On a rainy, cold day, two of the NFL’s most well-coached teams did battle. Both the Ravens and 49ers made plays, but the former won because they made plays when they had to.
There seems to be a narrative that the Ravens were flawed or exposed while defeating the previously 10-1 49ers. In the freezing, pouring rain, the Ravens gained merely 101 yards through the air. No deep completions. Hollywood Brown doesn’t appear in the box score. Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards were contained, although bruising their opposition.
They still won. The 49ers played just about as well as they’d hoped to. With the game on the line, the team that had only lost one game by an overtime field goal, couldn’t come out on top.
This speaks volumes about the Ravens ability to improvise, adapt and overcome.
Lamar Jackson played a game without forcing mistakes. He did lose a fumble, but that was the result of one of the most spectacular defensive plays I’ve witnessed in 2019.
No. 8 also was hesitant at times, while rushed in others. His reads weren’t as sharp as they have been on the Ravens historic tear, but neither were Jimmy Garoppolo’s. The rain certainly forced both passers to attempt to judge what they could and couldn’t do under unique circumstances.
Another one. Crossers with Boyle and Roberts. Watch how wide open Roberts is, Jackson was looking right at him and stuck with Boyle.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Roberts is generally always open. So is Hayden Hurst. pic.twitter.com/BsBxFpo5Oc
Maybe the worst decision Jackson made all day— going inside. Receiver had outside leverage, Jackson gets to the 5 or scores if he rides the sideline with a step.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Unreal play to strip the ball AND take it. Different game if Lamar goes outside. pic.twitter.com/bryF0XVF8Y
Jackson certainly left some points on the board in the passing game, although he made throws when he needed to. He seems to be able to elevate above his competition when it matters the most.
Since the Ravens were unable to get much going through the air, the 49ers safeties didn’t play the deep ball. Instead, they loaded the box and stuffed the run game. The read option won the game for the Ravens, with Jackson’s ability as a runner carrying the brunt of the work.
- Run - 26
- Pass- 11
- PA - 15
- RO - 13
- RPO - 0
- Screen - 0
Greg Roman dialed up a ton of bootlegs and options, with some play action sprinkled in.
The Ravens offensive line man handled the 49ers front, keeping clean pockets all day.
Ronnie Stanley is the best LT Nick Bosa has ever seen.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Bullied him all day.
I don’t think the rain helped Bosa’s footing, but hot damn. pic.twitter.com/qUEolRvBnr
Yanda banging down on the nose pic.twitter.com/1mJ5x45NBo— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) December 3, 2019
I mean the line truly dominated the 49ers front.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Stanley handled Bosa with ease all game.
I will attest from my own experience that keeping your footing while coming out of a 3 pt stance in the mud isn’t easy, have to keep a SUPER wide base. pic.twitter.com/D5cNsL4eIZ
@ZEUS__78 and Yanda are double teaming the best defenders in the NFL and driving them off the ball.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Maybe the best 2x duo in the league.
They COMPLETELY neutralize Deforest Buckner, one of the NFL’s premier defenders. pic.twitter.com/Y3BC9xBrJL
So many battles went on in the trenches in this game.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 4, 2019
Niners ILB Fred Warner has great recovery speed.
Lamar, as he said himself, consistently threw threw the ball behind receivers in this one, but Warner really made an amazing play to recover. pic.twitter.com/lKNwpoRnG5
Jackson will probably be sick watching tape, realizing how much more time he had to throw. He could’ve hung in the pocket, rolled, and let receivers find more soft spots.
The lack of deep shots really didn’t allow Ravens receivers to get involved. Hollywood Brown’s lone catch was on a pop pass. San Francisco’s safeties were daring the Ravens to throw the ball over their heads, and as much as I would’ve liked to see more deep passing, the Ravens won without it.
There need to be more one on one shots to Miles Boykin, but the Ravens won by playing keep away regardless.
Lamar is starting to get better with hard snap, making defense jup. His cadence can be a weapon, which adds another element to the puzzle that the Ravens offense presents.
Hayden Hurst is about as reliable as it gets. His feel for where to be and when is coming up in huge moments. I’ll continue to scream from the mountain top that he needs more targets.
When the Ravens offense takes field, the home crowd goes wild. It’s the first time in that the Ravens offense has been truly admired by fans in team history . . . as they should be.
The Ravens offense has a chance to break NFL single season records in:
• Points per possession
• Percentage it drives ending in a score
• Time of possession per drive
• Rushing yards in a 16-game season
The Ravens offense needs to be talked about as one of (if not the) best and most efficient offenses in league history.
In close games, Lamar seems to rely a bit too heavily on Mark Andrews. It’s predictable. Conversely, Jackson needs to look to Seth Roberts and Miles Boykin more. They’re open.
Patrick Mekari is looking like an upgrade from Matt Skura in some aspects. His pass protection is probably stronger as a whole.
The Ravens were stubborn to defend the outside zone runs. They seemingly were anticipating counters and weak side runs all game, before finally adjusting to shut down the Shanahan family staple at the end of the third quarter.
