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Thursday, December 16, 2010
Play-action will tell story for Saints, Ravens

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

When the New Orleans Saints play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, play-action passing is going to be a big factor.

That’s largely because of the fact that Baltimore uses play-action passing more than any team in the NFL. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Ravens have used play fakes on 30.8 percent of their total dropbacks and they’ve had a lot of success with it.

Off play-action, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco has completed 65.6 percent of his passes and averages 8.2 yards per attempt. He’s thrown for a league-best 10 touchdowns off play-action while being intercepted only once and has a 113.1 passer rating.

But that’s not necessarily bad news for the Saints. In fact, the New Orleans' defense has handled play-action pretty well. The Saints have seen play-action on only 15.3 percent of dropbacks by opponents.

Against play-action, the New Orleans defense has limited opposing passers to a 54.5 percent completion percentage and a 61.7 passer rating. The Saints have only allowed 5.2 yards per attempt on play-action and have given up only one touchdown pass and come up with two interceptions in those situations.