Coming off of a season worst 136 penalty yards on their 2nd highest penalty count of the season (12), the Ravens should be looking for any answer to the blatant penalty problems. After all, when your 8.4 accepted penalties per game ranks 2nd in the NFL, and 72.9 penalty yards per game ranks 5th in the league, clearly you’re doing something wrong.
But here’s the thing: after doing some rooting around and searching for trends?
I’m struggling to find any.
So check out this completely unusual pattern in the week-by-week penalty log.
Not seeing it? A nerdy graph should help.
Since Week 4, the Ravens fluctuation in penalties on a weekly basis is devastatingly day and night. Double digit penalties one week, followed by single the next week, then spikes back up the week after again and the viscous cycle continues.
Home vs Away
While we can officially say there’s no rhyme or reason to the penalty disparity on a weekly basis, perhaps there’s something to be said about the Ravens at home as opposed to on the road. Do they lean one way or another in the dirty laundry department?
While it’s easy to point out that the 2 worst games for the Ravens, in terms of penalties, came on the road (Week 6 @ Giants, Week 11 @ Cowboys), we can also point out that the 2 best games were also away from M&T Bank Stadium (Week 2 @ Browns, Week 7 @ Jets).
Heck, their worst AND best game came in the same stadium in consecutive weeks!
Wins vs Losses
Maybe there’s a correlation to be found in victories and losses?
After all, most of these Ravens losses in 2016 have fans walking away mumbling “stupid penalties cost us the game,” so a progression would only be logical…. I think.
Aha! A legit trend!
The worst 3 games in terms of penalties for the Ravens have all resulted in losses. Not that this comes as any sort of a surprise, as giving away free yards typically doesn’t help a team’s cause on a weekly basis, but at least we can definitively say penalties equate to losses…
This really doesn’t validate that point. In their loss to the Jets, the Ravens only amassed 4 penalties for 35 yards. Meanwhile, in their win over the Steelers a few weeks back, the Ravens racked up 10 penalties for 94 yards. Doesn’t exactly sound like a convincing trend anymore, does it?
Are there any trends??
Of course there are! But what’s the fun in giving that up right away?
Check out the current record of the Ravens opposition vs penalties accrued by Baltimore in their match-up this season.
DRASTIC trend finally! Against teams .500 or under, the Ravens appear to fare well, but against teams with a win percentage over .500? They average double digit penalties, and over 100 yards in free field for the opponent.
So what does this mean exactly?
In one writer’s opinion (this one), this is clearly an indication that the Ravens do not struggle with discipline whatsoever.
It’s lack of talent!
The Ravens have matchup issues against bigger, better teams, and tend to get over-matched. Thus? Penalties. Look no further than the offensive holding penalties, where the Ravens have racked up 25 in a season where the league average is 15. That’s a -10 differential on a penalty that is typically the result of being over-matched.
Inversely, against sub .500 teams, the Ravens tend to keep their penalty count down, and walk away victorious more often than not.
Simply put, this 2016 version of the Ravens is good, not great, and not only does it show in their 5-5 record, but it also shows within the penalty books.
Especially when you consider the remainder of the schedule and their current records:
Bengals (x2): 3-6-1
Here’s to hoping the Ravens snap out of their talent-related penalty issues and soon, or we could be looking at a few more 10+ flag/ 100+ yard penalty games before the season concludes.
Surely that would turn John Harbaugh’s frown upside down.