Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
5.94 -- yards per carry by running back Ray Rice when running to the left, according to Pro Football Focus.
Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has rushed for 419 yards this season, a total that ranks ninth in the NFL. Roughly two-thirds of those yards have come when Rice runs to the left, according to Pro Football Focus. He has gone left on 47 of his 81 carries and he has been most productive running behind left tackle Michael Oher. Rice averages 7.8 yards per carry when he runs outside left tackle and 9.3 yards when he ducks between Oher and left guard Ramon Harewood. The left is where Rice's big plays have gone, too. In Sunday's 9-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, he had rushes of 37 and 26 yards when running around his left tackle.
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4.5 -- average points scored in the first quarter since 2008.
Much is being made about the Ravens’ frustrating propensity to start games slowly, and rightfully so, as it has been a regular occurrence since quarterback Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came to town in 2008. During their 69 regular-season games together, the Ravens have scored 311 points in the first quarter, which is at least 106 points fewer than they have scored in each of the other three quarters. They have scored 478 in the second, 417 in the third, and 423 in the fourth. However, the Ravens have allowed just 228 points in the first quarter over that span, which is an average of 3.3 points. These stats make a pretty compelling argument for extending your tailgate a little longer before Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
169.6 -- passing yards allowed by the Cowboys per game.
Last season, pass defense was the Achilles heel for the Dallas defense, as the Cowboys allowed 244 passing yards per game. Only nine teams gave up more. So the Cowboys committed to the cornerback position this spring, paying big bucks to lure Brandon Carr away from the Chiefs, trading into the top 10 to draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and letting long-time starter Terrance Newman walk. With Carr and Claiborne in the starting lineup, the Cowboys lead the league in pass defense, but they have also intercepted just one pass -- something they have talked about wanting to change on Sunday against Joe Flacco and the Ravens.
13 -- quarterback pressures by Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger in the past three games, according to Pro Football Focus.
Paul Kruger did not start against the Chiefs, but he made an impact, especially in the second half when he made two tackles for a loss against the run and was able to generate pressure on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. Kruger did not record a sack, but he finished the game with a season-high five tackles, including three for a loss, and a quarterback hit. He also hurried the passer four times. According to Pro Football Focus, Kruger has a sack, three quarterback hits and nine hurries since he sat out the Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with a back injury. The Ravens need him to keep giving their defense a boost off the bench.
8-0 -- Baltimore’s home record against the NFC since 2008.
Since John Harbaugh became coach in 2008, the Ravens have protected their house against NFC teams, including wins over playoff teams in the New Orleans Saints in 2010 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. However, that dominance against unfamiliar foes is not a new development. In their history, the Ravens are 24-5-1 all-time against NFC teams at home. Asked by one of my fellow reporters to explain the phenomenon Monday, Harbaugh was at a loss for words. “I have no idea whatsoever. I’d love to give you something, but I have nothing of value to add to that. It’s a great accomplishment, though.” Well said, Coach.
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.