Its another causal Thursday here at the By the Numbers so sit back, relax, grab a beverage and let the bullets fly:
- Flacco threw only one pass behind the line of scrimmage on Sunday. Ray Rice caught it and turned it into a 31-yard touchdown. Factoring in current health and talent, the Ravens may want to turn to screen passes more frequently going forward to get their most talented receiver (Rice) the bal. I’m sure Flacco critics will be overjoyed with this plan.
- Last year Rice broke 22 tackles throughout the entire season. On his 31-yard touchdown reception he broke three. That is about one seventh of his total for all of last year on one run. Based on those metrics I think Rice’s bone bruise in his knee was alot more serious than anyone ever let on in 2010 and it isn’t bothering him at all in 2011.
- Flacco critics are bound to be pleased by him throwing MORE screens to Ray Rice.
- One predictive statistic of a team’s season long offensive plan is their run/pass splits in the first half of games. The idea is that in the first half the score does not dictate play calling and you get a more pure sample of a team’s game plan. These statistics are even more meaningful for the first two games because the team has spent an entire off season planning their attack. In the first half of Week 1 the Ravens had a fairly balanced run/pass split of 14/18. In Week 2 it was an even more balanced: 10/9. Based on these statistics I would not expect the Baltimore ariel show to start anytime soon. The offense is built around Flacco making plays but no more so than it is on Rice and Williams running effectively.
- Despite his four target, zero catch game in Week 1, Lee Evans was a very effective decoy. While Evans was running deep outs, Flacco found Rice, Dickson and Boldin on crossing patterns across the middle resulting in 6.8 yards for every pass attempt of 15 yards or less. These plays just were not there in Week 2. Evans actually increased his production to two catches for 45 yards but he wasn’t drawing nearly as much coverage. As a result Flacco’s yards per attempt dipped to 5.8 on passes 15 yards or less. It appears the Titans (and presumably future opponents) are going to force Evans to prove that he is a legitimate deep threat before they shift extra coverage his way as Pittsburgh did in Week 1. Given Evans current injury status this seems like a particularly difficult task.
- Just as they fell in ESPN’s uber-quantitative Power Rankings, the Ravens also fell from first to eighth in Football Outsider’s Rankings. However, factoring in Weeks 1 and 2 with Football Outsider’s projections for the 2011 season the Ravens rank sixth behind the Pats, Jets, Steelers, Eagles and Packers. It was a pretty ugly loss in Week 2 but its a long season and this is still a very good team.
- Similar to this child, Lee Evans may not be up to his Herculean task given his health.