right tackle Tyson Clabo has lost a step. The perennial Top 10 tackle is ranked 53rd of 61 tackles after Sunday, with a grade of -8.8. He was continually beaten every which way by the Ravens’ edge rushers. Four of the seven times he was beaten came via the inside move, while two were from bull rushes and one from a speed rush. Clabo has now graded below -0.5 in pass blocking four out the Dolphins’ five games this season. That ties his high season since PFF has been grading games.
– Olivier Vernon’s sack in the second quarter with 6:57 remaining was a great example of how sacks can be misleading. Vernon was the only one of four down-linemen not to get initial pressure, but got the sack when Flacco was forced to scramble to his left directly into Vernon.
– Brent Grimes allowed 99 yards in coverage, his most in a game since 2010.
– Terrell Suggs didn’t register a single pressure outside of his three sacks.
– A.Q. Shipley came in at left guard for Kelechi Osemele on the seventh offensive play and had the worst grade of any player in the game, at -7.6.
Lardarius Webb was the anchor for an overall shaky secondary on Sunday and his play was worthy of a game ball. He was targeted nine times and yielded four catches for 33 yards to go along with a pass defensed.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner