Ravens kick away chance at the Super Bowl; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Down a Field Goal with under 2 minutes remaining in regulation, the Ravens drove down the field with an opportunity to win or at-least force OT. Despite being hit with a pass in the chest, Evans was not able to secure a sure TD. Given the chance to kick the Ravens into OT, Cundiff missed from 32 yards out.
1) The Ravens defense stepped up immediately, forcing a 3 an out on the Patriots, on New England’s initial series. New England had started their drive on their 40 yard line, but were not able to advance the ball. On 3rd down, the Ravens defenders did a good job of taking away the short pass from Brady.
2) Getting around Solder off the edge, Kruger got Brady to the ground for a 5 yard loss. This play helped to keep the Patriots out of the end zone and limit them to a FG. This was a 5 minute +, 13 play, 50 yard drive for New England, but they did not find the end zone. That was a win for the Ravens defense.
3) With the Patriots up 3-0, and the Ravens having gone 3 and out on their first 3 possessions, Webb came up with an important pick with an athletic grab.
4) Following Webb’s pick, Baltimore used play-action to pick up 42 yards on a bomb to Smith down the field.
5) In one of the most important drives of his career, Flacco answered the Patriots initial TD, by marching the Ravens right back down the field. He found Evans, and Boldin for big gains, which began to help the running game. Most importantly he found Pitta for the TD. On that play Flacco rolled out, bought time, and got the ball to his TE. Getting the TD and not settling for 3 was huge.
5a) Rice picked up 3rd and 1 on that drive, with a strong 2nd effort.
6) With the Patriots up 13-10, the Ravens took over in the closing minutes of the 1st half. Facing a 3rd and 14, Flacco found Pitta for 15 yards and the 1st down. This was very important as you did not want to turn the ball back over to Brady with any time to maneuver, especially with New England getting the ball to start the 2nd half. When New England did take over, with just under a minute left, they elected to take a knee and burn out the clock.
7) The post-season emergence of Lee Evans continued, with Evans making his presence felt several times. On the Ravens first drive of the 2nd half, he had a vital grab on 3rd down.
8) Smith tied the game at 16, when he spun out of tackle, and ran down the sideline for the score. It was a good play getting out of the tackle, it was a great play when he found the end zone.
9) LaQuan Williams made a huge play with his strip of Woodhead on the Patriots KR.
10) Brady would punch the ball in on 4th down, but Lewis had a great effort stopping New England on the previous down.
11) What a play from Pollard and Smith on the interception. Pollard made a great play getting his hand on the ball, and Smith showed outstanding reactions making the catch and on the return.
12) It did not really show in the box score, but Ricky Williams picked up some tough yardage on his carries.
13) Ed Reed gave the Ravens offense one last opportunity, with a superior stop on 3rd and 4 with under 2 minutes left.
14) The Ravens were strong on 3rd down, picking up 8 of their 15 opportunities.
15) Baltimore had 398 yards of offense. Flacco threw for 306 yards, completing 61% of his passes, and also ran for 27 more.
1) The initial 3 and out from Baltimore, provided good starting field position for New England.
2) Baltimore was forced to punt on their 2nd series as well, after not being able to pick up 3rd and 3. There were receivers open, but the pocket collapsed around Flacco.
3) Illegal contact from Webb wiped out the interception from Pollard.
4) The Ravens 3rd drive started with an attempted rush by Ricky Williams. Yanda got beat by Wilfork, causing the Ravens to lose 5 yards. On 3rd down, Wilfork collapsed the pocket and brought down Flacco for the sack.
5) After Cundiff tied the game at 3, the Patriots came back on the next series with a couple of first down runs by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Later on that drive, Ellerbe would be charged with a personal foul when he ripped off Green-Ellis’ helmet. Green-Ellis would eventually put the ball in the end zone for the first TD of the game, capping off a 10 play 75 yard drive. The ‘Law Firm’, averaged 3.7 yards per carry this year, but had 47 yards on his first 7 carries (6.7 ypc) today.
6) Facing 3rd and 3 at the Baltimore 49 with just over a minute remaining in the half, Dickson was not able to corral a pass which should have moved the chains.
7) The Ravens missed a number of tackles today. One of the more noticeable examples was the Patriots first series of the 2nd half, when Pollard failed to wrap-up on Hernandez on 3rd down.
8) Baltimore was able to put points on the board, following Woodhead’s fumble, but it felt like they had to settle for 3. Facing 3rd and 8 at the Patriots 9 yard line, Flacco was sacked and dropped back 12 yards. Would have liked to have seen the Ravens at-least have run the play successfully.
9) On Woodhead’s fumble, and on his subsequent KR he got good yardage on his returns.
10) Facing 3rd and 3 on the NE 30 yard line, the Ravens lost 3 yards. Forcing Baltimore into a decision on 4th down.
11) Flacco was sacked 3 times.
1) Flacco played a very strong game, but the interception never should have occurred. The replay showed 4 Patriots defenders in the vicinity of the intended receiver. Flacco forced the pass.
2) I know Cundiff was 1 of 6 from 50+ yards this year, but I think with 6 yards go, you absolutely needed to give him the opportunity to tie the game. If the Ravens were intent on going for it on 4th down, I would have preferred that they did not call a time out prior to the play.
3) Evans had to make that catch in the end zone. It him perfectly, Flacco did everything he could on that pass.
4) Cundiff was ultimately given his chance to tie the game, and failed. 32 yards? Really?