Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

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    Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

         Despite being written off by many as playoff fodder following that tough loss in Miami last week, the depleted Patriots somehow managed to glue and tape themselves together enough to beat what surprisingly appeared to be a disinterested Ravens team in Baltimore, 41-7. Though the final score is a bit deceptive, and a product of poor play (four (4) turnovers) by the Ravens, almost as much as good play by the Patriots, this performance still qualifies as a very impressive road win for New England. But, if the Pats' don't beat the Bills next week, it means nothing. With a win over Buffalo in Foxboro, the Patriots will earn a vital first round playoff bye...and have an extra week to lick their many wounds. Here are my grades: 

    I. OFFENSE: Aided by superlative play from the defensive unit, which repeatedly set them up in great field position, the "O" got on the go early, putting up 14 quick first quarter points. But, from that point on, the offense struggled to sustain drives,  until they put the game away in the 4th quarter with an old fashioned 48 yard, smash-mouth drive. 

    1.) QB: On an afternoon in which Tom Brady saw his TD pass record get broken by the hated Horseface, Tom's pedestrian stat line of 14 completions in 26 attempts for 172 yards and a TD may pale in comparision. Yet, the greatest QB of all time simply did what was needed to win, as usual...rather than concern himself with personal stats. After getting off to a hot first quarter start, leading his team on TD drives of 64 and 53 yards, respectively, the Ravens' "D" held Brady to just 8 completions in 18 attempts for 96 yards the remainder of the way. But the early damage done was too much for the Ravens to overcome. The big plays in those two TD drives were a 34 yard PI penalty against Ravens' CB Jimmy Smith, while trying to cover Julian Edelman...and a 34 yard catch and run by Danny Amendola of a short Brady toss over the middle. Having no need for  franctic fourth quarter heroics in this one was what kept Tom's stats down. He relied heavily on his running game in the first half (86 yards rushing), and in the closing stanza. That said, there were too many "three and outs" in the second half: GRADE: B;

    2.) RBs: That blasted injury bug struck again, as RB Shane Vereen limped off the field in the second half with a groin injury. Prior to that, Vereen had been held to just two (2) rushes for six (6) yards, and one four (4) yard pass reception, which resulted in a New England's second TD of the game. RB Brandon Bolden filled in for Vereen, and had two catches for 16 yards. RBs LeGarrette Blount (16 carries for 76 yards, and two (2) TDs), and Stevan Ridley (14 carries for 56 yards) gashed the Ravens' front seven, particularly in the second half: GRADE: B+;

    3.) OL: Though the overall pass protection could have been better, the Pats' patchwork OL dominated in the fourth quarter, during a game clinching 48 yard TD drive...accomplished entirely on the ground. Folks, anytime a teams' running game can churn out 142 rushing yards against a good defense...that's getting it done in the trenches: GRADE: A-;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Not much help from the Hoo-man in the passing game (one catch for nine (9) yards)...but a good overall job of blocking for the running game. WR Julian Edelman was targeted a game high 11 times, and had seven (7) catches for 77 yards...plus drew the aforementioned PI call, which set up the Pats' first TD. On the other hand, Danny Amendola was targeted only three (3) times, and had two (2) catches for 45 yards...including that huge 34 yard play, which set up the Pats' second TD. There was an Aaron Dobson citing...and he had one reception for 21 yards: GRADE: C+;  

    II. DEFENSE: Make no mistake about it...this unit was the main reason for the Pats' impressive win. This crew forced four (4) turnovers...two of which were returned for TDs, forced a turnover by downs after stopping the Ravens on the New England four (4) yard line on third and one and fourth and one plays, registered seven (7) QB hits and four (4) sacks, forced agoal line and shut down what little emblance there was to a Ravens' running game, in this unit's best overall performance of the season.

    1.) DL: Huge fourth and one stop by DE Rob Ninkovich (six tackles, three solos, and a sack) and Duron Harmon on Ray Rice...with asists from DT Sealver Saliga (four tackles, one solo, and a sack) and Brandon Spikes who clogged the middle, for all intents and purposes ended this game. This, and a gift fumble recovery by Chandler Jones in the end zone on a bad snap, were the main highlights of a superlative overall effort by this group. Their much maligned run defense stepped up, and held the Baltimore RBs to just 83 yards on 25 carries. Though there were some problems containing Baltimore back-up QB Tyrod Taylor in the pocket (three runs for 39 yards, including a 25 yard scamper), that was accomplished during garbage time. Credit veteran DE Andre Carter with two (2) more sacks, although one occurred when Ravens' QB Joe Flacco appearred to trip over a blade of grass: GRADE: A;

