Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
3.75 -- percentage of plays in which a pass is completed against Lardarius Webb when he lines up in the slot.
The Ravens have used their nickel package approximately two-thirds of the time this season, and when they use three cornerbacks in that look, starting cornerback Lardarius Webb usually lines up inside against a wide receiver in the slot. According to Pro Football Focus, Webb has allowed just three completions for 29 yards in 80 plays where he covers a slot receiver. That’s one completion against Webb every 26.7 plays. Overall in 2012, Webb has allowed just eight total completions for 61 yards in the 21 times he was targeted by opposing quarterbacks. No wonder teams have gone after fellow cornerbacks Cary Williams or Jimmy Smith instead.
13 -- quarterback pressures by Haloti Ngata so far this season.
The pass rush has been inconsistent this season, but defensive end Haloti Ngata is again playing at a high level even though opponents often assign two blockers to him. Ngata is second on the Ravens with two sacks (inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe surprisingly has 2.5). According to Pro Football Focus, Ngata has 13 total quarterback pressures, which leads the Ravens, including five quarterback hits. That total is fifth among defensive linemen who play in a 3-4 defense. Though he didn't get a sack in the 23-16 win over the Cleveland Browns last week, he hit rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden twice and hurried him on three other plays.
36.6 -- percentage of offensive snaps in which All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach has been put out on the field this season.
I wrote a trend piece about the decline of the fullback position before the start of the season, and Vonta Leach, widely regarded as the league’s best fullback, admitted that he is a dying breed. I just didn’t see him fading away so quickly. According to totals kept by the NFL, Leach has played just 104 of 284 offensive snaps this season, and he was used as a receiver about 40 percent of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. His play participation is down 15 percent from a year ago, though I expect that he will be more involved as winter nears. Still, it’s hard to argue with results right now as the Ravens have one of the top offenses in the NFL.
8 -- touchdowns drives of 80 yards or more by the Ravens.
Much has been made -- and rightfully so -- about Baltimore’s new quick-strike offense, but the Ravens lead the NFL with eight drives of 80 or more yards, according to Ravens media relations. One of those drives took five plays and another took six, but the other six such drives were eight plays or more, including two that took 13 plays to get into the end zone. It may seem chaotic when they go no-huddle -- especially when you're trying to stop them -- but that doesn't mean the Ravens haven't been deliberate at times.
5.6 -- yards per carry for the Kansas City Chiefs this season.
The Chiefs are 1-3, but no team has been better at running the football. The Chiefs average a NFL-best 5.6 yards per carry in 2012 and their 173.5 rushing yards a game are second in the league behind the Washington Redskins. The Ravens have actually tightened up against the run since they allowed the Cincinnati Bengals to rush for 129 yards on 28 carries. Opponents averaged just 2.7 yards per carry the past three games, and they were no been slouches, either. The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots rank seventh and eighth in the rushing, respectively. We'll see if the Ravens are up for their next challenge on Sunday.
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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