Friday, April 01, 2011

Ravens find "greatest success" running behind Yanda

Ravens Ran Left, But Gained More To Right


By Joe Platania

March 30, 2011

A few statistical tidbits to help bide your time during the lockout:

- Despite Michael Oher’s struggles at left tackle, the Ravens ran the ball over left tackle a league-high 96 times last year. They also led the league in running over left guard, which they did 103 times over Pro Bowl alternate Ben Grubbs. But they had their greatest success going behind right tackle Marshal Yanda (4.81 yards per carry, seventh in the league).

- As far as opposing running games are concerned, they had their best gains against the Ravens when running over left tackle, gaining 4.34 yards per carry. But their worst numbers came behind left guard (3.13), as the Ravens’ huge defensive tackles came more into the picture.

- Even though the Ravens’ deep passing game was nonexistent for the most part, last year’s team was ninth in the league in average gain on passes to the deep left sideline (12.51 yards per attempt). Not only that, Joe Flacco’s 46.3% completion rate to that direction was fifth in the NFL.

- However, the deep left was also the Achilles heel for the Ravens’ pass defense, as it allowed 14.44 yards per completion (second-worst in the league) and 44.4% completions in that sector (seventh-worst).

- Most fans are aware that wideout Derrick Mason’s streak of 138 straight games played is second among NFL receivers to Reggie Wayne (150). But in a bit of a surprise, given how the quarterback position is perceived as being devoid of harm, Joe Flacco’s 48-game streak -- covering every possible regular-season game of his career -- is the fourth-longest active streak at that position. Peyton Manning leads at 208.

- Linebacker Jarret Johnson’s 113-game streak is the new franchise record, and it is also the longest among AFC players at his position. The only players ahead of him with active streaks are Washington’s London Fletcher (208), Dallas’ Keith Brooking (160) and the Cowboys’ Bradie James (126).

- Among centers, Matt Birk has played in 80 straight games, ironically tied for fifth with St. Louis Rams starter and former Raven draft pick Jason Brown. Kansas City’s Casey Wiegmann leads this category with a 159-game skein.

- The Ravens’ run-first identity may be fading. Last season, first down was the only down on which Baltimore ran more than it passed (266 runs, 185 passes). Not only that, the team averaged 6.5 yards per pass on first down and 3.7 yards per rush. An eye-opening stat: the Ravens ran the ball just 36 times on third down last year, averaging a paltry 2.17 yards per play.

- Baltimore’s 30:42 per-game possession time average marked the fifth time in the last six years and sixth time in the last eight seasons it had averaged more than 30 minutes in that category.

- The Ravens recovered only seven fumbles last year, tied with six other teams for the fourth-fewest in the league behind doormats such as Jacksonville (four), Houston (five) and Denver (six). Ray Lewis led the team with three.

- Flacco’s average pass length last year was 9.08 yards, making him one of five passers among the NFL’s ten top-rated quarterbacks to average over nine yards in this category. But his receivers gained just 4.93 yards after the catch, one of only two of the top ten quarterbacks to have that problem (Manning, 4.19).

- Among last year’s top ten NFL rushers, the Ravens’ Ray Rice was one of only three to have averaged under four yards per carry (3.97). The others were St. Louis’ Steven Jackson and Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall.

- Kicker Billy Cundiff led the Ravens in scoring last year with 117 points, the 14th season in the Ravens‘ 15-year history that a kicker had posted the most points. In 2009, running back Willis McGahee tallied a team-high 84, thanks to his 14 touchdowns.

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