ReFo: Falcons @ Ravens, Week 7
The biggest question heading into this game was how was the banged-up Falcons offensive line going to hold up against the Ravens’ ferocious defensive line. Once Peter Konz was carted off after just 10 snaps, the Atlanta line was completely outclassed talent wise.
Down early, the Falcons resorted to screens and extra blockers to try and mitigate the problem, keeping extra blockers in on 32 of 50 pass plays. Whenever they got into obvious passing situations, though, the three-headed monster of Elvis Dumervil, Pernell McPhee, and Terrell Suggs ate them up as those three combined for 20 pressures and a pass rushing grade of +9.8.
The win moves the Ravens to 5-2 and into first place in the AFC North as they travel to Cincinnati next week. The loss makes four straight for Atlanta, who surprisingly still have some hopes within the division. They’ll need to see some serious improvement on the offensive line to contend, though, as they can’t sustain a consistent passing offense with it at the moment.
Atlanta Falcons – Performances of Note
Jake Matthews, LT: -9.0
Breakdown: It’s getting to the point where some sort of changes need to be made to help out Matthews and preserve his and Matt Ryan’s confidence. Matthews got absolutely no movement in the running game, where he twice got stood up in his tracks simply trying to downblock Haloti Ngata. The most discouraging thing, though, is that Matthews continues to make mental errors. He botched multiple stunts, completely whiffed on cut block, and committed two penalties for the third straight week.
Signature Stat: Atlanta running backs combined for 22 yards on nine carries on runs to the left of center.
Jonathan Massaquoi, DE: +6.9
Breakdown: Working against a struggling tackle for the second straight week, Massaquoi posted another career game. The third-year player is finally coming into his own and was far too athletic for left tackle James Hurst. He tallied three hits and two hurries on the day and also forced three separate holding penalties. Not only was his +4.3 pass rushing grade the highest of his career, but Massaquoi’s +1.9 run defense grade was the second-highest of his career. After a season high 52 snaps on Sunday, it’s gotten to the point where the Falcons need to scrap any thoughts of keeping Massaquoi as a rotational player that he was earlier in the season.
Signature Play: Massaquoi put on a display as a pass rusher, but the play that sticks out in my mind came with 10:48 left in the fourth quarter. On that play, the Ravens ran a toss left, and Massaquoi got such a good jump off the line of scrimmage that he rendered Steve Smith’s attempt to crack block him useless and brought down the runningback for a 5-yard loss.
Robert Alford, CB: +1.6
Breakdown: Alford was his normal inconsistent self against the Ravens receivers Sunday. He made two spectacular interceptions that were ultimately offset by multiple coverage deficiencies. Alford allowed three catches on four targets into his primary coverage for 70 yards and one garbage time touchdown.
Signature Plays: On the first play of the second quarter, Alford played Torrey Smith’s go route with absolute textbook coverage. Bailing from a press position to cover 3, Alford stayed over the top of Smith and used his leverage to pin the receiver against the sideline before locating the ball and making the pick. It’s amazing that it was the same player that, on the Ravens’ third play from scrimmage, let Smith get over the top of him, failed to locate the underthrown pass, and ultimately had a 36-yard pass interference called against him.
Baltimore Ravens – Performances of Note
Daryl Smith, ILB: +4.8
Breakdown: Up until this week Smith had been showing his age a bit this season, performing a step behind the dominant coverage linebacker we saw a year ago. Against the Falcons, however, he showed he can still move sideline-to-sideline with the best of them. The Falcons’ running scheme heavily featured pulling linemen and time after time Smith got to the point of attack before the linemen could. In coverage, Smith kept his four targets in front of him and allowed just three catches for 11 yards.
Signature Stat: Smith’s six stops were his most in a game since week 10 of last season.
James Hurst, LT: -6.9
Breakdown: It looks like Eugene Monroe will finally be back next week and Ravens fans everywhere can let out a sigh of relief. In his four-game stint, Hurst performed about how you’d expect an undrafted rookie to perform at left tackle, which is to say not well. On Sunday he was beaten for two pressures, but was also flagged three times for holding. His holds were almost preferable, as the speed with which Hurst was getting beat from the blindside would have put Flacco in some precarious positions.
Signature Play: Late in the first quarter (Q1-1:26) Hurst completely whiffed on Massaquoi, without any sort of pass rushing move from the Falcons’ defensive end, before he took Flacco to the ground.
Justin Forsett, RB: +1.5
Breakdown: Purely looking at the statistics, one could reasonably assume Forsett had a down game. His 95 yards on 23 carries comes out to 4.1 yards per carry, a considerably lower mark than his season average of 5.8. Sunday was the first game all season, though, that the Ravens graded out negatively as a team run blocking (-2.1). The most impressive part of Forsett’s game on Sunday was his decisiveness. He consistently made one cut and got upfield even if it meant grinding out a short gain.
Signature Stat: 51 of Forsett’s 95 yards came after contact.
PFF Game Ball
Daryl Smith was constantly around the ball and epitomized the Ravens’ defensive domination with his stellar work in all three defensive phases.
Follow Mike on Twitter: @PFF_MikeRenner