Ravens Report Card: Breaking Down The Ravens 34-31 Victory Over San Francisco

flaccoWhat a game.

The Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl Champions once again, holding off a furious 3rd quarter rally by the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31.

It was all Ravens early as they had San Francisco wobbly on the ropes when Jacoby Jones returned the opening 2nd half kickoff back 108 yards to give the Ravens a commanding 28-6 lead.

Then the Superdome went dark. Losing a majority of lights in the stadium, even the CBS Sports announcers were knocked off the air (which I’m sure some Ravens fans were happy about), the game was delayed 35 minutes while Superdome officials worked feverishly to restore power and get the game restarted. Once the game restarted, the Niners came out on fire, scoring 17 points in a matter of four minutes to pull to within 28-23 late in the 3rd quarter.

San Francisco outscored Baltimore 25-13 in the 2nd half, as a laugher quickly turned into the highly competitive game we all thought it would be. After a Justin Tucker 38-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 34-29 lead, it was up to a tired, but determined Ravens defense, the task of stopping the Niners one final time.

In a fitting way to end the era of Ray Lewis in Baltimore, the Ravens held the 49ers at the five-yard line in a dramatic goal line stand situation to get the ball back and essentially ice the game for the Ravens.

 

Quarterback: A

Joe Flacco capped off a masterful and dominate playoff stretch with a three touchdown performance in the Super Bowl. All Flacco did was join his boyhood idol Joe Montana for most touchdowns thrown in the playoffs without throwing an interception, finishing with 11. He had a QB rating of over 100 in each playoff game, finishing with a 124.2 rating.

Yeah, he’s pretty good. And if that wasn’t enough, he was also the game’s MVP as he finished 22-of-33 for 287 yards and zero turnovers.

The growth of Joe Flacco can be measured in so many ways. His poise in the pocket was better in the 2nd half of the season, but was on full display in the playoffs as his awareness has become much better with the offensive line blocking well. When he feels pressure collapsing the pocket, he steps up into the pocket to make some excellent throws which he did in this game.

Flacco doesn’t have blazing speed like Colin Kaepernick but he can move out of the pocket to buy himself time and make throws downfield like he did to Anquan Boldin for a 30-yard gain in the 1st quarter. Flacco evaded linebacker Ahmad Brooks and Boldin outmuscled Chris Culliver.

He hooked up with Boldin for what seems to be their signature pass and catch, on a 3rd-and-4 in the 1st quarter, Flacco timed the ball perfectly as Boldin beat the safety Donte Whitner for the first score of the game. When Flacco throws like that to Boldin, its nearly unstoppable.

On the 2nd score of the game in quarter two, Flacco made some tough throws to Ed Dickson who held on to the ball and then Dennis Pitta for the touchdown, again beating Whitner as Patrick Willis was late covering the tight end.

His third touchdown came to Jacoby Jones as we saw nice footwork from Flacco to step back into the pocket and find Jones streaking down the seam for the catch and score of 59 yards.

The audible by Flacco at the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-inches was gutsy, but it was the right call as he again found Boldin on the back shoulder who somehow caught the ball with the defenders arm inside of his arm to move the chains and eat clock. The maturation of Joe Flacco comes to full tilt.

Just an outstanding performance from Joe Flacco who is ready to have the Brinks truck backed up to his house any day now.

Running Backs: C+

Overall, an uneven performance from this unit. Ray Rice lost a fumble on a catch out of the back field deep in their own territory and only rushed for 59 yards. Rice was hesitant at times when he ran as the Niners swarmed him instead of taking the action to them and running with force. When the holes were there, Rice doesn’t delay, but he was having difficulty creating them on his own.

Rice was much more effective in the passing game, catching only four balls for 19 yards, but those catches helped the Ravens extend drives and get first downs. For example, his catch on a 3rd-and-4 with 4:47 left in the 2nd quarter where he caught a pass in the flat, turned it back inside and snuck past NaVorro Bowman who whiffed on Rice in man-to-man coverage.

