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Old 10-10-2010, 11:03 AM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default Analyzing the O-Line: Ravens Prove the Toughest Test

Analyzing the O-Line: Ravens Prove the Toughest Test
Posted on October 7, 2010 by JJ
(You might find using the URL to read this article a bit easier since I don't have time to try and make the columns in the tables line up. I will say that this is a very through analysis and who ever wrote this has a lot of time on their hands. - mesa)

The Steelers knew they were going to get one of their toughest tests of the season facing the Ravens defense, especially with Ben Roethlisberger sitting at home. And as Mike Tomlin pointed out, they were facing a pissed off Ravens’ team still upset about giving up 140 yards to Peyton Hillis the week before.

The result? Ray Lewis was flying around and Haloti Ngata was trying to toss whoever tried to block him into the backfield. Pittsburgh’s front five did a decent job–they generally protected Charlie Batch (although part of that can be credited to the Ravens focusing more on coverage than pass rush) and they cleared the way for two Rashard Mendenhall rushing touchdowns. But when the game was on the line, they couldn’t clear the way for a first down on the ground. And Ngata gave them troubles all day. When a 3-4 defensive lineman finished the day with 11 tackles (eight solos and three assists) you know he’s been had a good day.

Here’s a look at how the linemen (and tight ends and backs) fared. As usual remember that each play is “graded” to the best of my ability. Without a playbook, it’s not always possible to know the assignment on every play (although it’s usually pretty clear), but we’re looking at the result more than the technique used to get the result.
Player Sacks Pressures Good Blocks Total Blocks PCT
Starks 50 55 90.91%
Kemoeatu 1 49 56 87.50%
Pouncey 1.5 1 44 55 80.00%
Adams 1 44 56 78.57%
Legursky 0.5 43 55 78.18%
Miller 30 37 81.08%
Spaeth 22 26 84.62%
Johnson 9 12 75.00%
Moore 0 1 0.00%
Redman 3 3 100.00%
Mendenhall 4 4 100.00%
Foster 2 2 100.00%

Before we dive in here are a couple of other notes that stood out from the rewatching of the game. After watching the first four games, I have to wonder if Isaac Redman is about to fully take over Mewelde Moore’s job as the third down back (he’s already taking some of the snaps). Moore completely botched his job in blitz pick-up in the first half when he misread from which side the Ravens were blitzing, leading to a quarterback hurry. Redman pulled off one of the best blocks of the season in a similar situation in the second half. The Ravens sent an overload blitz from the outside on a third and nine (on the pass to Arnaz Battle). Redman was given an impossible task–block Ray Lewis and a blitzing defensive back with no help from anyone else. Somehow he managed to do it. He shoved the DB aside then leaned into Lewis enough to slow him down, giving Batch the time he needed to throw. It was an outstanding block for anyone, but especially for a tailback.

Moore may be a little shiftier catching a screen pass than Redman (although Moore is currently averaging 1.4 yards per catch), but Steelers’ running backs are more often asked to pick up blitzers then catch passes, so Redman’s superior blocking ability may give him more and more playing time.

The other thing that jumped out was just how good Haloti Ngata is. Ngata caused problems all day, but it’s hard to fault the Steelers’ offensive line for that. He’s amazing with the combination of strength and quickness you just don’t see in 300+ pounders. In the fourth quarter, Ngata even dropped into coverage 15 yards downfield and had an assist on a Heath Miller catch. The scary thing is he had pretty decent coverage on Miller.

