Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

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    Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

         Wow. Did anyone get the number of that truck that just ran over our "Team of the Decade"? In what was about as thorough a physical beat-down as you're ever going to see, the Baltimore Ravens bull-dozed the Patriots, 33-14. 

         Prior to the game, I listed several "keys" to a Patriots' win: 

         1.) Can the Pats contain RB Ray Rice?

         2.) Can the Pats OL protect Tom Brady
    ?

         3.) Can The Patriots' front seven apply some pressure to Joe Flacco

         As we now know, the Pats failed miserably in containing Ray Rice, as he busted an 83 yard TD run right up the gut of the Patriots' defense, on the games' initial play from scrimmage. The play shook the Patriots like a Mike Tyson sucker-punch to the stomach. It seems to take the starch out of them...and rendered them breathless for the remainder of the game. 

         Nor was the Pats' OL in any way successful at protecting Tom Brady. Immediately after the Rice run, Matt Light was out-flanked and spun around by Revens' OLB/DE, Terrell Suggs, who was able to strip the football from Tom's  hand...leading to another Ravens' TD, and a 14-0 Baltimore lead after less than 4 minutes of play. 

         As for the Pats pressuring Joe Flacco...it was inconsequential. So effective was the Ravens' rushing attack (52 carries for 234 yards), that Flacco was only called upon to throw 10 times!!

         Heres' the rest of my summary of this, the most pathetic playoff performance by the Patriots since the 1985 SB demolition by the Chicago Bears...and my grades:

          A.) OFFENSE:
    Pathetic. Not to be outdone by the
    defense, who allowed the aforementioned 83 yard TD run on play one from scrimmage, a Brady fumble on a strip handed the Ravens a second TD gift...and this was just the beginning: 

    1.) QB: Regardless of what BB says, Tom Brady obviously is not 100%. But, even if he was, its' hard to be effective when you're constantly being harassed and pressured...and when your stable of receivers, Randy Moss aside, are of practice squad quality. But Brady, like the rest of the team, was awful. Tom completed 23/42 passes for a paltry 154 yards (thats' an average of 3.7 yards per reception, folks), with two TDs, three interceptions, and the aforementioned lost fumble. Two of the interceptions were returned 67 (by Dawan Landry), and 25 yards (by Ed Reed), respectively, leading to two more easy Ravens' scores. That said, it was sad to see Brady end a season like this...serenaded by a crescendo of boos:
    GRADE: F;

    2.) RBs: As I 've stated on several occasions this season, skilled players (QB, RB, WR) are only as good as their OL allows them to be. No matter how good a RB is, he won't gain an inch unless theres' a block or two up front. Unfortunately, there weren't many blocks today. Good job overall by Kevin Faulk, despite running behind a candy-azz OL:
    GRADE: D;

    3.) OL: Folks, is there any doubt that the Patriots have become a finesse team? This group was out-flanked, out-hustled and out-muscled for the entire game. The men in the trenches turned in a performance reminiscent of SB 42 against the NY Giants, and on December 6th, 2006, when Dolphins' DE Jason Taylor was allowed to leave his cleat marks all over Tom Brady's forehead. An absolute embarrassment by this group...who should be charged for stealing, should they accept their game checks after this fiasco:
    GRADE: F-

    4.) WRs & TEs: Ben Watson may have played his last game in New England after a wholly forgettable performance. Watson is a similar waste of raw talent at the TE position, as Kellen Winslow, Jr.. Randy Moss "led" the Pats in reception with five, for 54 yards. Though TV analyst Boomer Easiason chided Moss was not even being on the stat sheet in the first half, its' hard to get open when you're being double-teamed...especially when you must get open quickly, because your QB has no time to throw. Julian Edelman had his moments. But, to expect him to become Wes Welker overnight was grossly unfair to the kid. Sam Aiken, I heard, is another WR on this team. BB has paid a heavy price for his poor offseason, WR-related, decisions:
    GRADE: D;

          B.) DEFENSE:
    The front seven was manhandled at the point of attack for the entire sickening afternoon.

    1.)
    DL:
    The boys up front were charged with the responsibility of getting a push, holding their gaps, and keeping the huge Ravens' offensive lineman off the LBs. As mentioned above, from play one...this group utterly and completely failed. I have never seen in any NFL game a team, on its' initial play, a team execute a pedestrian running play up the middle, and bust it for a TD. It was the ultimate exhibition in "soft" by the DL. Though Vince Wilfolk led the Pats in tackles with 13 (11 solos), he was blown away on the aforementioned run...leaving a hole the size of the State of Texas for Rice to negotiate. Whenever the Ravens needed a yard or two for a first down, the Pats were helpless to stop them. One parting shot to Vince Wilfolk, "you and your team played as badly as you did, and you have the nerve to complain about being booed??!! Grow up, son!!" 
    GRADE: F-

    2.) LBs: Horrible effort by this unit. Perhaps the worst game of Jerod Mayo's career. No containment and, when tackles were made, they were seemingly made five yards off the line of scrimmage. Poor tackling all day...particularly on the shifty Rice. Nice pick by Tully Banta-Cain saved another "F" grade:
    GRADE: D-;

    3.) SECONDARY:
     So successful were the Ravens at running the ball, that they ran it 52 times...and attempted only 10 passes:
    GRADE: I (for incomplete)

         C.) SPECIAL TEAMS: Horrid kick coverage again, as the Pats let Ravens' punt returner Chris Carr return a punt 34 yards...and allowed Tom Zbikowski to return a pooch kickoff 31 yards. The failure on special team was complete, as the normally reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a 34 yard FG...and punter Chris Hanson was his usually erratic self. Only a 42 yard kick-off return by Darius Butler and a nifty 28 yards return by Julian Edelman prevented another "F" grade:
    GRADE: D-

         D.) COACHING: During the BB era, save for the "super" debacle against the Giants, the aforementioned beat-down in Miami, and the San Diego Chargers 42-17 demolition of the Pats in Foxboro in 2005...I have never seen a Patriots' team so flat...and so unprepared to play. In the SB loss to the Giants, the bogus "spygate 2" conspiracy, launched on the eve of the huge game, could be used to explain how the team lost focus. But today?? Could the serious knee injury to Wes Welker have deflated the whole team, as much as it deflated my expectations on the Pats' SB prospects?

         Whatever the reason, it mattered not. A coaches job is to have his team prepared, and ready to go full tilt at kick-off time. Obviously, for one of the few times in his career, BB failed. Not only was his team flat, but they were physically manhandled. They turned the ball over four times...and had no answer for the one offensive threat that the Ravens' possess...RB Ray Rice.

         On offense, just as in SB 42, the Patriots were stymied by blitz packages off the ends and up the middle. These blitzes were almost directly responsible for three interceptions and a fumble...which placed this game out of reach.   

         Though injuries did take their toll...it was clear throughout the season that the 2009 edition of the Patriots was perhaps the least talented of all Patriots' teams, since 2000. Poor off-season free agent decisions, and the loss of formerly great veterans to retirement or trade...all factored in to a very disappointing 10-7 season. Obviously, theres' lots of work to be done in preparation for 2010.

         Finally..."Coach, Dean Pees may be a nice guy...and I'm sorry that he's in bad health. But, he needs to go."
    GRADE: F-        
      
         E.) PLAY OF THE GAME: The Ray Rice breakaway 83 yard run on the games'; initial play from scrimmage

          F.) PLAYER OF THE GAME
    : Ravens' RB Ray Rice, who carried 22 times for 159 yards, including that momentum setting 83 yard burst. 

         Here are the ugly, ugly game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=300110017

         Thoughts?           
         
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Caesar1177. Show Caesar1177's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP:

    Can't really disagee on anything. The Pats failure in the offseason led to this disaster. Galloway instead of Gaffney? 2011 pick instead of Seymour? Chung instead of Matthews?

    Man, was Pioli that good?
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from GameChanger. Show GameChanger's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Ouch! The truth hurts.
    Must have been ulgy to have to re-hash this game so soon after the crime.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from mosseffect43. Show mosseffect43's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    dead on with the grades.I was never comfortable with the team this year with all the trades and departures of key veterans.to many at one time,and when welker went down that was iceing on the cake.no wonder the chargers were looking forward to playing us.even though i had hope.i wasnt banking on anything.oh well im still trying to get the bitter pill out of my system,and im looking forward to the off season,free agency and the draft.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Caesar1177. Show Caesar1177's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    "I was never comfortable with the team this year"