Bernard Pierce was the opposite as he grinded out 33 yards, but as he’s done this season in his emergence, runs decisively and hits the holes running, taking on the linebackers that meet him. Pierce gets the calls on tough, short-down situations and usually comes out on top as the Ravens like to run him up the gut and behind Vonta Leach who led the way. Leach was eating up defenders in the 2nd half as Pierce and Rice ran behind him for yardage.

Both Rice and Pierce did a nice job in their pass protection blocking, teaming with the offensive line to keep Flacco upright and mobile.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B

Anquan Boldin was the man in the playoffs. Boldin had a couple tough drops, but redeemed himself with his 4th touchdown catch of the postseason which came much the same way it did against the New England Patriots. The Ravens went five wide in their set as Boldin faked an inside route and got behind NaVorro Bowman, beating safety Donte Whitner for the score. Boldin finished the night with six catches for 104 yards.

San Francisco sat back in coverage, not allowing themselves to get beat deep, so Flacco used his receivers and tight ends effectively in the middle of the field with intermediate passes. Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson carved up the Niners with some catches in the middle of the field, as Ed Dickson held onto one throw from Flacco for 23 yards. Pitta was involved more so in the 1st half, finishing the game with four catches for 26 yards.

Torrey Smith had a relatively quiet Super Bowl, catching just two passes for 35 yards, including one catch that went for 20 yards. Smith very well could have scored right at the end of the 1st quarter if not for contact from cornerback Chris Culliver who did that a lot in the game. Smith is too fast to not catch a ball placed as perfectly as it was from Flacco. It was a missed call.

Jacoby Jones very well could have won MVP honors. In addition to his kick return, Jones – the New Orleans native – caught his one pass of the night for a 59-yard touchdown reception. He split Culliver and the safety Whitner for a one-one-one matchup on his route because Whitner came up to defend Boldin. Again, thanks Houston for giving up on Jacoby Jones.

Offensive Line: A

The offensive line again was outstanding. Flacco was sacked twice in the game, but they neutralized the 49ers ferocious front seven. Aldon Smith was non-existent in this game thanks to a great job from Bryant McKinnie. The big man didn’t allow Smith to put him on his heels and held his own as Smith tried a variety of moves around him. Michael Oher held his own as well on the times Smith matched up on him.

There is no one who can block Kelechi Osemele right now, he’s been that good. The Ravens ran behind him and McKinnie as the duo sealed off blockers. Marshal Yanda was solid and helped to target the 49ers linebackers with blocking. Matt Birk finally gets a Super Bowl ring and played a solid game up the middle for the Ravens as he had Ray McDonald and Isaac Sopoaga over top of him.

The one mistake I saw is on Ahmad Brooks’ sack, there was confusion with who blocked him as McKinnie missed him.

Defensive Line: B

In my Playoff Primer, I mentioned that the Ravens defensive line needed to maintain gap integrity and stay home on their assignments and they did just that, handling Colin Kaepernick and the pistol offense looks. Before leaving the game with a knee injury, Haloti Ngata gave the 49ers offensive line problems as he was even beating their double teams. Ma’ake Kemoeatu filled in as did Terrence Cody and DeAngelo Tyson with Ngata out but the Ravens didn’t generate quick enough pressure up front to get sacks.

Art Jones was solid and has really upped his game tremendously this season blossoming in his third year with Baltimore. Art Jones recorded one sack,  tripping up Kaepernick who stayed with the play and earlier, recovering the fumble forced by Courtney Upshaw.

The biggest thing is the Ravens refused to be worked by the 49ers athletic offensive line and held their own, even after the injury to Ngata when the 49ers attacked the middle of the field.

Linebackers: C+

The 49ers game plan was to attack the middle of the field and they did. They ran routes and blockers right at Ray Lewis who couldn’t get to the ball quick enough and missed tackles in space. Lewis did finish with seven tackles. Dannell Ellerbe was excellent in coverage finishing with nine total tackles. He wrapped up pretty well in space, but he along with Ray Lewis had no answer for Vernon Davis over the middle as he caught six passes for 104 yards.

