Join Date: Apr 2005
John Clayton: Looking ahead to HOU vs BALT
OK, Clayton found our path to success in terms of how to run on the Ravens. His stat research turned up a real gem, so I bolded it and put it in red (below). The stretch run play, and the fake stretch play-action pass could be HUGE for us.
4. What did we learn from the teams' previous meetings this season?
In Week 6, the Texans lost in Baltimore 29-14. What makes things ominous is that they lost with Matt Schaub at quarterback. Flacco was able to move the ball on the Texans' defense. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 305 yards, but the Texans were tough to score on in the red zone. The Ravens had to settle for five Cundiff field goals. The Ravens were able to contain Texans halfback Arian Foster, who was limited to 49 yards on 15 carries.
In Week 15, the Patriots went to Denver and whipped the Broncos, 41-23. Tebow completed 11 of 22 passes for 194 yards, but he was sacked four times and lost a fumble. The Broncos lost two fumbles in the second quarter that opened the door for a 20-point Patriots scoring surge that turned a 16-7 Broncos lead into a 27-16 Patriots advantage. Tom Brady threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Brady met Tebow at the 50-yard line after the game and said, "We'll see you again.'' Said Tebow after the victory over the Steelers, "I guess he's a prophet.''
5. Can the Texans rush against the Ravens?
Sunday's Baltimore-Houston game will be a test of wills. The Texans were second in the league rushing the football. The Ravens were second in run defense. The Texans were successful running to the outside against the Bengals. Texans halfback Arian Foster bounced outside the tackles for two touchdown runs and, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Foster averaged 10.1 yards a carry outside the tackle.
Outside the tackles are about the only place you can run on the Ravens. During the regular season, the Ravens allowed 5.97 yards a carry when runners went around left end, third worst in the league. Backs averaged 4 yards a carry off right end. Running inside, though, is futile. The Ravens were the best at stopping plays off left tackle at 2.4 yards an attempt and allowed 3.2. and 3.8 yards a carry off right guard and right tackle.
6. Will T.J. Yates be intimidated?
Ben Roethlisberger made a name for himself early in his career by taking the Steelers to an AFC title game as a rookie in 2004. Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez went to title games as rookies. Could Houston's Yates be the next? Yates managed the game effectively against the Bengals. He completed 11 of 20 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Expect the Ravens to press him with the blitz. The Ravens blitzed on 211 pass plays this season, limiting quarterbacks to a 57.1 completion percentage and recording 20 sacks.
Yates completed three of 10 passes Saturday when the Bengals rushed more than four defenders, but what helped was going 3-for-4 in the second half for 64 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown to Andre Johnson. Yates completed five of nine attempts to Johnson, who will draw double coverage from the Ravens.
7. Will man-to-man defenses slow the Patriots and Ravens?
The Patriots and Ravens each have difficulties when their offense faces man-to-man press coverage. Expect both home teams to see plenty of coverage man next weekend. One of the reasons the Patriots have problems with man-to-man is they lack speed. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are matchup problems, but neither has blistering speed. Wes Welker is great, but he's a slot receiver. Deion Branch has lost a lot of his speed and is more of a slot threat. Chad Ochocinco isn't fast anymore and can be covered when he's on the field.
The Broncos go into the game knowing they can match up well on the outside using cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Andre' Goodman. They will have problems at safety, though. Dawkins probably won't play, so safeties David Bruton and Quincy Carter must contain Gronkowski and Hernandez.
One of the keys to the turnaround of the Texans' defense was signing cornerback Johnathan Joseph so the team could play man. Expect Houston to play plenty of it against the Ravens. It will be interesting to see if Joseph covers Smith, who has speed, or Boldin, who is the team's best receiver but isn't exceptionally fast.
Link to full story HERE