Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel highlights five stats that really mean something for the Ravens.
The Ravens have a talented group of cornerbacks, but before Sunday’s 20-17 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals, it seemed as though at least one would get picked on each week. But against the Bengals, the corners came to play. Lardarius Webb defended six passes and got his first interception of the season. Jimmy Smith knocked down two passes and allowed just one catch, for 2 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. And Corey Graham allowed one catch, for 9 yards. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 6-for-19 for 75 yards and one interception while targeting the Ravens' top three cornerbacks, for a 22.9 passer rating. And with three interceptions, it was the secondary’s best performance of the season.
126 — pressures allowed by the Baltimore offensive line this season.
Joe Flacco was pressured on 18 of his 42 drop-backs Sunday, and was sacked five times as the offensive line once again struggled to protect the quarterback. Through 10 weeks, 22 offensive lines have allowed fewer total pressures than the Ravens, who have allowed 126, according to Pro Football Focus. The Arizona Cardinals, with 143, have allowed the most. Also, Flacco has been sacked 30 times. Only two quarterbacks have been sacked more often, though the blame for that does not fall solely on the offensive line. Pass protection issues for the running backs, the inability of receivers to get open and the indecisiveness of Flacco himself are also factors.
One — rushing touchdown scored on the Ravens defense this season.
The Ravens rank 10th in rushing yards allowed per game and fifth in the NFL in yards allowed per carry (3.7). They get even stingier when opponents approach their goal line. The Ravens have allowed only one rushing touchdown this season, a 16-yard run by Fred Jackson in the Week 4 loss to the Buffalo Bills. No team has allowed as few touchdowns. The Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers have each allowed two. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars are last in the league with 14.
129.4 — rushing yards per game allowed by the Bears.
The Ravens continue to get stuffed in the running game, and they might actually be regressing in that regard. But after playing a bunch of stingy front sevens, they will finally catch a break this weekend. The Chicago Bears, who have lost several key starters to injuries, are allowing 4.5 yards per carry, and only the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed more rushing yards per game. The Ravens have rushed for 100 yards in a game only once this season. Sunday’s game will be their best chance in a while.
When you think of the top pass-catching duos in the league, the Bears might not be the first team to come to mind. But their two big, physical wide-outs have more receiving yards than any tandem in the NFL. They have combined for 1,521 yards this season, 7 more than Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker of the Denver Broncos. Marshall is ninth in the NFL with 786 receiving yards. Jeffery is 13th, with 735. The Ravens' secondary played well against the Bengals last week, but their hands will be full again on Sunday.
Bloggers note: Have a stat you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me at @mattvensel. If I use it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.