What we learned from Sunday’s Week 13 games - Kevin Patra
On a rain-soaked afternoon in Baltimore, with puddles dotting the field, John Harbaugh had no qualms about setting up Justin Tucker for a long field-goal attempt to win a slobber-knocker. The best kicker in the NFL didn’t flinch, nailing a 49-yard attempt to give the Ravens a hard-fought win over the NFC-leading 49ers.
With rain swirling down all game, Lamar Jackson had zero deep passing attack (no completions of 20-plus air-yards), but made enough plays with his legs to dash past a good 49ers D. Jackson became the first QB with four 100-yard rushing performances in a single season, gobbling up 101 rushing yards to go with just 105 passing and a TD both running and throwing. Jackson was a wonder with his run fakes, often getting San Francisco defenders to crash down hard on the running back and scampering for big gains to the edge.
The Niners seemed intent to stop the RBs, swallowing up Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, but allowed Lamar to do damage on keepers. Credit the Niners for slowing a Baltimore offense that had steamrolled through defenses, including Marcell Harris stripping Lamar on long run -- Jackson’s first lost fumble on the season -- to keep the Ravens from extending the lead out of halftime.
After each team failed on fourth downs in the fourth quarter of a tied ballgame, Harbaugh’s offense ground out the final 6:28 of the contest to win the game on Tucker’s boot. The lesson once again, even when you slow Lamar Jackson, he’s dang near impossible to shut down.
Michael Pierce was fantastic in the middle of the defensive line, as he proved extremely difficult to deal with all game. It’s no surprise that the 49ers had more success rushing to the outside than inside. He also looked good rushing the passer, recording multiple pressures.
L.J. Fort was a force against the run and racked up a big grade thanks to his multiple stops and game-changing plays. He also looked great in coverage, especially considering he was dealing with some great pass-catching running backs out of the backfield all day.
The Ravens’ passing offense runs through their tight ends, and this game was no different. Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst were fantastic for the offense and made some really big catches. Andrews was especially good, showing off some great body control and hands on some really tough catches that extended drives (or ended them, as his touchdown catch did).
The Breakdown: Five Thoughts on Ravens vs. 49ers - John Eisenberg
The defense didn’t have a day to remember. In the pouring rain, it had issues with tackling, normally a strength, especially in the first half. The 49ers had major success attacking the edges of the interior with running back Raheem Mostert, a former Raven. Mostert, normally a backup, rushed for 146 yards, averaging 7.7 per carry. Meanwhile, San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also made his share of plays in the passing game, missing on just six of his 21 attempts.
But though the 49ers successfully moved the ball, the Ravens’ defense didn’t break, making a handful of stops down the stretch. The 49ers were denied on eight of 12 third-down chances and didn’t score a touchdown in the game’s final 39 minutes. Marlon Humphrey (seven tackles) and Chuck Clark (seven tackles, forced fumble) led the way, but it took a group effort, as 19 different Baltimore players registered either a tackle, a sack, a pass defended or a quarterback hit. Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale is really shuffling his personnel in and out.
In Baltimore’s biggest test since playing the Patriots last month, the Ravens passed with flying colors with a 20-17 win over the now 10-2 San Francisco 49ers. One week after the Ravens beat the defending NFC champion Rams 45-6, they beat the team favored to win the NFC this season. Just as importantly, they showed they can pull out a victory when everything isn’t going their way.
The 49ers gained 331 yards in total, the first time the Ravens were outgained by their opponent in six weeks. That was quite the change for Baltimore, who had beaten its previous four opponents 172-46 and outgained them 1,722 yards to 1,102. But Baltimore beat the 49ers at the margins.
The win moves Baltimore to 10-2 on the season, three games ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC North with four weeks to go, and firmly in place for a first-round bye in the AFC.
“You wouldn’t rather have anybody else in that situation,” Harbaugh said. “That field, that wind, that rain, all of that stuff that was going on there. That’s the guy you want in that situation.”
“These are as tough of conditions as we’ve had to make kicks in before,” Tucker said. “To be able to come through when it’s really tough, it’s extra satisfying.”
“I think this whole team is living in the moment for these moments,” Tucker said. “It’s a really special group.”