    2.) LBs: ILB Brandon Spikes was solid inside, with seven (7) tackles, including three (3) solos. Dont'a Hightower had six (6) tackles, including three (3) solos, and one key pass deflection in coverage. It occurred early in the first quarter, as Baltimore, trailing 7-0, had a first and 10 from their own 32 yard line. Ravens' QB Joe Flacco looked deep down the right sideline for WR Jacoby Jones. But Hightower made a very good drop back in coverage, placing himself in excellent position to defense the play, and possible come up with an interception. But, the ball deflected off of his hands, and into the hands of CB Logan Ryan. This pick set up the Patriots at their own 47 yard line, giving Brady and the Boys a short field. The offense responded with a 53 yard TD drive, putting the Pats up, 14-0. Jamie Collins also was active, with four (4) tackles, including three (3) solos: GRADE: A;

    3.) SECONDARY: After last week's horrible performance in Miami, this crew stepped up and played some ball. Against an explosive set of Ravens' WRs, they held that crew to three plays for over 20 yards...one of which came about due to a PI penalty on Steve Gregory. But, the worst play of the bunch was the 42 yard catch and run by Torrey Smith, allegedly covered by Duron Harmon, late in the third quarter. Save for the above mentioned red zone stop by the Pats' "D", and this play would have set up a Ravens' TD. Then, at around the 11:00 mark of the 4th quarter, the Pats' allowed the Ravens to convert on a 3rd and 17 from their own three (3) yard line, thanks to an off-sides penalty, and a 15 yard completion on a short pass to TE Dennis Pitta, who was "covered" by Tavon Wilson. That play, alond with the above mentioned PI call on Gregory for 23 yards, converted what would have been a punt from deep in Ravens' territory, to a Ravens' TD... cutting the New England lead to 20-7.  But, that aside, the secondary shut the Ravens down. The dangerous Torrey Smith was held to three (3) catches for 69 yards. Jacobi Jones had just one catch for 11 yards. The Ravens' TEs did some mostly inconsequential damage, with eight (8) catches for 78 yards. WR Marlon Brown added four (4) receptions for 51 yards...and the Ravens' RB tandum of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for five catches for 50 yards.  For the game, QB Joe Flacco was a modest 22/38 for 260, with two (2) killer interceptions. Both of those picks were made by CB Logan Ryan, who is enjoying a solid rookie season. The other Patriots' pick was thrown by back-up Ravens' QB Tyrod Taylor during garbage time, and was returned 74 yards by Tavon Wilson, for the final Patriots' score of the game. DB Kyle Arrington led the team in tackles with eight (8), including four (4) solos. Unfortunately, more on the injury front...as safety Devin McCourty left the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Folks, it wasn't perfect. But, in this era of liberalized passing rules, rare is the occasion where a secondary can hold an NFL offense to under ten points for an entire game: GRADE: A;

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Stephen Gostkowski was 2/2 on FGs, the longest of which was from 45 yards out. Punter Ryan Allen had too much work, with seven (7) punts...but averaged nearly 48 yards per kick. The Pats knew that, in Jacobi Jones, they would be dealing with one of, if not the best kick returner in the game. Jones averaged 31 yards on two kickoff returns...and nearly broke one. Jones lso returned four (4) punts for a combined 36 yards...including one 22 yard punt return. Fortunately, the damage done in this area by Jones did not have a great affect the game. Julian Edelman had one punt return for 11 yards: GRADE: B-;

    IV. COACHING: A magnificent job of getting his team taped up and ready to go by BB and his staff, coming off that extremely disappointing loss in Miami. Though having Tom Brady on your side is like a high tide which lifts all boats...how BB patched up and made do that defense and that OL is nothing short of remarkable. Though the media in all likelihood will award the Coach of the Year trophy to Kansas City's Andy Reid...we all know who the real Coach of the Year is, this year and every year. There's really nothing I can think of to complain or criticize this week, regarding the coaching staff. Though the offense did not play particularly well in the second half, they really didn't have to...as they were protecting a 20-0 lead. Then, in the 4th quarter, when the Ravens cut the lead to 20-7 and the defense held on downs, giving Brady and the Boys the ball at the Ravens' 48...the offense ran the ball down the Ravens' throats to ice the game. Other than beating the Horseface, this was by far the most satisfying win of the season: GRADE: A+;

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: Though that fourth down stop in the red zone was huge, that first quarter Logan Ryan interception on a the Flacco pass, that was deflected by Dont'a Hightower, set the tone for the game. It gave Brady and the Boys a short field, which they took full advantage of...giving the Patriots a quick 14-0 lead. 

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: The entire New England defensive unit needs to collectively take a bow. But, if forced to pick one player, I'll go with CB Logan Ryan, with his two (2) interceptions. Those picks led to 10 Patriots' points.

         Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331222033 

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.

         Merry Christmas, my friends!           

     

     

     

     
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    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    I agree with the grades for the most part.  Good stuff.  I loved Ryan's play but player of the game for me was Nink. That 4th down stop was beautiful to watch. 

     
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  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from saskpatsfan. Show saskpatsfan's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:

    How can you give the masterful way Brady handled the offense a B?   No INTs.  He played the game how it unraveled in front of him.  It's a huge reason why the D was able to be fresh all game long even with some guys going down.

    Bout time you give the D some attention, too.

    But, the fact you don't give the entire offense an A is beyond ridiculous.

