By Matt Vensel
The Baltimore Sun
10:26 AM EST, January 16, 2013
Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
149.3 -- Joe Flacco’s passer rating in the playoffs on throws beyond 20 yards.
Including his season-saving touchdown strike to Jacoby Jones, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has been very efficient throwing the deep ball throughout these playoffs. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Flacco has thrown 12 passes beyond 20 yards in this year's playoffs, completing eight of them for 324 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. (He also threw a 20-yard touchdown to Dennis Pitta in the win over the Indianapolis Colts, but that doesn't count here). Flacco completed 37 percent of such attempts during the regular season for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions, the most attempts without an interception (81) of any NFL quarterback. Oh, and overall, the Ravens have 14 plays of 20-plus yards in their two playoff games.
177 -- passing yards allowed in coverage by Ray Lewis the past two weeks.
Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis played better in his second game back from a torn triceps, making 17 tackles in the 38-35 win against the Denver Broncos to give him 30 so far in the postseason. He has been solid against the run, but the 37-year-old has been attacked in coverage, and opponents have usually won those battles. According to Pro Football Focus, Lewis was targeted nine times in the win over the Colts, and he allowed six receptions for 80 yards. Against the Broncos, Lewis was beaten for eight completions on eight targets for a total of 97 yards. I imagine that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took note of his struggles when breaking down the tape.
Plus-25 -- league-leading turnover differential for the Patriots this season.
The Patriots were 25th in yards allowed during the regular season and were 29th against the pass, but one reason why the Patriots ranked ninth in scoring defense is that they are aggressive and have a nose for the football. The Patriots forced 41 turnovers, picking off 20 passes and recovering 21 fumbles, during the regular season. Only the Chicago Bears had more takeaways. And the Patriots were tied with a few teams, including the Ravens, for second in the NFL with 16 giveaways. That plus-25 turnover differential was easily the NFL’s best. And good things happen for them when the defense is chilling on the sideline and Brady is on the field.
35 -- percent of the time the Patriots defense has blitzed since Week 11.
The Patriots acquired cover cornerback Aqib Talib, a 2008 first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the middle of the season and he made his Patriots debut in mid-November. Since then, the Patriots have been much more aggressive, sending five or more pass rushers 35 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Before inserting Talib into the lineup, the Patriots blitzed a league-low 15 percent of the time.
Nine -- red-zone rushing touchdowns scored by Ray Rice this season.
Ravens running back Ray Rice was scrutinized last week after putting the football on the ground twice against the Colts, but he responded with the second-most productive postseason game of his career. Rice rushed for 131 yards on 30 carries and scored on a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. After subbing Rice out for guys like Willis McGahee and Ricky Williams in the past, Rice is now the man inside the red zone. According to Pro Football Focus, Rice has scored on 22 percent of his red-zone carries this season, the NFL’s fourth-best rate. Inside the 20-yard line, Rice has nine scores on 41 carries, with 113 yards on those carries.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty stat you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter at @mattvensel. If I end up using it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.
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