Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel highlights five stats that really mean something for the Ravens.
Four — missed tackles forced by Ray Rice as a runner this season, last among starting NFL running backs.
We know the run blocking has been far from great this season, but running back Ray Rice has not been as elusive as in seasons past. According to Pro Football Focus, Rice has forced just four missed tackles on 97 carries. Every single NFL running back with at least 85 carries, including teammate Bernard Pierce, has forced more than twice as many missed tackles. To put it in perspective, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who leads the league in broken tackles, has forced at least four missed tackles in six of his nine games. Rice also has been less elusive after the catch, having just forced three missed tackles as a receiver. Last season, Rice forced 32 missed tackles overall, tied for 12th in the league.
Three — passing touchdowns allowed by the Ravens when they sent five or more pass rushers at Jason Campbell.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell was very effective Sunday, completing 23 of his 35 attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns as the Browns stunned the Ravens, 24-18. According to ESPN Stats and Information, all three touchdowns came when the Ravens sent at least five pass rushers after him, a career high for Campbell against the blitz. It was just the third game since the start of 2006 that the Ravens have given up at least three passing touchdowns when sending five or more pass rushers. One of those games was the season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos when Peyton Manning beat the blitz for four second-half scores.
Zero — red-zone touchdowns allowed at home in 2013.
Despite allowing two red-zone touchdowns in the loss to the Browns, the Ravens rank second in the NFL in red-zone defense, having held opponents to touchdowns on just 31.8 percent of their trips inside their 20-yard line. No defense has been better at home, though. The Ravens have not allowed an opponent to score in the red zone at M&T Bank Stadium in seven opportunities over three games. According to teamrankings.com, they are the only team that has yet to allow a red-zone touchdown at home this season. That will be tested this weekend against a Cincinnati Bengals offense that is third in the NFL in red-zone offense at 66.7 percent.
Nine — NFL teams since the start of 1990 that have made the playoffs after starting off with a 3-5 record.
Things seem pretty dismal for the Ravens right now. Having lost three straight games, they are 3-5 with the first-place Bengals coming to town this weekend. But teams have climbed out of this hole before. According to Elias Sports Bureau, nine teams have made the playoffs after starting a season 3-5 since 1990, the first year the NFL used a 12-team playoff format. Three teams have done it in the past two years, including the Washington Redskins and the Bengals last season.
103.4 — Joe Flacco's career passer rating in games at M&T Bank Stadium during the month of November.
I don't know if there is anything to this stat, but it is interesting. Quarterback Joe Flacco has been very good at home in the month of November, posting an 8-1 record during his career, according to Ravens media relations. In those games, Flacco has completed 66.2 percent of his passes for 2,230 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, giving him a 103.4 passer rating. He has thrown for at least 256 yards in six of his past seven November home games and has five multitouchdown games overall. Like I said, I don't know what to make of this stat. But if you're an optimist, feel free to cling to it on Sunday afternoon.
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.