    Offense: A

    Defense: A

    STs: A

    Coaching: A

     



    I thought overall the offense played a perfect clean road game so for that they deserve an A. Brady played a good game too but I felt some of his throws could have been better and got a little fidgety at times. I agree though. Coulda have been an A. 

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from trouts. Show trouts's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    TPat: Logan Ryan is a good choice but I'd also put Mankins right there with him. I loved it when the Patriots ran the ball right down the Ravens' throats every play, going right over the left side. I had issues with Cannon on the right side, who whiffed 3 times and also had a holding call.  I might have mentioned McCourty's 2 missed interception opportunities but your recap is excellent as usual. Thanks

     
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  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from trouts. Show trouts's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:

    In response to trouts' comment:

    TPat: Logan Ryan is a good choice but I'd also put Mankins right there with him. I loved it when the Patriots ran the ball right down the Ravens' throats every play, going right over the left side. I had issues with Cannon on the right side, who whiffed 3 times and also had a holding call.  I might have mentioned McCourty's 2 missed interception opportunities but your recap is excellent as usual. Thanks



    That wasn't holding.  In fact, all 3 of those holding calls were beyond iffy. I don't want to see Arrington armbarred in the backfield by Oher, unable to shake free because he's held, and then see those crap calls on us to get Baltimore back in the game, as creepy as that was.



    Yeah, you're probably right, cause at the time I thought they were make-up calls for having overturned the Amendola "fumble".

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from AZPAT. Show AZPAT's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:

    How can you give the masterful way Brady handled the offense a B?   No INTs.  He played the game how it unraveled in front of him.  It's a huge reason why the D was able to be fresh all game long even with some guys going down.

    Bout time you give the D some attention, too.

    But, the fact you don't give the entire offense an A is beyond ridiculous.

    Offense: A

    Defense: A

    STs: A

    Coaching: A

     



    Was at the game, but even I could see the dismal 2nd half performance. Place the "blame" on the players or the coaches, it was not a good exhibition. The D definitely bailed them out in the 2nd half.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to saskpatsfan's comment:

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:

    How can you give the masterful way Brady handled the offense a B?   No INTs.  He played the game how it unraveled in front of him.  It's a huge reason why the D was able to be fresh all game long even with some guys going down.

    Bout time you give the D some attention, too.

    But, the fact you don't give the entire offense an A is beyond ridiculous.

    Offense: A

    Defense: A

    STs: A

    Coaching: A

     



    I thought overall the offense played a perfect clean road game so for that they deserve an A. Brady played a good game too but I felt some of his throws could have been better and got a little fidgety at times. I agree though. Coulda have been an A. 



         I'm always pleased when Rusty disagrees with me. I become concerned on the very rare occasions when we agree.

         LOL!!! 

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from AZPAT. Show AZPAT's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

         Despite being written off by many as playoff fodder following that tough loss in Miami last week, the depleted Patriots somehow managed to glue and tape themselves together enough to beat what surprisingly appeared to be a disinterested Ravens team in Baltimore, 41-7. Though the final score is a bit deceptive, and a product of poor play (four (4) turnovers) by the Ravens, almost as much as good play by the Patriots, this performance still qualifies as a very impressive road win for New England. But, if the Pats' don't beat the Bills next week, it means nothing. With a win over Buffalo in Foxboro, the Patriots will earn a vital first round playoff bye...and have an extra week to lick their many wounds. Here are my grades: 

    I. OFFENSE: Aided by superlative play from the defensive unit, which repeatedly set them up in great field position, the "O" got on the go early, putting up 14 quick first quarter points. But, from that point on, the offense struggled to sustain drives,  until they put the game away in the 4th quarter with an old fashioned 48 yard, smash-mouth drive. 

    1.) QB: On an afternoon in which Tom Brady saw his TD pass record get broken by the hated Horseface, Tom's pedestrian stat line of 14 completions in 26 attempts for 172 yards and a TD may pale in comparision. Yet, the greatest QB of all time simply did what was needed to win, as usual...rather than concern himself with personal stats. After getting off to a hot first quarter start, leading his team on TD drives of 64 and 53 yards, respectively, the Ravens' "D" held Brady to just 8 completions in 18 attempts for 96 yards the remainder of the way. But the early damage done was too much for the Ravens to overcome. The big plays in those two TD drives were a 34 yard PI penalty against Ravens' CB Jimmy Smith, while trying to cover Julian Edelman...and a 34 yard catch and run by Danny Amendola of a short Brady toss over the middle. Having no need for  franctic fourth quarter heroics in this one was what kept Tom's stats down. He relied heavily on his running game in the first half (86 yards rushing), and in the closing stanza. That said, there were too many "three and outs" in the second half: GRADE: B;

    2.) RBs: That blasted injury bug struck again, as RB Shane Vereen limped off the field in the second half with a groin injury. Prior to that, Vereen had been held to just two (2) rushes for six (6) yards, and one four (4) yard pass reception, which resulted in a New England's second TD of the game. RB Brandon Bolden filled in for Vereen, and had two catches for 16 yards. RBs LeGarrette Blount (16 carries for 76 yards, and two (2) TDs), and Stevan Ridley (14 carries for 56 yards) gashed the Ravens' front seven, particularly in the second half: GRADE: B+;

