Re: Congratulations to Ravens, Lewis
posted at 1/21/2013 9:03 PM EST
This was a second half beatdown. I've seen lots of games that could have gone either way at the end, and this wasn't one of them.
I'm a firm believer that plays on certain sections of the field are bigger than other plays. The Patriots had this figured out long ago. That's why their defense was 29th or so in pass protection year after year but they were first in point differential. In this game, Baltimore figured it out, and well. New England put up 28 first downs and 428 yards, but they only scored 13 points. Baltimore managed to stop them consistently around the 40 or 35 yard line, just out of field goal range, or Baltimore stuffed them one first down before the goal line, better known as in the red zone. In general, the NFL stands for Not For Long, and whatever the Patriots do, some other team can learn sooner or later. It's a tribute to Bill Belichick that he and his staff keep coming up with brand new stuff year after year for 11 years.
Baltimore has an (old) experienced defense and they keep it simple. I suspect that other defenses such as Houston's start to overthink in the second and third quarters. Baltimore's D didn't overthink and fall apart. They seemed to adjust well at halftime to New England's uptempo.
I've occasionally seen offenses adjust well to New England's defense as a game progresses. In this case Flacco came out throwing 100% short passes early in the second half. Baltimore's run was abandoned. So were long passes. When New England finally started adjusting to the 100% short pass regimen, Baltimore's full offense opened up.
New England lost a bunch of its moving parts. Their main cornerback went off. Chandler Jones went off and was replaced by a guy just off the practice squad. Ridley went off. Having said that, Baltimore took advantage.
As for Lewis, he played, slow foot speed, broken finger and all.