    That's really the thing. I thought (stupid me) that BB knew what he was doing this year. It took me until the Saints game to realize that this was a team getting by on "rep." They had no identity and the vets knew it. I thought maybe this team could go all 2005-06 and put it together at the end, but Welker's injury killed that notion. I just prey that they learned their lesson and will go on a 2003/2004/2007 type offseason spree.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from JayCampbell1587. Show JayCampbell1587's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    We are going through a transitional period my friends. It stinks but no one in a Boston organization is going to come out and say that. The fact is like most great teams age has caught up with us in a big way. We had a great veteran defense that gave us 4 super bowl appearances. There is the positive but finally we reach the negative. The question is will we continue to bring on aged veteran players like we have to fill needs? or will we define these positions with developing  young talent. The clues point to getting younger which i actually prefer. I was a huge fan of Rodney Harrison. Like him or not he was the difference maker on our defense. He was a leader that made everyone around him better. With his retirement i believe it became clear we need to get younger at defense. I think the evidence points in that direction even since 2008 with the 1st round selection of OJ Mayo. Give Bill some credit he was a great pick and will be a hell of a guy to build your D around.  
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from dbeach48. Show dbeach48's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Flat is aa accurate assessment of the whole scene today
     minus maybe JE and Tully Cain

    Flat lackluster uninspired Boring

    Listless
    ect...........
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    I'm sorry but it starts and ends with coaching.  That was the worst coached game I have ever seen.  The offensive play calling after the defense gave up the opening run by Rice indicated panic from the get go.  Spread formations and play calling so obvious it was sickening to watch.  That's not smashmouth football, that's not Patriot football, very disappointing...
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP, such a sad way to finish the season in which the Pats went down not playing well at all. 

    The Raven's showed up and the early plays, Rice's 83 yard run and the Brady strip sack to put the Ravens up 14 - 0 with less than 5 minutes gone in the game set the tone.  We didn't even see Brady scream at the team, only the shot of Faulk doing so in that circle surrounded by some players.  All Brady did was sit on the bench after evrey series.  When all is said and done, the changes the team underwent this season may have been too much to maintain consistency.

    I do want to take this time to THANK YOU, TP, for your write-ups and commentary.  Very insightful, honest and would have been no different, maybe, than what BB would have done if we would see his report cards.  Until the 2010 season starts.  Wishing you well from the shores of Waikiki Beach (great way to sooth the pains of a Pats playoff loss!)
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rocky. Show Rocky's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Texas-  As AGC said thanks for your post-game grades/write-ups you always do a great job!

    Your grades were sadly right on.....
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

         GameChanger:

         You said: "Ouch! The truth hurts.
    Must have been ulgy to have to re-hash this game so soon after the crime."
     
         Amen, brother. It was painful enough watching it...like having salt poured into an open wound writing about it. This certainly has to be embarrassing to a once proud team. But, they'll be back. Those idiots posting that "BB needs to go", and that "Tom Brady needs to look in a mirror" sound as ignorant as drunk Jet fans. 

         Theres' certainly work to be done, and changes that need to be made. But, lets not get ridiculous. If the Pats let BB go tomorrow, how soon do you think it would take for him to land a job elsewhere? Thirty minutes? An hour? LOL!!!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from k-maxx. Show k-maxx's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Thanks for another fine year of Report Cards TP3, I enjoyed them all every year.Smile
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    If the Pats are a "finesse team" then they stink at that too. You can win playing finesse offense. The 49ers, Broncos, Colts, among others all won Superbowls with finese offensive lines. 

    The problem is that they aren't good at finesse.

    Their technique isn't good. They are slow AND small (except Vollmer). 

    In short, they are old. 

    Light was once the epitome of finesse tackles. Now he is old. Neal is spent. They need to rebuild this unit, because of the last 12 losses they have had, almost all of them can be pinned on weak OL play. 

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

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    No disrespect Tex, but it seems kind of obnoxious for us "fans" to sit here and "grade" the Pats like they are our lowly servants trying to please us.  Show some respect man.  They gave it their best and lost.  It almost sounds like you enjoy criticizing them.  Anyway, you guys have fun talking about how bad the team did.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP: You are a better man than I am. I can't believe you had the motivation to do a report card after this drubbing?

    You are far more generous than I am.  Would have given a P (Pathetic) for everyone - players coaches, ownership today - except Faulk and Edelman.

    That does not mean I am giving up on the Patriots - there is the offseason to get excited about !!!

    I can now empathize with the Raiders, Browns and KC fans - if we feel this terrible after making the playoffs - imagine what do they have to look forward to... 

