Any win is a "good" win...but especially when it comes against a team, who many already wish to award this years' Lombardi. The Ravens are a very good team...but their defense is overrated. Their front seven is tough to run on...but their secondary, with or without Ed Reed, can be had. So, lets' not get too carried away with this win. The Pats' offense and defense still have a long way to go, if they hope to make it to the big game. Here are my grades: A.) OFFENSE: Anytime the "O" scores over 25 points, it should be enough to win. It was surprising to see that Tom Brady was blitzed so little...as it appeared that the Ravens were intent to deny the Pats the big play, and to drop the LBs back in coverage to aid a somewhat suspect secondary. 1.) QB: Tom Brady produced a 100.8 passer rating, in completing just 21 of 32 passes for 258 yards, and a TD. No interceptions were a plus, but Tom fumbled when blindsided by Terrell Suggs, handing the Ravens a gift TD. A workman-like day for Tom, as he distributed the ball to several receivers. Great throw by a pressured Brady to Randy Moss, putting the Pats up 24-14. Redzone problems still persist, though the Pats were 3/5 in the red area. The team had opportunities to put the game away on their final drive. Having to settle for a FG nearly cost them dearly. All in all, considering the quality of the competition, this Tom Brady's best game of the season. GRADE: B; 2.) RBs: Nice TD run by Sammy Morris was this group's highlight. Sammy also had 5 receptions for 35 yards. But, having little running room to negotiate, the backs gained just 85 yards on 30 carries...an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Though the amount of yards gained were low, the "O" managed to keep the Ravens' "D" honest by not giving up on the run. GRADE: C; 3.) OL: Matt Light had another one of "those games"...as Ravens' DE/OLB Terrell Suggs terrorized Tom Brady for a good part of the afternoon. As mentioned previously, Suggs was able to blindside Brady, resulting in a fumble, and an easy defensive TD by Baltimore. The Ravens managed 3 sacks. Though the big uglies were able to hold their own somewhat, gaining just 2.8 yards per run is unacceptable. Still, they were able to get enough of a push to pick up a huge first down on a 4th and one in the redzone, on the Pats' initial TD drive: GRADE: C+; 4.) WRs and TEs: Great to have Wes Welker back. He led the Pats with 6 receptions, albeit just for 48 yards. TE Ben Watson chipped in with two catches for 51 yards, and Randy Moss had 3 for 50, including a nice adjustment on a rushged Brady throw for the Pats' 3rd TD. The Patriots need to find a third WR. Neither Joey Galloway, or Sam Aiken is the answer. GRADE: C+; B.) DEFENSE: Don't be so quick to praise the defense. Yes, they stymied the Ravens on two 4th down attempts...and allowed just two TDs. But, consider this...the Ravens amassed 363 total yards, were 9/14 on third down conversions, RB Ray Rice had a combined 152 yards (albeit 50 of those came on one run up the middle)...and, but for a drop by Mark Clayton, the game might have been lost. Failing to defense the "two-minute offense" cost the Pats championships in 2006 and 2007...and nearly cost them the game today. 1.) DL: Surprising to see the Ravens pass so much! Of their 24 first downs, 18 came through the air. Other than the long run by Ray Rice (which appeared to be a situation in which the Pats were caught in the wrong defensive scheme), the boys up front seemed to handle themselves fairly well. Mike Wright registered two sacks, as the Pats were able to mount some pressure on Flacco. Great stand on the fourth quarter 4th and 1 around mid-field. GRADE: B; 2.) LBs: Help is needed here. Rumor has it that the Pats have Junior Seau warming up in the bullpen, again. Though Gary Guyton has generally played well, and Tully Banta Cain has had his moments, theres' not much production from these guys. Good job in helping to defend against TE Todd Heap. But, screens and passes to RBs Willis MaGahee and Ray Rice hurt. GRADE: C-; 3.) SECONDARY: Brandon Meriweather is emerging as a star. He led his team in tackles, and registered several hard hits. The undercut hit on Derrick Mason by Jonathan Wilhite on the Ravens' initial TD pretty much took Mason out of the game, after he had been consistently burning the backliners. It also appeared that Ravens' WR Mark Clayton took his eye off the ball on the fourth quarter 4th down drop, when he saw Meriweather coming his way. Brandon McGowan has also been a bit of an intimidator. Leigh Bodden had a pick...and generally kept things quiet on his side of the field. Shawn Springs, however, is a bit of a different story. Rookie CB Darius Butler continues to make progress. GRADE: B+; C.) SPECIAL TEAMS: Causing and recovering a fumble on the initial kickoff was huge...and set momentum going in the right direction. But, the Pats were fortunate not to lose a Kevin Faulk fumble on a subsequent punt return. Usual reliable Stephen Gostkowski performance. Punter Chris Hansen needs to do a bit better than averaging 38 yards per punt. GRADE: B; D.) COACHING: Another fine job by BB. Pats were wise not to give up on the run...and had a 30/32 balance on run/passes, over 62 plays. Great decision to go for it on 4th and one in the redzone...and not settle for yet another FG. Nice call, and good execution on the Morris TD run. Pats' appeared to be caught in the wrong defense...or was there a missed assignment...on the long Rice run? The offense is beginning to find some consistency, and the Pats' young secondary is beginning to shape up. BB needs to find a 3rd WR to compliment Moss and Welker. Why not give Terrence Nunn a try? GRADE: B+ E.) PLAY OF THE GAME: Hard to pick just one play in a game like this one. But, if pressed, I'll choose the 4th and one first down conversion, early in the game. It set the tone for the game, and put the Pats in command . F.) PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brandon Meriweather. Here are the stats: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=291004017
Posted by TexasPat3
For what it's worth Tex,I appreciate the time and effort you put into the posts on this board every week.