Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel highlights five stats that really mean something for the Ravens.
51.2 — quarterback rating for opposing quarterbacks when targeting Jimmy Smith the past five games.
After two inconsistent seasons and a rocky start in the season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos, Jimmy Smith has been playing very well in recent weeks. In Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Chicago Bears, Smith allowed just four catches for 25 yards against Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, according to Pro Football Focus. Over the past five games, Smith has allowed just 12 catches for 131 yards and no touchdowns on 23 targets, according to Pro Football Focus. He also picked off one of those passes. Opposing quarterbacks have a 51.2 quarterback rating when throwing into Smith’s coverage area.
109 — rushing yards for Ravens running backs against the Bears when they ran between left guard and center Sunday.
The left guard and center positions have arguably been the weakest links on the offensive line this season, but A.Q. Shipley and Gino Gradkowski played well in the loss to the Bears, especially in the running game. Ravens running backs ran for 109 yards on 13 carries between the left guard and center, including Ray Rice's 47-yard run on his first carry of the game, according to Pro Football Focus. While the Ravens averaged 8.4 yards per carry running through that hole, they averaged just 2.3 elsewhere.
6.7 — Joe Flacco’s yards per attempt when throwing beyond 10 yards Sunday against the Bears.
It's well known that one of the reasons the Ravens drafted quarterback Joe Flacco was that he could zip the ball around in the inclement weather commonly found in the AFC North. But in Sunday’s windy loss in Chicago, it was Bears quarterback Josh McCown who had more success throwing the ball downfield. According to ESPN Stats and Info, McCown completed six of his 10 attempts beyond 10 yards and averaged 11.8 yards per attempt on those throws. Meanwhile, Flacco completed just three of his six attempts beyond 10 yards for an average of 6.7 yards. He was off target on three of those throws, one of which was intercepted.
76 — negative plays forced by the Ravens this season.
A week after a big fourth-down tackle for a loss helped the Ravens beat the Cincinnati Bengals in overtime, Ravens defenders were not in the Bears' backfield as often as we're used to seeing, finishing with just two sacks and four tackles for losses. Still, the Baltimore defense has been among the league’s most disruptive throughout the season. According to Ravens media relations, the Ravens have forced opponents into 76 negative plays this season. Only the Buffalo Bills, with 84, have forced more.
35 — combined turnovers for Joe Flacco and Geno Smith this season.
Two of the NFL's most turnover-prone quarterbacks will face off at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend. New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has thrown 16 interceptions this season, second most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Flacco has thrown 13, fifth most in the NFL and a single-season high for his career — and there are still six games left to play. Smith has lost four fumbles. Flacco has lost two. Combined, they have committed 35 turnovers in 20 games. This one could get ugly.
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.