    3.) OL: Though the overall pass protection could have been better, the Pats' patchwork OL dominated in the fourth quarter, during a game clinching 48 yard TD drive...accomplished entirely on the ground. Folks, anytime a teams' running game can churn out 142 rushing yards against a good defense...that's getting it done in the trenches: GRADE: A-;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Not much help from the Hoo-man in the passing game (one catch for nine (9) yards)...but a good overall job of blocking for the running game. WR Julian Edelman was targeted a game high 11 times, and had seven (7) catches for 77 yards...plus drew the aforementioned PI call, which set up the Pats' first TD. On the other hand, Danny Amendola was targeted only three (3) times, and had two (2) catches for 45 yards...including that huge 34 yard play, which set up the Pats' second TD. There was an Aaron Dobson citing...and he had one reception for 21 yards: GRADE: C+;  

    II. DEFENSE: Make no mistake about it...this unit was the main reason for the Pats' impressive win. This crew forced four (4) turnovers...two of which were returned for TDs, forced a turnover by downs after stopping the Ravens on the New England four (4) yard line on third and one and fourth and one plays, registered seven (7) QB hits and four (4) sacks, forced agoal line and shut down what little emblance there was to a Ravens' running game, in this unit's best overall performance of the season.

    1.) DL: Huge fourth and one stop by DE Rob Ninkovich (six tackles, three solos, and a sack) and Duron Harmon on Ray Rice...with asists from DT Sealver Saliga (four tackles, one solo, and a sack) and Brandon Spikes who clogged the middle, for all intents and purposes ended this game. This, and a gift fumble recovery by Chandler Jones in the end zone on a bad snap, were the main highlights of a superlative overall effort by this group. Their much maligned run defense stepped up, and held the Baltimore RBs to just 83 yards on 25 carries. Though there were some problems containing Baltimore back-up QB Tyrod Taylor in the pocket (three runs for 39 yards, including a 25 yard scamper), that was accomplished during garbage time. Credit veteran DE Andre Carter with two (2) more sacks, although one occurred when Ravens' QB Joe Flacco appearred to trip over a blade of grass: GRADE: A;

    2.) LBs: ILB Brandon Spikes was solid inside, with seven (7) tackles, including three (3) solos. Dont'a Hightower had six (6) tackles, including three (3) solos, and one key pass deflection in coverage. It occurred early in the first quarter, as Baltimore, trailing 7-0, had a first and 10 from their own 32 yard line. Ravens' QB Joe Flacco looked deep down the right sideline for WR Jacoby Jones. But Hightower made a very good drop back in coverage, placing himself in excellent position to defense the play, and possible come up with an interception. But, the ball deflected off of his hands, and into the hands of CB Logan Ryan. This pick set up the Patriots at their own 47 yard line, giving Brady and the Boys a short field. The offense responded with a 53 yard TD drive, putting the Pats up, 14-0. Jamie Collins also was active, with four (4) tackles, including three (3) solos: GRADE: A;

    3.) SECONDARY: After last week's horrible performance in Miami, this crew stepped up and played some ball. Against an explosive set of Ravens' WRs, they held that crew to three plays for over 20 yards...one of which came about due to a PI penalty on Steve Gregory. But, the worst play of the bunch was the 42 yard catch and run by Torrey Smith, allegedly covered by Duron Harmon, late in the third quarter. Save for the above mentioned red zone stop by the Pats' "D", and this play would have set up a Ravens' TD. Then, at around the 11:00 mark of the 4th quarter, the Pats' allowed the Ravens to convert on a 3rd and 17 from their own three (3) yard line, thanks to an off-sides penalty, and a 15 yard completion on a short pass to TE Dennis Pitta, who was "covered" by Tavon Wilson. That play, alond with the above mentioned PI call on Gregory for 23 yards, converted what would have been a punt from deep in Ravens' territory, to a Ravens' TD... cutting the New England lead to 20-7.  But, that aside, the secondary shut the Ravens down. The dangerous Torrey Smith was held to three (3) catches for 69 yards. Jacobi Jones had just one catch for 11 yards. The Ravens' TEs did some mostly inconsequential damage, with eight (8) catches for 78 yards. WR Marlon Brown added four (4) receptions for 51 yards...and the Ravens' RB tandum of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for five catches for 50 yards.  For the game, QB Joe Flacco was a modest 22/38 for 260, with two (2) killer interceptions. Both of those picks were made by CB Logan Ryan, who is enjoying a solid rookie season. The other Patriots' pick was thrown by back-up Ravens' QB Tyrod Taylor during garbage time, and was returned 74 yards by Tavon Wilson, for the final Patriots' score of the game. DB Kyle Arrington led the team in tackles with eight (8), including four (4) solos. Unfortunately, more on the injury front...as safety Devin McCourty left the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Folks, it wasn't perfect. But, in this era of liberalized passing rules, rare is the occasion where a secondary can hold an NFL offense to under ten points for an entire game: GRADE: A;

