ReFo: Panthers @ Ravens, Week 4
The Ravens beat the Panthers and Steve Smith was very happy to be on the winning side. John Breitenbach looks at some of the reasons for the blowout scoreline.
ReFo: Panthers @ Ravens, Week 4
The scoreline suggests a blowout and, although the Ravens benefited from some fortune early in the game, they thoroughly deserved this victory. Their fortune came on two touchdown plays. The first was an overthrown pass for the tight end which he was able to get a hand to, only to see the deflection bounce into the waiting arms of Steve Smith who used his momentum to fly past the safety. The second was another Steve Smith touchdown, but this time Joe Flacco fumbled the snap but quickly recovered and threw a dart to the former Panther. Fortuitous yes, but Flacco’s throw still had to be made just the same as Smith’s catch. Once the Ravens took the lead they were able to overpower the Panthers’ offensive line and the result was a formality. Let’s take a look at some individual performances.
Carolina – Three Performances of Note
Byron Bell, LT: -5.5 and Nate Chandler, RT: -6.1
Breakdown: The Ravens boast a good group of outside pass rushers in Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil and Pernell McPhee, but this was a pitiful effort from the Panthers’ starting tackles. They combined to give up three sacks, three hits and five hurries in 71 dropbacks. They both graded equally poorly in pass protection with -5.1 grades. Their run blocking also left a lot to be desired as they graded at a combined -1.9. Chandler in particular struggled recording a -1.2 grade struggling with Haloti Ngata.
Signature Play: With the Panthers driving to get back in the game inside two minutes in the first half (1.48) Carolina’s tackles conspire to be beaten with ease to the outside allowing Dumervil and Suggs to meet at the quarterback.
Darrin Reaves, HB: -3.7 and Tauren Poole, HB: -1.7
Breakdown: The Panthers can’t do much about their injury crisis at running back but the loss of DeAngelo Williams certainly made it difficult for them in this one. Darrin Reaves, a 2014 undrafted free agent out of Alabama-Birmingham, struggled in a number of ways Sunday. As with many running backs coming from college he’ll need to do a lot of work on his pass protection. The stat sheet reads just the solitary hurry, but Reaves was also beaten for a pressure that was negated by penalty and made a poor block on another occasion only to be saved by Cam Newton’s quick release. As for running the football, Reaves managed just 26 yards on 12 carries and failed to force any missed tackles. Poole meanwhile was given one snap, fumbled and wasn’t seen again.
Signature Play: Reaves’ day in pass protection ca be summed up by his attempted block on Darian Stewart with 6.17 to play in the third quarter. An obvious case of must do better.
Kawann Short, DT: +2.5
Breakdown: One of the few Panthers to come out of the game with their reputation enhanced, Short continued his excellent start to the season with his fourth green-graded game in a row. Kelechi Osemele is a very good player, but Short won his fair share of battles particularly in the run game. Overall he recorded a pair of defensive stops as well as three more tackles. The stat sheet shows nothing as a pass rusher, but he did beat Osemele early in the day with a nice bulrush which wasn’t quite there in time to record pressure.
Signature Stat: Short currently ranks third amongst defensive tackles in run stop percentage, bringing the runner down on 14.6% of snaps.
Baltimore – Three Performances of Note
James Hurst, LT: -1.9
Breakdown: With Eugene Monroe out, Hurst (an undrafted free agent this year out of North Carolina) got an opportunity to show what he could do. Overall it wasn’t a great day, particularly in the run game, but Hurst didn’t look out of his depth against an excellent front seven. Although he didn’t give up any pressure itself he was beaten quickly on a couple of occasions resulting in checkdowns by his quarterback. Still it wasn’t a bad day for him (-0.5) on 33 dropbacks. As a run blocker (-1.6) he gave up four tackles around the line of scrimmage and he’ll hope to improve on that going forward.
Signature Play: At 13.57 in the second quarter, Hurst was beaten inside by Short resulting in a tackle for short gain.
CJ Mosley, ILB: +6.1
Breakdown: Possibly a coming of age game for Mosley? The former Alabama linebacker put in mixed outings in his first three games, but this was a phenomenal performance. A +6.1 grade for an inside .linebacker is outstanding. He predominantly stood out as a run defender, recording an impressive seven defensive stops in just 29 run snaps. As a pass rusher Mosley also recorded a batted pass and had a pressure negated by penalty. Finally in coverage he allowed 3-of-4 targets for 19 yards, only one of which resulted in a first down and that was deep into garbage time.
Signature Stat: Mosley is currently first amongst inside linebackers in Run Stop Percentage (14.9%) having recorded a league leading 14 defensive stops.
Pernell McPhee, ROLB: +5.1
Breakdown: Although McPhee might have played the majority of his snaps at outside linebacker he can line up anywhere for the Ravens and is a menace wherever they put him. The majority of McPhee’s grade came as a pass rusher where he recorded a hit and five hurries on 28 snaps. That’s just the official stat line too, as he beat another three blocks only to see the pass come out quickly. It was a positive game for McPhee as a run defender too as he recorded a stop and influenced a number of other plays 15 snaps.
Signature Stat: McPhee is currently seventh in pass rush productivity (10.6) amongst 3-4 outside linebackers.
PFF Game Ball
CJ Mosley earns the game ball after a very impressive performance in his just fourth NFL game.
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