When the Ravens pass
Joe “Cool’’ Flacco (a.k.a. soon-to-be free agent Joe “Cool” Flacco) has made himself a lot of money this postseason. The 6-foot-6-inch, 245-pound Flacco has been just what Baltimore needed in the playoffs: a steady game manager who takes what the defense gives him rather than taking unnecessary chances. The debate will rage about whether he’s an elite quarterback (he’s not) but he’s certainly above average.
Flacco has a big arm and is at his best when standing tall in the pocket and delivering downfield darts. He has a decent touch on the ball and will lead receivers well on screens. Flacco has good footwork and can momentarily sidestep a pass rush, but to call him mobile would be a gross mischaracterization. He can be incredibly streaky.
Flacco needs to get rid of the ball quickly, because the 49ers bring it. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith (6-4, 258) is a beast. He explodes off the edge and overwhelms blockers with speed and strength. Left defensive tackle Justin Smith (6-4, 285) uses power and deceptive quickness to beat his man and beat the quarterback.
Anquan Boldin (6-1, 220) is a big, physical receiver with good size and great strength. He runs good routes, hides his push-offs well, and will fight for every ball and every yard.
Torrey Smith (6-0, 202) has an explosive first step and blinding downfield speed. He can be a game-changer. Jacoby Jones (6-2, 220) is a sloppy route runner who can disppear at times. Tight end Dennis Pitta (6-4, 245) has good hands and concentration. Ray Rice is a demon on screens because of his ability to find — and scoot through — cutback lanes.
Passing yards per game (postseason)
Baltimore offense: 276.0
San Francisco defense: 322.0