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Stephen Gostkowski was 2/2 on FGs, the longest of which was from 45 yards out. Punter Ryan Allen had too much work, with seven (7) punts...but averaged nearly 48 yards per kick. The Pats knew that, in Jacobi Jones, they would be dealing with one of, if not the best kick returner in the game. Jones averaged 31 yards on two kickoff returns...and nearly broke one. Jones lso returned four (4) punts for a combined 36 yards...including one 22 yard punt return. Fortunately, the damage done in this area by Jones did not have a great affect the game. Julian Edelman had one punt return for 11 yards: GRADE: B-;

    IV. COACHING: A magnificent job of getting his team taped up and ready to go by BB and his staff, coming off that extremely disappointing loss in Miami. Though having Tom Brady on your side is like a high tide which lifts all boats...how BB patched up and made do that defense and that OL is nothing short of remarkable. Though the media in all likelihood will award the Coach of the Year trophy to Kansas City's Andy Reid...we all know who the real Coach of the Year is, this year and every year. There's really nothing I can think of to complain or criticize this week, regarding the coaching staff. Though the offense did not play particularly well in the second half, they really didn't have to...as they were protecting a 20-0 lead. Then, in the 4th quarter, when the Ravens cut the lead to 20-7 and the defense held on downs, giving Brady and the Boys the ball at the Ravens' 48...the offense ran the ball down the Ravens' throats to ice the game. Other than beating the Horseface, this was by far the most satisfying win of the season: GRADE: A+;

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: Though that fourth down stop in the red zone was huge, that first quarter Logan Ryan interception on a the Flacco pass, that was deflected by Dont'a Hightower, set the tone for the game. It gave Brady and the Boys a short field, which they took full advantage of...giving the Patriots a quick 14-0 lead. 

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: The entire New England defensive unit needs to collectively take a bow. But, if forced to pick one player, I'll go with CB Logan Ryan, with his two (2) interceptions. Those picks led to 10 Patriots' points.

         Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331222033 

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.

         Merry Christmas, my friends!           

     

     

     



    Tex,

     

    Was at teh game, adn you're right there with this. But, I have a few more grades I feel teh need to hand out:

     

    BEER:  C+  I've had colder, even at a tailgater

    STADIUM FOOD:  C   Hot dogs were cold, cold stuff was warm. Confusion reigned supreme!

    FAN PARTICIPATION:  D  Cheered when a pass was actually caught by one of their own receivers. (As I left the stadium wearing my fine Patriot gear, not a single one actually said "nice game", heartfelt or begrudingly. I don't think Santa has enuf coal to go around for this bunch, especially if the EPA has their say. Had the Mrs with me, but didn't fear for her safety. She's insured.)

    REFS : D  (Surprised you didn't mention the Hankie Fest right before the half, with the ball spot moved more times and faster than the Dow Jones if it was announced that a Big Pharma company found the real/undisputed cure for cancer.) My God! It was like seeing a make up call for a make up call for a make up call for a bad call.

     

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

     
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    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    Good grades.

     
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    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to AZPAT's comment:

    In response to TexasPat's comment:

         Despite being written off by many as playoff fodder following that tough loss in Miami last week, the depleted Patriots somehow managed to glue and tape themselves together enough to beat what surprisingly appeared to be a disinterested Ravens team in Baltimore, 41-7. Though the final score is a bit deceptive, and a product of poor play (four (4) turnovers) by the Ravens, almost as much as good play by the Patriots, this performance still qualifies as a very impressive road win for New England. But, if the Pats' don't beat the Bills next week, it means nothing. With a win over Buffalo in Foxboro, the Patriots will earn a vital first round playoff bye...and have an extra week to lick their many wounds. Here are my grades: 

    I. OFFENSE: Aided by superlative play from the defensive unit, which repeatedly set them up in great field position, the "O" got on the go early, putting up 14 quick first quarter points. But, from that point on, the offense struggled to sustain drives,  until they put the game away in the 4th quarter with an old fashioned 48 yard, smash-mouth drive. 

    1.) QB: On an afternoon in which Tom Brady saw his TD pass record get broken by the hated Horseface, Tom's pedestrian stat line of 14 completions in 26 attempts for 172 yards and a TD may pale in comparision. Yet, the greatest QB of all time simply did what was needed to win, as usual...rather than concern himself with personal stats. After getting off to a hot first quarter start, leading his team on TD drives of 64 and 53 yards, respectively, the Ravens' "D" held Brady to just 8 completions in 18 attempts for 96 yards the remainder of the way. But the early damage done was too much for the Ravens to overcome. The big plays in those two TD drives were a 34 yard PI penalty against Ravens' CB Jimmy Smith, while trying to cover Julian Edelman...and a 34 yard catch and run by Danny Amendola of a short Brady toss over the middle. Having no need for  franctic fourth quarter heroics in this one was what kept Tom's stats down. He relied heavily on his running game in the first half (86 yards rushing), and in the closing stanza. That said, there were too many "three and outs" in the second half: GRADE: B;

