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Stats Proved Ravens Would Sack 49ers

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Even before the Baltimore Ravens tied a franchise record with nine sacks of San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith in their 16-6 win on Thanksgiving night, the stats bore out what was going to happen, although perhaps not to such that degree. A story on ESPN titled, Anatomy of a Dropback: 49ers @ Ravens, details the differences between the offensive lines under duress and the advantage the Ravens had over the 49ers in that department.

It went into interesting detail on the consistency of personnel that Baltimore enjoyed along the offensive line, despite the loss of RG Ben Grubbs for the a decent part of the season. However,, it also notes the team's success protecting QB Joe Flacco since his return and the difference he makes as compared to his replacement during his injury, Andre Gurode.

The difference in the two team's stats in this story panned out in the reality of the game itself, as Flacco was virtually untouched and had ample time and space to find his receivers, especially when he went 4-4 converting third downs on the incredible 16-play, 76-yard TD drive in the third quarter that gave the Ravens the  go-ahead touchdown in the win. On the other hand, the 49ers Alex Smith was hassled and bottled up all night, resulting in those nine sacks, much less many more quarterback hits.