Baltimore Ravens Lagging Behind NFL in Sacks, But Why?
Sep 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Darrin Reaves (36) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) tackles at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens are in a position that they simply aren’t used to being in. Their defense features two linebackers known specifically for their pass rushing prowess, yet they currently rank 26th out of 32 teams in sacks through five weeks of action. The Ravens have managed a mere 5 sacks in 5 games, and 3.5 of those have come from Dumervil alone.
So what is causing this drought of sorts? It isn’t like the team is failing to get pressure. The Ravens have 20 quarterback hits and 42 hurries in 342 defensive snaps this season. Of those 342, 210 have been in pass rush or pass coverage situations. That means the defense has achieved pressure on almost 30% of passing plays. That’s a pretty darn good number.
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Couple that with some pretty good individual numbers, and it begins to seem like the Raven’s low sack total might be a fluke. Pro Football Focus measures pass rush productivity by measuring pressure created on a per snap basis. Out of 29 NFL 3-4 outside linebackers, Pernell McPhee ranks 4th, Elvis Dumervil 16th, and Terrell Suggs 22nd.
In overall pass rushing ratings, McPhee is the number one rated 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Dumervil is 3rd, and Suggs is number 4. Only Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs is ranked above the two, and he currently leads the NFL is sacks with 6.0. Starting to see a trend?
So we feel like we can justifiably say that the Raven’s current sack “drought” is a fluke. The front seven is getting pressure pretty consistently, but it just isn’t showing up in the stat box yet. We feel like this trend will end at some point, perhaps even as early as this Sunday against the Bucs. And when it does, the sacks may just come in bunches.