    2.) RBs: That blasted injury bug struck again, as RB Shane Vereen limped off the field in the second half with a groin injury. Prior to that, Vereen had been held to just two (2) rushes for six (6) yards, and one four (4) yard pass reception, which resulted in a New England's second TD of the game. RB Brandon Bolden filled in for Vereen, and had two catches for 16 yards. RBs LeGarrette Blount (16 carries for 76 yards, and two (2) TDs), and Stevan Ridley (14 carries for 56 yards) gashed the Ravens' front seven, particularly in the second half: GRADE: B+;

    3.) OL: Though the overall pass protection could have been better, the Pats' patchwork OL dominated in the fourth quarter, during a game clinching 48 yard TD drive...accomplished entirely on the ground. Folks, anytime a teams' running game can churn out 142 rushing yards against a good defense...that's getting it done in the trenches: GRADE: A-;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Not much help from the Hoo-man in the passing game (one catch for nine (9) yards)...but a good overall job of blocking for the running game. WR Julian Edelman was targeted a game high 11 times, and had seven (7) catches for 77 yards...plus drew the aforementioned PI call, which set up the Pats' first TD. On the other hand, Danny Amendola was targeted only three (3) times, and had two (2) catches for 45 yards...including that huge 34 yard play, which set up the Pats' second TD. There was an Aaron Dobson citing...and he had one reception for 21 yards: GRADE: C+;  

    II. DEFENSE: Make no mistake about it...this unit was the main reason for the Pats' impressive win. This crew forced four (4) turnovers...two of which were returned for TDs, forced a turnover by downs after stopping the Ravens on the New England four (4) yard line on third and one and fourth and one plays, registered seven (7) QB hits and four (4) sacks, forced agoal line and shut down what little emblance there was to a Ravens' running game, in this unit's best overall performance of the season.

    1.) DL: Huge fourth and one stop by DE Rob Ninkovich (six tackles, three solos, and a sack) and Duron Harmon on Ray Rice...with asists from DT Sealver Saliga (four tackles, one solo, and a sack) and Brandon Spikes who clogged the middle, for all intents and purposes ended this game. This, and a gift fumble recovery by Chandler Jones in the end zone on a bad snap, were the main highlights of a superlative overall effort by this group. Their much maligned run defense stepped up, and held the Baltimore RBs to just 83 yards on 25 carries. Though there were some problems containing Baltimore back-up QB Tyrod Taylor in the pocket (three runs for 39 yards, including a 25 yard scamper), that was accomplished during garbage time. Credit veteran DE Andre Carter with two (2) more sacks, although one occurred when Ravens' QB Joe Flacco appearred to trip over a blade of grass: GRADE: A;

    2.) LBs: ILB Brandon Spikes was solid inside, with seven (7) tackles, including three (3) solos. Dont'a Hightower had six (6) tackles, including three (3) solos, and one key pass deflection in coverage. It occurred early in the first quarter, as Baltimore, trailing 7-0, had a first and 10 from their own 32 yard line. Ravens' QB Joe Flacco looked deep down the right sideline for WR Jacoby Jones. But Hightower made a very good drop back in coverage, placing himself in excellent position to defense the play, and possible come up with an interception. But, the ball deflected off of his hands, and into the hands of CB Logan Ryan. This pick set up the Patriots at their own 47 yard line, giving Brady and the Boys a short field. The offense responded with a 53 yard TD drive, putting the Pats up, 14-0. Jamie Collins also was active, with four (4) tackles, including three (3) solos: GRADE: A;

    3.) SECONDARY: After last week's horrible performance in Miami, this crew stepped up and played some ball. Against an explosive set of Ravens' WRs, they held that crew to three plays for over 20 yards...one of which came about due to a PI penalty on Steve Gregory. But, the worst play of the bunch was the 42 yard catch and run by Torrey Smith, allegedly covered by Duron Harmon, late in the third quarter. Save for the above mentioned red zone stop by the Pats' "D", and this play would have set up a Ravens' TD. Then, at around the 11:00 mark of the 4th quarter, the Pats' allowed the Ravens to convert on a 3rd and 17 from their own three (3) yard line, thanks to an off-sides penalty, and a 15 yard completion on a short pass to TE Dennis Pitta, who was "covered" by Tavon Wilson. That play, alond with the above mentioned PI call on Gregory for 23 yards, converted what would have been a punt from deep in Ravens' territory, to a Ravens' TD... cutting the New England lead to 20-7.  But, that aside, the secondary shut the Ravens down. The dangerous Torrey Smith was held to three (3) catches for 69 yards. Jacobi Jones had just one catch for 11 yards. The Ravens' TEs did some mostly inconsequential damage, with eight (8) catches for 78 yards. WR Marlon Brown added four (4) receptions for 51 yards...and the Ravens' RB tandum of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined for five catches for 50 yards.  For the game, QB Joe Flacco was a modest 22/38 for 260, with two (2) killer interceptions. Both of those picks were made by CB Logan Ryan, who is enjoying a solid rookie season. The other Patriots' pick was thrown by back-up Ravens' QB Tyrod Taylor during garbage time, and was returned 74 yards by Tavon Wilson, for the final Patriots' score of the game. DB Kyle Arrington led the team in tackles with eight (8), including four (4) solos. Unfortunately, more on the injury front...as safety Devin McCourty left the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Folks, it wasn't perfect. But, in this era of liberalized passing rules, rare is the occasion where a secondary can hold an NFL offense to under ten points for an entire game: GRADE: A;

