This week we’ll look back at the Ravens comeback against the Cardinals. We’ll start by examining the WPA graph for the game. With 3:52 left in the first half the Cards had a 95% chance of winning this game and they managed to pretty much squander being favored with 1:17 left in the third quarter. In other words the game changed to a certain loss for the Ravens to a toss up in about 16 minutes on game play. That is pretty ridiculous, for as poorly as the Ravens played in the first half, they were utterly dominant on both sides of the ball in the third quarter. The table below annotates the two plays that swung the game heavily in the Cards favor in the first half (1 and 2) and the four plays in the second half that highlighted the Ravens comeback. The graph is courtesy of NFL Advanced Stats and the annotations are our own. For more information on reading WPA graphs please see our Reader’s Guide to WPA.
|1||Q2 – 9:07||Flacco sacked and fumbles at Baltimore 8. Arizona recovers.|
|2||Q2 – 6:25||Patrick Peterson returns Koch punt 82 yards for Arizona TD.|
|3||Q3 – 1:26||Kevin Kolb intercepted by McClain. McClain returns interception to Arizona 22.|
|4||Q4 – 15:00||Ray Rice runs 3 yards for TD. 3rd TD of the day for Rice.|
|5||Q4 – 1:07||Kruger sacks Kevin Kolb at Arizona 6.|
|6||Q4 – 0:42||Flacco passed to Torrey Smith for 36 yards down to Arizona 5.|
Next, we’ll review the largest comeback in Ravens history through Football Outsiders DYAR. DYAR is an advanced football metric that loosely translates to yards above replacement. The idea of DYAR is to credit players in a cumulative opponent adjusted measure for how well they perform compared to a hypothetical replacement level (minimum salarly) player at their position. This week three Ravens stood out in terms of DYAR. Here, in By the Numbers we review them.
It was a tale of two halves for Joe Flacco. In the first half he was 12-23 for 98 yards, issuing 1 pick, taking 2 sacks and fumbling. All together that gave him the worst DYAR of any QB in any half on Sunday. However, Flacco turned things around in the second going 19 for 28, throwing for 238 yards. Flacco’s passes also helped acrue 3 defenensive pass interfere pentalties resulting in the highest DYAR of any QB in any half on Sunday.
Rice caught 7 of 9 passes for 36 yards against a defense that is surprisingly good at covering running back. As a rusher, Rice had three touchdowns and three first downs leading the way for the Ravens in the second half. In total these numbers made him the fifth best back by DYAR on Sunday. He finished slightly behind his opponent counter part, Beanie Wells, as well as Fred Jackson, Adrian Peterson and Lesean McCoy.
Something funny happened to the Ravens during halftime: they realized Arizona could not cover Anquan Boldin, so they were just threw him passes all third quarter. Boldin was targeted 10 times in the third quarter alone. He caught five of them for 117 yards, two fell incomplete, and three of them resulted in defensive pass interference calls for another 33 yards. As gaudy as the passing yardage is its not even as impressive as the three pass interference calls. The only other receivers to draw three pass interferences this season are: Hakeem Nicks, Lance Moore, and Santonio Holmes which puts Q in pretty elite company. In the 4th quarter Arizona must have figured out how badly they were being burned because Boldin was not the target of a single pass. Essentially, based on the third quarter alone he finished as the week’s second best WR in terms of DYAR behind only Calvin Johnson. Pretty good considering Megatron is more machine than man these days.