By Matt Vensel
The Baltimore Sun
7:00 AM EDT, September 4, 2013
Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
13.4 -- Joe Flacco’s average depth of target, in yards, in the team’s thrilling double-overtime win in Denver.
In the 38-35 AFC divisional round win over the Denver Broncos, quarterback Joe Flacco was 4-for-7 with three touchdowns on throws more than 20 yards down the field, according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Broncos had allowed three such touchdowns all season. And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Flacco was the second player in postseason history with two touchdown passes of at least 55 yards. The other was former New York Giants quarterback Scott Brunner, who was Flacco's quarterbacks coach at Delaware. Flacco's average target depth in that game was 13.4 yards downfield. It was 6.6 when the Ravens lost to them in the regular season.
3.0 -- yard per carry for the Broncos in the divisional round win.
When the Ravens and Broncos met in that Week 15 game, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning picked the Ravens secondary apart with play-action passes. In that game, the Broncos rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns, and as a result Manning was able to go eight-for-11 on play-action passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, according to ESPN Stats and Info. In the playoff game, the Ravens limited the Broncos to just three yards per carry, so their play-action game was nowhere near as effective. Stopping the run will be key again Thursday.
27.54 -- average seconds per play for the Ravens last season.
As I wrote in today’s newspaper, the Ravens and Broncos had two of the NFL’s fastest offenses in pace of play last season, according to Football Outsiders. The Ravens ranked third in the NFL with an average of 27.54 seconds of game clock per offensive play. The Broncos were second at 27.45 seconds. The New England Patriots led the league at 24.53, and trust me, those three seconds out of the 40 on the play clock were significant. I’m not sure if the Ravens can get there, but look for their no-huddle to be even faster this season.
248 -- return yards for Trindon Holliday in the divisional round.
One of the main reasons the Ravens needed late-game magic to beat the Broncos in January was the performance of Broncos return specialist Trindon Holliday. The tiny speedster scored on a 90-yard punt return and a 104-yard kickoff return. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 248 combined return yards were the most for one player in a single game in postseason history. Yes, that was last season, but the Ravens have had breakdowns this preseason, too, including a big one on a punt return touchdown by the Carolina Panthers.
eight -- defensive stops for Arthur Jones during the preseason.
The Ravens will be without defensive tackle Arthur Jones against the Broncos. Jones, who is dealing with an undisclosed health issue, had an excellent preseason and appeared ready to have a breakout season. He had a team-leading eight defensive stops in just 77 preseason snaps over three games, according to Pro Football Focus, and his plus-7.0 grade was tied for tops on the defense with defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson. The Ravens will spend a lot of time in the nickel on Thursday night, but not having Jones in their base defense will hurt.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty stat you want to share? E-mail me at email@example.com or tweet at me at @mattvensel. If I use it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.
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