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Stephen Gostkowski was 2/2 on FGs, the longest of which was from 45 yards out. Punter Ryan Allen had too much work, with seven (7) punts...but averaged nearly 48 yards per kick. The Pats knew that, in Jacobi Jones, they would be dealing with one of, if not the best kick returner in the game. Jones averaged 31 yards on two kickoff returns...and nearly broke one. Jones lso returned four (4) punts for a combined 36 yards...including one 22 yard punt return. Fortunately, the damage done in this area by Jones did not have a great affect the game. Julian Edelman had one punt return for 11 yards: GRADE: B-;

    IV. COACHING: A magnificent job of getting his team taped up and ready to go by BB and his staff, coming off that extremely disappointing loss in Miami. Though having Tom Brady on your side is like a high tide which lifts all boats...how BB patched up and made do that defense and that OL is nothing short of remarkable. Though the media in all likelihood will award the Coach of the Year trophy to Kansas City's Andy Reid...we all know who the real Coach of the Year is, this year and every year. There's really nothing I can think of to complain or criticize this week, regarding the coaching staff. Though the offense did not play particularly well in the second half, they really didn't have to...as they were protecting a 20-0 lead. Then, in the 4th quarter, when the Ravens cut the lead to 20-7 and the defense held on downs, giving Brady and the Boys the ball at the Ravens' 48...the offense ran the ball down the Ravens' throats to ice the game. Other than beating the Horseface, this was by far the most satisfying win of the season: GRADE: A+;

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: Though that fourth down stop in the red zone was huge, that first quarter Logan Ryan interception on a the Flacco pass, that was deflected by Dont'a Hightower, set the tone for the game. It gave Brady and the Boys a short field, which they took full advantage of...giving the Patriots a quick 14-0 lead. 

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: The entire New England defensive unit needs to collectively take a bow. But, if forced to pick one player, I'll go with CB Logan Ryan, with his two (2) interceptions. Those picks led to 10 Patriots' points.

         Here are the game stats: http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331222033 

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome.

         Merry Christmas, my friends!           

     

     

     



    Tex,

     

    Was at teh game, adn you're right there with this. But, I have a few more grades I feel teh need to hand out:

     

    BEER:  C+  I've had colder, even at a tailgater

    STADIUM FOOD:  C   Hot dogs were cold, cold stuff was warm. Confusion reigned supreme!

    FAN PARTICIPATION:  D  Cheered when a pass was actually caught by one of their own receivers. (As I left the stadium wearing my fine Patriot gear, not a single one actually said "nice game", heartfelt or begrudingly. I don't think Santa has enuf coal to go around for this bunch, especially if the EPA has their say. Had the Mrs with me, but didn't fear for her safety. She's insured.)

    REFS : D  (Surprised you didn't mention the Hankie Fest right before the half, with the ball spot moved more times and faster than the Dow Jones if it was announced that a Big Pharma company found the real/undisputed cure for cancer.) My God! It was like seeing a make up call for a make up call for a make up call for a bad call.

     

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!




    At least you left without being attacked. A couple of years ago brother and his 12 year old son were asked to leave in the 3rd because an undercover overheard a half dozen drunks who were planning to follow them and beat them up after the game.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to AZPAT's comment:



    Tex,

     

    Was at the game, and you're right there with this. But, I have a few more grades I feel teh need to hand out:

     

    BEER:  C+  I've had colder, even at a tailgater

    STADIUM FOOD:  C   Hot dogs were cold, cold stuff was warm. Confusion reigned supreme!

    FAN PARTICIPATION:  D  Cheered when a pass was actually caught by one of their own receivers. (As I left the stadium wearing my fine Patriot gear, not a single one actually said "nice game", heartfelt or begrudingly. I don't think Santa has enuf coal to go around for this bunch, especially if the EPA has their say. Had the Mrs with me, but didn't fear for her safety. She's insured.)

    RESPONSE: I agree that Santa doesn't have enough coal to pass out to those Buzzard boosters.But, it was nice to see the Patriots drop a couple of truck loads on them...especially after what happened last year in the AFC title game. I only wish that this win by the Pats had officially eliminated them from the play-offs.

    REFS : D  (Surprised you didn't mention the Hankie Fest right before the half, with the ball spot moved more times and faster than the Dow Jones if it was announced that a Big Pharma company found the real/undisputed cure for cancer.) My God! It was like seeing a make up call for a make up call for a make up call for a bad call.