49ers simply had as many, or MORE blockers, lined up playside. The Ravens seemed to expect more counters, misdirections, reverses. Niners torched them until mid way through third, Ravens adjusted, Niners didn’t have another run over 5 yards pic.twitter.com/Q3ktkjtnrE— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 3, 2019
Onwuasor tries to tell Brandon Williams to shade outside guard and hold that gap.. Williams doesn’t.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Jihad Ward gets washed all the way inside, doesn’t set edge.
Peanut flies through trash to go wrestle Coleman down. Clark does a nice job making a mess. pic.twitter.com/d0I1GZlGDP
Fort had great vision. Understood what OL was trying to do all game.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Judon gave Kittle the OLAY when Kittle tries to cut backside pic.twitter.com/3ZppC0mKiT
Bowser signals he’s coming back, Onwuasor needs to move WAY over to the edge. Ends up letting a receiver seal him off.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Watch Josh Bynes, who gets held pretty badly and can’t shoot the gap because of it.
Ferguson gets SEALED by Jusczyck pic.twitter.com/fsn0u3P7RX
Jaylon Ferguson couldn’t have been more lost here. Hard to see this one coming, but entire defense is running right, he runs left.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Ferguson has been a tank over past month, this game will be good experience for him against a unique rushing attack. pic.twitter.com/C1DKEBKM3O
Ravens run D between the tackles was INSANE, per usual. Running inside is truly an act of futility at this point.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
I’m testing Ravens outside early and often
Very same drive Ferguson made sure not to make the same mistake twice.
He also had a better line of sight to the ball. pic.twitter.com/JZ65zUmwYR
Ravens got beat for long Mostert touchdown... respond with... no inside linebacker?— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Earl Thomas 8 yards off was the closest thing.
Go ahead and take this one off the call sheet when you’re getting gashed on the ground. pic.twitter.com/dQOz6QNwzM
The Ravens line up, adjust, and play this like the KNEW a counter was coming...— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
NOPE! Just the same play that Kyle Shanahans dad ran for 20 years, and Shanahan has run for 5 years, then all game in the first half, including a 40 yard touchdown...
The outside zone pic.twitter.com/b9OwVTCOoN
Now the Ravens FINALLY have it right.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Clark is in the box on the strong side. Wormley is head up over tackle.
Judon does an awesome job taking on Kittle then preventing FB from reaching anyone. pic.twitter.com/rXDTRxh0Ti
This is where it all ended.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) December 5, 2019
Wormley adjusts with motion, makes sure to ride outside. Bynes knows the Niners are going back to the well and blows it up
Bowser scraps and fights to let nothing outside of him.
At this moment, the Ravens won the game. pic.twitter.com/JdKzhtFDaV
The 49ers run the ball well and gave the Ravens similar trouble to what the Cleveland Browns presented in Week 4.
Earl Thomas III popped George Kittle and sent him out of bounds, Earl made good plays against run aside, from being juked by Raheem Mostert. Thomas also recorded his career first sack.
Thomas also laid a cold shoulder on Kittle out of bounds. Marlon Humphrey also knocked into Kittle and blew him backwards near the first down marker.
Speaking of Humphrey, the third-year corner has exclusively taken over slot corner duties. It’s a bit of a conundrum.
Humphrey is one of the premier boundary cornerbacks in football. He also is a force as an outside corner in the run game, who forces everything back inside and can blow up screens. He also happens to be the most well-equipped man for the job as a slot corner. He has the best feet, he’s a great tackler and covers over routes well.
There is certainly drop off with Humphrey being moved inside, but the Ravens have no other option. It will help in the long run, so hopefully Humphrey is a quick learner.
The Ravens blitzed on 21 of the 49ers’ 26 drop backs, which forced Jimmy Garoppolo to be a bit trigger happy. Chuck Clark’s forced fumble was a pivotal play in the game.
“Wink” Martindale was never going to let Jimmy G’ get comfortable.
The defense had a few fluke plays, which happens in extreme weather conditions. They were able to hold the 49ers to just three points in the second half, despite having significant problems stopping the run.
The Ravens surely tighten up on third down and in the red zone, which is what any defensive coordinator strives for.
The 49ers were holding, blocking in the back, hitting late, grabbing and cut blocking in an attempt to out physical the more physical team.
To beat the Ravens, that’s the best you can hope for, especially on the road.
The Ravens heroes aside from Lamar Jackson were Chris Moore, Hayden Hurst, Chuck Clark, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. Oh, and that dude Justin Tucker.
The Ravens operate as a whole, where the role players step up when called on. Every player seems to be patiently waiting for their turn to make a game defining play, yet without causing any headaches in line.
Baltimore’s offensive line is playing the type of football that takes teams far in January and into February. This game was supposed to be the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, headlining Lamar Jackson and the 49ers vaunted defense.
In the fourth quarter, the game turned into the unstoppable force being protected by immovable objects.
The offensive line was the MVP of this game, alongside Justin Tucker.