Five stats that stand out as the Ravens prepare to face the Cincinnati Bengals

  • Ray Rice has averaged just 1.53 yards after contact on 259 total touches.
Ray Rice has averaged just 1.53 yards after contact on 259 total… (Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports )
December 26, 2013|By Matt Vensel | The Baltimore Sun

Each week, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five stats that really mean something for the Ravens.

4-1 -- John Harbaugh’s career record in season finales.

For the first time since 2009, the Ravens have to win in the final week of the regular season to make the playoffs. But unlike last time, when they beat the Oakland Raiders, they need a little help to get in. They say they are focused only on what they can control: winning the season finale. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens have a good track record in that regard. Since 2008, the Ravens are 4-1 in Week 17, the lone loss coming a year ago when Harbaugh pulled his starters early in a meaningless game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Overall, the Ravens have won 10 of their past 13 season finales.

564 -- passes thrown by Joe Flacco through 15 games.

The Ravens still have one game left, but their quarterback already has thrown more passes than he ever had in a season. Through 15 games, Flacco has set single-season highs with 332 completions and 564 attempts. Only five NFL quarterbacks have attempted more passes this season. Before this season, the most attempts he has ever thrown in a season was 542 in 2011 and his previous high for completions was 317 last season. Plus, with 3,720 passing yards, Flacco needs just 98 against the Bengals to set a career high, and if he gets 468 passing yards, although unlikely, he would break Vinny Testaverde's single-season franchise record.

10 -- Flacco interceptions when he was not pressured.

Flacco not only has thrown a lot of passes, he also has thrown a lot of them to the other team. Flacco has thrown 19 interceptions this season, shattering his previous career high of 12 in a single season. Only three NFL quarterbacks -- Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and rookie Geno Smith -- have thrown more, and Matthew Stafford has thrown as many. Flacco has been under duress on a big chunk of his dropbacks, but the majority of his interceptions have come when he was not pressured. According to Pro Football Focus, Flacco threw 10 of his interceptions when he was not pressured, including both in Sunday's 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

1.53 -- Ray Rice’s average yards after contact per rush.

There is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to the failures of the running game. The offensive linemen and tight ends have struggled with run blocking and the coaches haven't come up with lasting solutions. But the running backs should not be absolved. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are among the NFL's worst backs when it comes to picking up yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. Rice ranks last among backs who have received at least 25 percent of their team's carries, averaging just 1.53 yards after contact on 259 total touches. Pierce has not been much better. At 1.68 yards after contact per touch, he ranks 50th among the 52 qualifiers.

13 -- sacks for the Ravens since their Week 8 bye.

In their first seven games, the biggest strength of the Ravens was their ability to get to the quarterback. Led by outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, the Ravens had 27 sacks before their bye week in Week 8. But since then, the Ravens have had 13 sacks in their past eight games and just three the past four weeks, putting pressure on the secondary to stick with their men longer. Against the Patriots, Suggs got his first sack since Week 9, and Dumervil has just one sack since Week 10. But there is potentially good news: The Ravens did have five sacks while beating the Bengals in Week 10, including three from Dumervil.

Blogger's note: Have a stat you want to share? Email or tweet at me at @mattvensel. If I use it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.

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