    RESPONSE: I really don't like talking about thr role of refs in games. I've been on my soap box all season complaining how Goodell is ruining the game by giving them too much power to influence outcomes. The NFL rule book is becoming as complicated and ridiculous as the IRS tax code.    

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!



    Merry Christmas to you and your wife, Az!

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from glenr. Show glenr's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    The only issue I had was that the offense looked a little lost for a while after Vereen went out. He was obviously a big part of the game plan and it took too long for them to get back on track.

    When was the last game we had both a clock killing TD drive and a big defensive stop in the 4th?

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from tcal2-. Show tcal2-'s posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    I just wish our D got to Play against injured QB's every week.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from ccsjl. Show ccsjl's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    Great report as always - I look forward to reading it ever week....Happy holidays to you as well!

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from glenr. Show glenr's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to tcal2-'s comment:

    I just wish our D got to Play against injured QB's every week.




    I just wish the Brady fanboys would give the D their due when they play well

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from tcal2-. Show tcal2-'s posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to glenr's comment:

    In response to tcal2-'s comment:

    I just wish our D got to Play against injured QB's every week.




    I just wish the Brady fanboys would give the D their due when they play well




    They played very well, against an injured QB.  Sorry if the truth hurts....Didn't you leave?

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    In response to ccsjl's comment:

    Great report as always - I look forward to reading it ever week....Happy holidays to you as well!



         Merry Christmas, my friend!

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from RallyC. Show RallyC's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    This Game was the best all around TEAM performance of the year.

    Offense-A: This was surely the best first half of the season for this unit, especially since it was on the road. Their depth and versality shined for sure. No doubt this game dispays why Bill is so obsessed with guys who can step in and play multiple positions almost seamlessly. The second half was not a masteriece for sure, but in typical Bill fashion, he was content with not giving up the big plays once way ahead which forces the other team to abondon their game plan and force plays which many times result in turnovers. They did what they needed to in keeping balance between run and pass all day. NO fumbles and it looks like Ridley is vying for number 1 again after yesterday's solid performance running hard and carrying folks on a number of plays. Coudos to McD for calling a great game yesterday. As TCal always says, lets see more screens!!! Great O-line play was the noteable difference.

    Defense-A+: Incredible depth at the LB and DB position to start the season has this defense still standing tall despite the losses of two All-Pro players and team leaders. Nink, Chandler, Chris Jones, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, and a slew of other DBs have stepped up through the tough times and this defense is showing great promise going into the BIG GAMES. This is a great game to see how a balanced offense affords a young, developing defense the right amount of recovery time and rest before they hit the field again. 

    Special Teams-A++: NO BIG PLAYS given up, JE making fair catches instead of letting the ball hit the gound means keeping valuable yards and decent filed position all game long. THE MVP of this group this week has got to be our Punter, ALLEN. Seems like every time he punted the ball, it pinned the Ravens deep without any real return and a few times inside the 15. Slater showed why he is an ALL-Pro special teamer, and Ghost was Ghost with mostly touchbacks and making all of his kicks. GREAT PERFORMANCE BY ALL HERE. Probably the most impressive group of the day considering the limited opportunities they get each game to show what they can do.

    Lets keep it rollin boys!!! Its that time again......... GO PATS!!!

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Footballexpert45. Show Footballexpert45's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    I agree with every grade but Brady, he still should get an "A".  Otherwise good analysis Tex!

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from seawolfxs. Show seawolfxs's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    Good grades altho a good B for ST's. but whatever

    I also give them A+ for toughness and their refusal to give into all of the injuries. I admit i was one who has doubted their ability to keep moving forward, Thought it was too many injuries with too many new unproven players. I think the Oline surprised me the most - And the Oline to me is the first line of Defense.

    I think McD called his best game by far. I think with this mix of skill plaers its better to be under center. My belief is it gives the D less time to lock and load not knowing what TB isd gling to do. And the cluster patters were huge - I dont remember seeing them aginst Miami???

    Now

    With Von Miller out - there really is no AFC team that should b favored.

    And with the chicken  hawks  losing at home - they have shown weakness. They are weak at wr. And tuff teams can stand up to them. they can be had.

    What TB said about this team's tuffness is what got my attention. This team can stand the heat. I especially like how Spikes and High are lighting up yhe other teams runners. while our DBs can cover 1 on 1. How long ago was it that we were all hurting with db pass coverage? even tho Talib may ber a little hurt, Dennard was out. We just have to hope mcCourty is ok.

    what a fun team to root for

     
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  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Philskiw1. Show Philskiw1's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD

    Good stuff TPat. Thanks for all the time you put into this. Merry Christmas. 

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from stan17. Show stan17's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Ravens REPORT CARD


    Solid write up T-Pat. I would've given Brady a little higher grade cause. He has no one to stretch the field, no TE's and lost his best recieving threat out of the backfield...again. He also made no killer mistakes trying to squeeze one in there.

    My player of the gm was Mankins

    There were plenty of impressive plays but that tackle by Slater on a Jones punt return displayed why he's a Pro Bowler and so valuble. 

     
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