Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
one -- pressure allowed by offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie on Sunday, his first start of the 2012 season.
The Ravens made significant changes on the offensive line for the wild-card game against the Indianapolis Colts, starting Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, moving struggling tackle Michael Oher over to the right side, and halting the revolving door at left guard with rookie Kelechi Osemele. The move paid off against the Colts, who were 23rd in sacks this season. Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked once and the line allowed just seven pressures, according to Pro Football Focus, one of their lowest totals of the season. McKinnie allowed just one hurry, when Dwight Freeney spun around him on Flacco’s touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta.
52 -- sacks for the Denver Broncos this season, most in the NFL.
The Ravens offensive line must continue to play well Saturday against the Denver Broncos, who tied for the NFL lead in sacks (surprisingly, with the St. Louis Rams). Led by linebacker Von Miller, who had 18.5, the Broncos had 52 sacks. And according to Pro Football Focus, they recorded 279 pressures during the regular season, averaging 17.4 per game. Miller again led the way with 86 pressures. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil had 60. In Denver's win in Week 15, the Broncos recorded three sacks and 22 pressures, and Dumervil forced a fumble while sacking Flacco. The pressure is on McKinnie and Oher to keep the pressure off Flacco.
five -- fumbles by running back Ray Rice in eight playoff games.
Ravens running back Ray Rice, a three-time Pro Bowler, has fumbled just seven times in five regular seasons in the NFL. But in eight playoff games, he has fumbled five times, losing four of them. Rice says he is not a fumbler, and he hasn’t been in the regular season, fumbling just once in every 218 touches. But in the playoffs, he is averaging one every 30 touches. As I wrote in Wednesday’s paper, his postseason struggles extend beyond the fumbles. He has rushed for more than 70 yards just once in eight games, seven as a starter, and with opposing defenses keying on him, he averaged less than four yards per carry in five games.
two -- catches against cornerback Chykie Brown on Sunday.
Ravens second-year cornerback Chykie Brown has seen his defensive snaps increase in recent weeks, and he has held off Jimmy Smith to remain the team's third cornerback. Brown played a career-high 69 defensive snaps against the Colts, and according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed just two receptions on six targets for a total of 22 yards. He was picked on a little bit in the season finale, allowing three catches for 58 yards, but overall, Brown has allowed completions on 53.1 percent of the passes thrown his way and has given up one completion for every 10.6 snaps in coverage -- second on the team to only Lardarius Webb this season.
143.4 -- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s passer rating on play-action passes in the 34-17 win against the Ravens last month.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 204 yards and a touchdown in Week 15, and he did most of his damage on play-action passes. After freezing the Ravens defense with a play-action fake, he completed eight of 11 throws for 133 yards and a touchdown, according to ESPN Stats and Info, for a passer rating of 143.4. But on standard dropbacks, Manning completed nine of his 17 attempts for 71 yards for a passer rating of 63.6. According to ESPN Stats and Info, his 52.9 completion percentage on such passes was his second worst on the season. Might the biggest key to slowing Manning be stopping the Denver running game?
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.