Courtney Upshaw showed his talents, punching the ball out from LaMichael James, forcing the fumble which Art Jones recovered. Ravens defenders are excellent when another guy has the guy with the ball wrapped up to try and punch the football out.

Paul Kruger recorded two sacks and three tackles. His level of play will bring him a lot of money on the market. He got a lot of push and hurried Kaepernick at times. Terrell Suggs got pressure on the other side too and played consistently despite only recording two tackles.

Secondary: C+

The Ravens secondary had a bend but don’t break mentality and did a nice job of limiting their explosive weapons on the offensive side in the 1st half. The corner play didn’t allow much behind them, very good communication by the safeties and corners. Cary Williams played pretty well on the ball, coming back on a route ran by Randy Moss that he nearly picked off right before halftime. Williams had tight coverage on Ginn Jr. in the 3rd quarter deflecting a pass away in the endzone. Corey Graham stayed with Michael Crabtree as the Niners tried to take him deep, good coverage mostly from him.

New Orleans native Ed Reed had an interception in the 1st half and he finally gets the ring he deserves. Bernard Pollard was strong in run coverage but on Crabtree’s touchdown, both Pollard and Williams missed tackles, going for the hit instead of the tackle.

More so in the 2nd half, the Ravens went to zone coverage so the 49ers racked up a good chunk of yardage, keeping the receivers in front of them. But they didn’t allow anything over the top, and that was important.

Special Teams: B+

Jacoby Jones showed out in his hometown. What a night for him. The longest kick return in Super Bowl history also tied his own mark of longest kick return in regular season as well. Baltimore fans everywhere thank the Houston Texans for letting this guy go.

Coverage in punts and kicks were pretty solid as they didn’t allow Ted Ginn, Jr. to get going until a terrible punt in the 3rd quarter which he ran back 32 yards to set up another San Fran touchdown. Sam Koch didn’t have a very good postseason after recording career highs in numbers during the regular season.

Justin Tucker converted two field goals and four extra points. The fake field goal attempt was a look the Ravens liked and nearly worked, but considering its the Super Bowl and the caliber opponent playing, taking the three points there was the smart move. Had the Ravens lost, that play would have come back to haunt them.

Coaching: A

This team was ready to play. Kudos to John Harbaugh who knows how to get his teams up for games. The fake FG attempt was ballsy and yet, baffling. I guess the Ravens were trying to send a message that they weren’t going to get away from being aggressive, but it really could have hurt them. Luckily it didn’t. Jim Caldwell drew up a nice game plan. They had the 49ers thrown off most of the game. They threw when San Fran expected run, they ran when the Niners expected pass.

Defensively, the Ravens had a bend but don’t break way about them as they usually do. They didn’t allow the 49ers to take control of this game and had a goal line stand that will be forever remembered in Super Bowl lore.

Final Take

An amazing season comes to a close. This Ravens team has given fans the memory of a lifetime, as they battled back each time in the playoffs to get the ultimate job done. They could have packed it in when the Niners made their furious comeback when the Ravens just looked flat, but they didn’t. It was all up to the Ravens defense to make one last stop and they did. The Lombardi Trophy comes home.

 

Matt Lund is a contributor for BaltimoreSportsReport.com and co-host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @MattCLund.

Matt Lund is a co-host of the BSR Podcast and regular contributor to BSR. A Towson University alum, Matt is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan and native of Charm City working in sports broadcasting.

23 Comments

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  3. spy

    February 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

    The 49ers should never had been allowed to get back in this game , the coaching is very suspect on this level and needs to be fixed real fast or next year will be a terrible mess,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Harbaugh almost let this one get away , he still has plenty to learn and does not deserve an A , probable a B-,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    The players willed this win , Harbaugh had nothing to do with it……………..he was just along for the ride , lucky man……………

  4. Dude

    February 6, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Where are all the naysayers who said this team couldn’t win with the coach and QB we have .. MGW, Intimidator, Ravens2488 … Whats wrong, cat’s got your tongue?

