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Ultimate 50 Tournament Simulation Blasts 2000 Ravens Tendencies to the Strat-o-sphere

In Round Two of the Strat-o-matic powered tournament pitting Super Bowl champions against each other, the lone Ravens contingent--the 2000 Ravens--behaved in a very strange way vs. the 1984 49ers.

Ray Lewis might have had a heart attack if these anomalies actually happened to his 2000 Ravens.
Ray Lewis might have had a heart attack if these anomalies actually happened to his 2000 Ravens.
Dan Pensinger/Getty

OK, I'm mad.

It was supposed to be a statistical match-up, right?  The pinnacle of individual and team metrics, thrown into the crucible of virtual sport and blended together in a mathematical maelstrom of logic, tendency, and outcome to give a reasonable answer to the survival question.

What happened?

First, the outcome:

Tonight, when I lay me down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul to keep, one sentence will resonate and repeat in my mind:

The vaunted '00 Ravens defense was no match for the maestro Joe Montana...


Say what?!

Based on what?

If SuperFan Captain Defense acknowledges this, there is something to it.  But as I told him, so did Rich Gannon of the Raiders (have 28 TDs).  They held him to 3 points at home in a conference championship.  These 49ers were Jerry Rice - less.  Somehow they did things on this neutral field that simply defy all the logic that was supposed to have used.  Montana threw for 375?  Freddie Solomon (God rest his soul), not a young whippersnapper at that point at 31, was in the next-to-last year of his career. He had been playing since 1975.  Yet he caught not-one-but-TWO TDs against CBs McAlister and Starks, 23 and 26 respectively, and Safeties Woodson and Herring, 35 and 25.  If one were to point to Woodson's age, I would reply that he was an all-pro --Solomon was not-- had 4 interceptions with a healthy 67 tackles, and played three more seasons at a high level.   Solomon had 144 receiving yards and 9 catches.  That would have been his best game, by far, that entire season.  I understand players rising to the occasion, but the dependable #88 had only one catch in the biggest contest of the season, the Super Bowl vs. Miami.  This tourney 'performance' was out of his norm. That seems statistically out of place.

I'm also wondering what fueled the Montana explosion, besides the Solomon epiphany.  The 2000 Ravens did not allow even a paltry 200 yards passing in all of the playoffs.  They only allowed 260 or more twice all season.  One was in week two, one was in week 16 with their playoff fate pretty much decided barring a miracle upset by a terrible Dallas team against division rival Tennessee that Monday night.  The last opponent in the regular season, the Jets, were 9-6 and desperate--they threw the ball 69 times.  That was one off of a then-all-time record!  It was also only 6.9 yards per attempt.  I don't know if the simulating computer was weighing a lot on that one game...if so, it should have calculated the 98 yard INT return TD that one of those attempts resulted in, icing the game for the Ravens.  Montana was great and next-level, yes, but that team is not considered the best 49er team, they didn't have the explosive talent around him, and it makes little sense statistically that he would pull off an anomaly with his oldest receiver.  The 2000 Ravens only allowed 4 -- FOUR -- 100 yard receivers the entire season.  It seems statistically out of place for this to happen.

Finally, turnovers.  I can almost concede the 7 turnovers, I guess.  They attributed it to getting behind, but they had played from behind a number of times that season and not panicked.  Why panic when your defense is pitching the most shutouts (4) since before Star Wars came out?  Yet, the true statistical anomaly was the lack of mention of turnovers gained by the Ravens. That 2000 team was very good at it, grabbing a turnover on 24% of the opponents drives.  One out of every four drives resulted in a turnover.  Wouldn't you like to re-live that today?  In contrast, 1 out of 12 drives for the 2015 Ravens opponents ended in turnovers.  If that!  Plus, 49ers RB Wendell Tyler fumbled a whopping 15 times. How did that not show up?  For there to be no trace of a Ravens turnover against a team with only average speed is very odd.  We're talking pure statistics here.  It seems statistically out of place for that to happen.

In fact, there seems an emphasis on offensive statistics in this entire tournament.  The 1976 Steelers, which pitched an NFL record 5 shutouts, are gone.  The '94 49ers, with Deion, are gone.  The 2013 Seahawks are gone, which a fan tweeted me about:

I will say that the 2003 Patriots were very, very good.  They had the best record in the league, a top 10 passing offense which didn't need the run, and a top 10 defense which led the league in least points allowed.  They were second in the league in turnover percentage, getting the ball back at the end of 19% of opponents drives.  41 turnovers.  Plus a championship pedegree, not new to it like '13 Seattle.

Other teams that are gone: the '93 Cowboys, the '78 Steelers, the '67 Packers.  Is the lack of defensive stats hurting teams?  (A number of defensive stats, like sacks, were not recorded prior to 1982 and beyond.  Try finding the defensive drive turnover percentage for SF 1984.)

I don't know.

I just know now that I am discouraged from this entire thing.  Yes, we are a Ravens site, and we want to follow anything Ravens.  With both teams eliminated, the appeal rockets downward.

Perhaps it would have stayed if either 1) the 2000 Ravens got a better seeding, 2) the game vs. '84 SF was more statistically sound, or 3) there was more transparency about the entire process.

As of now, True Ravens, I bow out of this coverage.  Since statistical anomalies are the norm here, I'll take mine and not finish this week long series in quiet protest.

If wants to send me a game and let me play it out myself, reporting the results of the 2000 Ravens vs. 1984 49ers win, lose, or draw, I will be glad to do that.

Otherwise, let the offensive anomalous fireworks continue.  We'll take our #1 All-Time defense and move on.

By the way, if you, the reader, want me to continue to cover this tourney, of course I will.  Just sound off on twitter to @chrisbraven or @bmorebeatdown.