Re: Ravens @ Patriots REPORT CARD
posted at 1/22/2013 1:49 PM EST
In response to TexasPat's comment:
DEFENSE: For the most part, the "D" could not generate any pressure on Ravens' QB, Joe Flacco. The hamstring injury suffered by Aqib Talib at around the 5 minute mark of the first quarter seemed to cripple the Pats' secondary...as physical Ravens' WR Anquan Boldin had a field day in the second half.
DL: When playing against a good QB, especially one blessed with quality receiving options, it's imperative that the DL mount some sort of pressure against that QB. Unfortunately, save for two Rob Ninkovich sacks, the Pats' front line didn't get a whiff of Joe Flacco...and Flacco made the Patriots pay. This group did a decent job of containing Ray Rice and the Ravens' running game, til later in the game. Credit the Ravens' OL for neutralizing Vince Wilfolk...who destroyed them last year. GRADE: C;
SECONDARY: Once Aqib Talib went out, this group seemed at the mercy of Flacco, and his receivers. Anquan Boldin, who had been shut out in the first half, was a terror in the second...finishing with 5 catches for 60 yards, two redzone completion TDs, and a 26 yard pass play. Torrey Smith added 4 catches for 69 yards, including a 25 yard play. It was a tale of two halves...as the great majority of the Flacco damage was done post Talib. A questionable PI call on Alfonzo Dennard didn't help the cause, as it got the Ravens out of poor field position, and kick-started a 3rd quarter TD drive. GRADE: D+;
Texas Pat---your entire analysis was appreciated and your observations were quite astute. However, I would give the Pats' entire DEFENSE a failure grade !!! As you'll read below, if the offense had scored its normal 35-40 pts it wouldn't have been an issue !!!
I posted this separately under "Harbowl ad nauseam" but a good copy & paste here I think.
Brady is not the problem and I feel is in the top 5 list of all QBs in history.
The problem is the coach & failure to concentrate on drafting defensive players to put pressure on opposing QBs !!!
Most of the post commentaries are about Welker's drop and the failure of this year's leading offensive team to score in some critical situations. And this is true but I feel that the lack of a pass rush allowing the Ravens to make many 2nd or 3rd and 10 first downs was the difference.
I really wanted a 49er-Pats SB as I did last year too. I think Pats would have beaten Alex Smith last year but if not, the loss would not have hurt as much as the 2nd one in 3 years in SBs with the dredded Giants. But this year, I don't think Pats would have beaten SF.
Some commentaries make fun of Jim Haubaugh being a little too "Rah Rah" sort of like Pete Carroll of Seattle. Brother John is a bit more reserved. Belichick is more reserved, stoic and seems unemotional. Personally, I don't mind Jim's antics on the sidelines.
Here's the problem with the Pats and I know I'm simplifying this. All year they would usually score 35-40 points so defense was not a major issue. If some of you are Celtic fans it is similar to a problem Boston has had for a number of years, weak in rebounding but if they shot 45-50%, rebounding was not an issue. Many posts cited Welker's dropped pass as being the deciding factor. But, I felt the lack of a pass rush was what did Pats in with no pressure on Flacco. Again, not a big issue if you can score 40-35 points and outscore the opponent but when you have a miserable offensive game, the defense can still rescue a team. SF was down 7-0 and 14-7 to Green Bay. They were down 17-0 to Atlanta and 24-14 at half. In those 2 games in the 2nd half only 7 points were scored by GB when SF was up by 21, 45-24, in last meaningless 2 minutes and Falcons were held scoreless. When people think of SF, other than in the last 2 weeks with Kaepernicks ability to run, what do most people think first about SF's team...DEFENSE !!! If Pats had scored 35-40 pts Welker's drop becomes a non-issue. Pats main objective should be to draft linemen who can get to the QB & good defensive backs.
Anyway, my $02 Cents !!!