    • spy

      February 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

      The Ravens were very , very lucky,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Harbaugh is the luckiest coach I have ever seen,,,,,,they won in spite of him , the veterans and an improving Flacco won this ring because their coach didn’t get in the way,,,,,,,,,,,I can list ten coaching errors he made in this game and every game,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,lucky , lucky , lucky,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,having said that , I’m very happy for the players and our deadly city (3 stabbings yesterday)………………………Go Ravens…………………..

      • Dude

        February 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm

        I guess luck wins all championships and luck also wins for five years straight. Yeah right. Happy to say i don’t agree, but then again i usually do not agree with the pessimistic views of Baltimore fans and especially don’t agree with our fans that continue to pretend to know the ins/outs of any sport. I’ll give you the credit for the passion, but it doesn’t make anyone an expert sitting from the couch. This is a whole team effort and the whole team deserves credit for the Super Bowl. From top to bottom, Congrats to the Ravens!

        • spy

          February 7, 2013 at 8:44 am

          I’m as happy as you they won this thing , but I am the better expert , just ask me………………

          • Dude

            February 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

            Ok, I’ll give you this .. a better comedian .. haha.

    • Intimidator

      February 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm

      Dude aka Spy aka Jimmy Dundalk aka Mystery Man… First up Spy let me say you look good in that red Corvette waving…

      Now, I will eat a little crow and say I was wrong, the Ravens did win with Flacco and Harbaugh… However…

      They won despite Harbaugh… Did you know he wanted to call goal line blitzes? Yes, he was telling Pees, the Defensive Coordinator to blitz on goal line and Pees knew this was wrong and did not call the plays Harbaugh wanted. So Harbaugh, going out of his realm of expertise was over-ruling Pees. Lucky Pees didn’t listen…

      Do you think Flacco will duplicate that playoff effort again? Or will re revert back to the Flacco of the regular season? I say he reverts back to the regular season. What Flacco did was outstanding considering his receivers made him look terrific! Wasn’t that a short pass that Jones had to wait for then fell down to catch? And that pass against the Broncos, didn’t Jones have to wait for that also? Where’s that strong arm of Flaccos? And how many times did Boldin make Flacco look great? Don’t put as much stock in Flacco as you are. His receivers made him look great.

      But that’s neither here nor there… I was wrong, I did say the Ravens can’t win the Super Bowl with Flacco and Harbaugh and they did.

      • Dude

        February 7, 2013 at 9:49 am

        Wow, Intimidator said he was wrong .. albeit throwing darts at the same time. This is newswire material…

    • MGW

      February 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Dude,

      Sorry I’ve been away. Was out shopping for my Super Bowl gear.

      If you are waiting for me to say I was wrong about Harbaugh, here it is…

      I was wrong about Harbaugh. The guy got it done and I didn’t believe he had what it took. The five playoff appearances, combined with 3 AFC Championship games, an AFC Title, and a World’s championship shuts me up now and forever about Harbaugh.

      There you go, Dude. You gotta “man up” when you’re wrong and I hope I did.

  5. spy

    February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I agree with Intimidator 100%,,,,,,,,,,,,I also would like to know how he saw that picture of me in my little red corvette ? Maybe you are the real SPY……………..

    p.s. I’m not Dude…………….or mystery man , i am jim from dundalk……………….