Max Starks: When the Steelers’ offensive line gave up pressure, it generally came from the inside, not the outside. Starks and Flozell Adams were asked to block Terrell Suggs and Jarrett Johnson, so they deserve some credit for a job well done. Starks was especially impressive as he generally did it without help. I counted only one play where the Steelers had a back chip his man to help him out.
Play R/P Result Good Play
1 R Doesn’t reach anyone on run other way No
2 R Solid block Yes
3 P Good pass block Yes
4 P Good pass block Yes
5 R Slides inside to help on LB Yes
6 P Good block on Johnson Yes
7 P Backside block Yes
8 R Whiffs on block of Lewis No
9 P Adequate on Suggs Yes
10 R Gets good drive on his man Yes
11 R Gets little surge Yes
12 R Does enough on backside Yes
13 P Solid block Yes
14 R Good block on Ngata Yes
15 R Good block on Johnson Yes
16 P Good job Tes
17 P Good work Yes
18 R Poor block on DE No
19 R Throws Suggs to ground Yes
20 R Just enough on Suggs Yes
21 P Drives DE just outside enough Yes
22 R OK block on Ngata Yes
23 R Drives Ngata out of hole Yes
24 P Johnson beats him to outside on speed rush No
25 R Works with Spaeth on Suggs Yes
26 P Gets help from Spaeth on Ngata Yes
27 P Solid job Yes
28 P Solid block Yes
29 R Solid on backside Yes
30 R Takes bad angle, but gets enough of arm on Johnson Yes
31 P Good enough Yes
32 P Good Yes
33 P Solid block on Kreuger Yes
34 P Solid block Yes
35 P Excellent block Yes
36 R Doubles with Kemo Yes
37 P Very good job of handling blitz Yes
38 R Good job on backside Yes
39 R OK on Suggs Yes
40 P Handles Ngata Yes
41 R Drives Suggs outside Yes
42 R Picks up Lewis Yes
43 P Good enough Yes
44 P Good job on Suggs Yes
45 P Three man rush makes life easy Yes
46 P Easy job Ngata on quick pass Yes
47 P Good job on Suggs Yes
48 R Backside block Yes
49 R Does very little No
50 P Just enough on Suggs Yes
51 R Good on backside Yes
52 R Backside block Yes
53 R Excellent block on Suggs Yes
54 R Puts Lewis on ground Yes
55 P Fine Yes

Chris Kemoeatu: He had a costly false start on the Steelers’ final drive, but overall Kemoeatu kept plugging away like he has all year. His bad plays were generally somewhat understandable–the Ravens’ linebackers react so quickly that sometimes it’s very hard to get to them in time to block them.
Play R/P Result Result
1 R Drives back DE Yes
2 R Quite adequate Yes
3 P Helps on Kruger Yes
4 P Driven back but solid Yes
5 R Good block on Ngata Yes
6 P Keeps heads up hands off from one to another Yes
7 P Backside block Yes
8 R Good block on Gregg Yes
9 P Holds his ground Yes
10 R Fires out too high stood up No
11 R Gets block on McClain Yes
12 R Pulls, but LB meets him in backfield and then helps on tackle No
13 P Good job Yes
14 R Decent job with help from Pouncey Yes
15 R Picks up S Yes
16 P No one to block Yes
17 P Solid Yes
18 R Bounces off of LB No
19 R Solid work with Ngata Yes
20 R EXCELLENT. Beats up LB Yes
21 P Solid work on keeping working Yes
22 R OK on Gregg Yes
23 R OK. Helps on NT then gets arm on Lewis Yes
24 P Good block on DE Yes
25 R Good job on McKinney Yes
26 P Doubles Gregg who has coverage responsibility on Mendenhall Yes
27 P Beaten by Suggs for pressure No
28 P Solid block Yes
29 R Solid on backside Yes
30 R Nice pull block on Ellerbee Yes
31 P Hustles to lead screen Yes
32 P Good Yes
33 P Misses block on LB who gets pressure No
34 P Not much to do Yes
35 P No problems Yes
36 R Doubles with Starks Yes
37 P Very good job of handling blitz Yes
38 R Good job on McKinney Yes
39 R Works on McKinney Yes
40 P No one to block Yes
41 R Good job on McKinney Yes
42 R Awful. Blown into backfield No
43 P Good enough Yes
44 P Doesn’t have much to do Yes
45 P Three man rush makes life easy Yes
46 P Not much to do Yes
47 P Doubles with Kemo Yes
48 R Good job on LB Yes
49 R Lets Gregg’s momentum work against him Yes
50 P Eventually puts man on ground Yes
51 R Fires out to get McClain Yes
52 R Drives his man back Yes
53 Pen False Start No
54 R Good help with Pouncey Yes
55 R Gets push Yes
56 P Fine Yes
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