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Brad34. Show Brad34's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Spot on with those grades. This team is not tough anymore and can't handle when opposition teams play smash mouth football. The Pats used to be the team that handled finese teams by playing smash mouth football. There are so many holes it's not funny. The Defense is full of poor tackling softies and it needs a complete rebuild. The O line is woeful and hasn't recovered from the 2007 superbowl beating it took. The Pats are also missing a big physical presence at wide receiver. Too many small or soft recievers. They are also blessed with the worst handling tight ends in the NFL. Bargain basement running back by committee needs overhauling as well. The only players worth keeping are Brady,Faulk,Welker,Moss(if they can get a worthy 3rd wide receiver to take pressure off him otherwise it is a waste of time having him) Edelman,Vollemer,Koppen,Mankins on Offense and on Defense Mayo,Wilfork,Warren and Tully. The rest are making up the numbers I'm afraid.  The Pats need to move away from fitting other teams rubbish into BB's golden system and become very active in FA
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from BubbaInHawaii. Show BubbaInHawaii's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    "I do want to take this time to THANK YOU, TP, for your write-ups and commentary.  Very insightful, honest and would have been no different, maybe, than what BB would have done if we would see his report cards.  Until the 2010 season starts.  Wishing you well from the shores of Waikiki Beach (great way to sooth the pains of a Pats playoff loss!)" AG

    ---------------------
    Go to Waiola's on Waiola st....little hole in wall for shaved ice
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Marcus1973. Show Marcus1973's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Grades are a little better than I expected.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

         Mighty...you stated the following:

         "No disrespect Tex, but it seems kind of obnoxious for us "fans" to sit here and "grade" the Pats like they are our lowly servants trying to please us.  Show some respect man.  They gave it their best and lost.  It almost sounds like you enjoy criticizing them.  Anyway, you guys have fun talking about how bad the team did."
     
    RESPONSE: You've got to be kidding. The Patriots are entertainers, just like a theatre group, professional wrestlers, singers, and the Boston Red Sox. They are paid big money to perform. When they don't perform well, they sometimes get booed, and leave themselves open for criticism. 

         Let me put it another way...most people have jobs, and are paid by their bosses to perform those jobs. If they perform poorly, they only get criticized, only if they're lucky. Most often, they get replaced. 

         As for the Pats' giving it their best...LOL!!! If thats' their best, than the Pats are in huge trouble. For whatever reason, this team was not ready to play...and, to a man, they deserve to be criticized
    .

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

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    TP, On the mark as usual. I don't agree with the "pass" you give Moss. He is supposed to be our #1 receiver and has not shown up, AGAIN. My favorite Moss play yesterday was when he made a reception and was held back from making forward progress by a defender that was holding him by his jersey. He showed no drive to make a physical football play and has become "lay-down" after catch, unless he has his cushion. His days of being "the freak" have passed by and is no longer a play maker. His catches yesterday were in garbage time as Baltimore had the game in hand right after we deferred the coin toss.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from linfrat. Show linfrat's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Couldn't agree more with your grades - I actually thought the same thing in terms of watching this game and comparing it with the Giants Super Bowl.  Hard to believe it has only been 2 years since that Super Bowl as it seems like about 10 years.

    I did see a couple of "highlights" - Kevin Faulk urging his team on, with everyone circled around him, as well as Julian Edelman trying his best to  get a first down, only to have it come back due to a dumb penalty.  Lowlights were everything else.

    It seems like this team hit a wall after the Indy game and never seemed to be the same.  I know they missed Welker, but I honestly don't think it would have made that much difference.  One of the announcers mentioned that Ray "The Murderer" Lewis simply listened to audio of previous Patriots games and was able to learn some of their plays, which makes me think it is a predictable offense.

    I really love watching the Pats and have since 1981, but this loss, as well as last week's, really hit me in the gut. 


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

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    I just don't see how a fan can take pleasure in attacking his own team like this.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from YATitle14. Show YATitle14's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    It was sickening to see Randy Moss jogging through his routes.  That guy is a cancer who must be eliminated.  It appears Jarod Mayo is too small to be an effective middle linebacker.   Adalius Thomas needs to be sent packing with Moss.  Offensively, Vollmer needs to start at left tackle with Light on the right side.  Thankfully, the PATS have three second round selections.  Both lines are in need of help.  Linebackers and receivers are also weak.  Too bad they didn't keep Cassel and trade Brady for draft choices.  Hindsight is 20/20.  This team is in need of a dramatic overhaul.  The JETS will run over them next year if the nucleus of this team isn't changed. 

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

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    I like the honest assessment, but you were far too generous in your grading of their performance yesterday.  The whole team appeared to turtle after the first play from scrimmage.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from nhsteven. Show nhsteven's posts

    Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD

    Texas and Brad; excellent posts. However, the Ravens weren't perfect either, such as not throwing the flag on the fumbled punt return and Flacco kinda s---ked (he didn't need to be good); it also looked like they almost didn't throw the flag on that overturned play; you would have think they would have learned their lesson! There is also the irony of the undeserved Jets outlasting the Pats; when Caldwell rested Manning, it cost me a FF championship (and about 1K); plus now Mercury Morris won't go away. Here's hoping the Colts lose.
     
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