Ravens' pass protection faltering, especially vs. blitz

Posted Dec. 19, 2010 @ 12:55 a.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Ravens' pass protection has been a weakness recently, with QB Joe Flacco having been sacked 16 times in his last four starts — the same number of times that he was brought down for a loss in the first nine games of the 2010 campaign. Of particular note are the Ravens' problems combating blitzes from defensive backs. After not surrendering a single sack to a defensive back in the first 10 games of 2010, the Ravens have allowed 3½ sacks to safeties and another to a cornerback in the last three games. In the most famous instance, Steelers SS Troy Polamalu burst off the right edge and past OLT Michael Oher, who was blocking ROLB James Harrison, to hit Flacco on a three-step drop, causing a game-changing fumble in Pittsburgh's Week 13 win. Oher has struggled vs. the blitz recently, as has RB Ray Rice, who's failed to finish a couple of blocks. Teams have had success with sudden sprints off the edge, as well as delayed blitzes, vs. Baltimore, another red flag.