  6. The Intimidator

    February 10, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Spy, The Intimidator can find out quite a bit of things… I used to have a Cocker Spaniel also? The Vette does look nice, especially with T-Tops… The “Burt Reynolds” porn mustache though could go either way…

    • spy

      February 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Thank you very much , now I know you are checking out family or friends face book site,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I’m just glad you can’t get into the good ones,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I do look good in the vette though , it’s pretty fast also , engine is a 350/350 tweaked to pushing out 400 HP , it has the last year of the TH400 and also the last year for the HP hood that pulls air from the outside to cool the Carb and the last year they put the ‘stingray’ logo on the vette until this year…………by the way , I also put cut-outs on it , if you know what they are………………

  7. The Intimidator

    February 12, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Spy, you never know what I know… And just so you know, you come a long way in my and MGW’s book… We now enjoy your writing and consider you part of the “Team”…

    I had a 2010 black Vette but got rid of it last year…

    And another thing, are you and Chow dating? The guy loves you big time. Have you ever met the dude? He talks about being over your house spooning and having a bag of coins and a Snuggie… If you and Chow are dating, that’s cool…

    • spy

      February 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Thanks big guy,,,,,,,,,,,I have never met chow , I don’t know why he has a man crush on me , I really think he is yanking my chain ( so to speak),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,why did you get rid of the 2010 , they were really good looking and fast too……………..

  8. Chow S

    February 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    dundalk jim, why you say you no want meet chow? chow want dundalk jim and chow to palty like that guy, Plincess sing, palty like it 1994… chow no clank yankel. intimidatol can chow lide in you chevette? dundalk jim know he like chow. chow good looking guy. chow got pletty eyes and chow hail style look good. alot guy come to chow and want know who cut chow hail and if style guy give chow deal of buy one get one flee. chow palents say chow good looking that dundalk jim would want chow if dundalk jim see chow walk. chow walk the walk and chow speak the talk while chow walk. chow what people call, a dandy with hip candy. by way intimidatol chow coin bag so chow pay dundalk jim fol good night. chow no no pay he bitch like jim jam.

    • MGW

      February 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Chow, what happened to your picture?

  9. The Intimidator

    February 15, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Spy, got rid of the Vette for two reasons… I’m a big dude and it was a little cramped inside plus I have a bad back and it was killing me getting in and out. Actually wish I kept it and got another car but I also have a motorcycle that I was paying on also.

    Chow got your number Spy… You need to meet up with him one night…

    • spy

      February 15, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thanks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Once you are in the Vette there is nothing like it but it can be hard on the back and the buck,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,by the way , chow will never have my number , it takes him five or ten minutes to write in greek and takes me no time not to read it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,have a great day …………………..

  10. The Intimidator

    February 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Spy, agree on being behind the wheel… Problem with me is I love to drive fast. Once I got behind the wheel I was history. I had it blacked out. Black on black and I bought after market black rims. It was sweet… Had no issue with the payments… I do wish I kept it and bought a used car which I would have if I wasn’t paying on a bike also… But to be honest my bike comes first. There is nothing like being on a bike riding with your buddies with the wind in your face and not having a destination. Getting lost almost always happens because of taking back roads (a biker always avoids main roads because it’s not enjoyable) thru places like the hills of Western Maryland. Only issue was other drivers not seeing you (And my pipes are loud) and just coming into you. I had a shitload of near misses of people just coming over into my lane while I was next to them. My son even laid his bike down on the beltway because of this… And the comradarie is another thing. Nearly all bikers are brothers and will do anything for a fellow biker. I was on a long ride once and stopped on the side of a road just to get loose and stretch. About 5 minutes later a group of 3 bikers, whom I didn’t know, rode by, saw I was stopped and they stopped just to make sure I was ok. It’s that kind of brotherhood that gives hope to this screwed up country.

  11. Chow S

    February 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Chow no about brothelhood. Chow brothels with spy, mystely man, and MGW. Chow have brothels behind Dunking Donouts two. Chow also brothels with boys at YMCA dat ask Chow pull down he pants for laff.

  12. Chow S

    February 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    To Baltimol Spolt Lepotl – please lemove above message that impostel lote and put chow name on. that not flom leal me, chow. and whoevel lote that is sick talk about young boys. you sick bastald liting that stuff. asshole.