The Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious on their Christmas Day trip to San Francisco, defeating the 49ers by 14 points in a 33-19 final. It was a convincing victory over the perceived best team in the league entering Week 16. The Ravens put their foot on the gas as the game progressed and outscored the 49ers 30-7 in the second and third quarters.
There was more than a few notable individual performances on the night. Which players stood out from the Ravens’ primetime victory? Let’s break down some of the top showings below and be sure to vote for your game ball recipient!
Before exiting later in the game with a knee injury, Hamilton showed out in a nationally televised audience, validating the recent hype he’s received. The second-year safety was a force to be reckon with and came up with multiple interceptions, pass breakups, and key tackles in open space.
Hamilton made an opening statement by intercepting a Brock Purdy pass attempt to the end zone on the 49ers’ first drive of the game. He deceived Purdy on his second or third read and jumped a route by Deebo Samuel. That thwarted a would-be touchdown.
Then, later in the second quarter, with the Ravens leading by five points, Hamilton made a miraculous second-effort play to record another pick. After being chop-blocked by Christian McCaffrey, Hamilton rose to his feet and got back into the mix, putting himself in the right place at the right time. Marlon Humphrey deflected a pass to George Kittle and the ball went high in the air, where Hamilton then secured it.
These were Hamilton’s third and fourth interceptions of the season and he added five total tackles and three total pass breakups, making for another standout all-around performance.
Humphrey had one of his best games of the season in last week’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which came after shaking off some rust since he returned from injury earlier in the month. He followed it up with a memorable showing against another talented pass-catching crew in San Francisco.
The former All-Pro was party to one of the 49ers’ five interceptions but technically responsible for two. As mentioned previously, Humphrey broke up the pass that ultimately was picked off by Hamilton in the second quarter. On that play, he made a quick break on the ball and played tight coverage against Kittle on third down.
Prior to that, though, Humphrey had the interception of his own earlier in the quarter. The 49ers had just crossed into Ravens territory when Brandon Stephens deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage high into the air. As Hamilton did, Humphrey was there to catch the lofted ball and reel it in for a forced turnover.
This takeaway led to a long touchdown drive by the Ravens’ offense, their first of the game, which gave them a 10-5 lead and ultimately broke open the scoring party. Aside from these two notable plays, Humphrey was on the delivering end of a couple hard hits and limited big plays.
Queen was thought to be a potential X-factor in this game given the 49ers could have looked to attack the middle of the field and isolate McCaffrey on the Ravens’ inside linebackers. They attempted these things often and Queen proved to be more than up to the challenge.
The fourth-year LSU product was all over the field in San Francisco, making numerous impact plays. Queen combined with Roquan Smith to limit the damage done by McCaffrey in the passing game, eliminating a potential vulnerability. McCaffrey caught six passes but only for 28 yards gained, and Queen limited potential extra yards after the catch by wrapping up solidly in space.
He finished with seven total tackles with a pass breakup and quarterback hit. Queen was another one of the Ravens’ four defenders who recorded an interception and had a 21-yard return, which he was just yards away from returning into the end zone.
Early in the third quarter, Queen picked off a misfired throw from Purdy in 49ers’ territory, which came one play after the Ravens had just scored to take a 23-12 lead. Immediately following Queen’s interception, they needed only one nine-yard pass into the end zone to score again and take a commanding second-half advantage.
Jackson’s success on Monday Night Football and against NFC opponents continued in San Francisco, where he prevailed against a top-ranked 49ers’ defense. Jackson shook off a slow start where several of his first pass attempts went incomplete and he was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, which resulted in a safety. After that, he settled in and began moving the Ravens’ offense with ease.
From midway through the first quarter onward, the Ravens scored seven straight drives with three touchdowns — two of which were Jackson passes in the red zone. On the Ravens’ opening drive of the third quarter, Jackson first found Gus Edwards in space for a long catch-and-run of 39 yards. Two plays later, he darted a throw to Nelson Agholor for a six-yard touchdown.
Then, less than 30 seconds later following Queen’s interception, Jackson lofted a nine-yard strike to Zay Flowers for another touchdown catch. He could have had touchdown pass earlier in the second quarter but Isaiah Likely was stopped just one yard short of the end zone. Jackson also had a goal-line rushing attempt that came up just short as well.
Nevertheless, Jackson wound up throwing the ball 35 times in a surprisingly pass-heavy approach from the Ravens’ offense. He completed 23 passes to eight different receivers for 252 passing yards while adding another 46 yards on the ground. 30 of Jackson’s rushing yards came via a scramble on 3rd-&-16 late in the second quarter, which was one of the highlight moments of the game. It put the Ravens in field goal range and allowed them to extend their lead.
Honorable mention —
Zay Flowers: Flowers was the Ravens’ leading receiver on the night with nine catches on 13 targets for 72 yards and a score. He did damage on short-to-intermediate receptions and made highlight plays in space.
Brandon Stephens: Stephens gave up some yards in coverage but also two pass breakups, one of which was the deflection that led to Humphrey’s interception in the first quarter. He finished with four solo tackles which ranked second on the team.
Brent Urban: The veteran defensive lineman led the Ravens in quarterback hits (three), sacks (two), and tackles-for-loss (two) on the night.
Who gets your vote for game ball recipient from the Ravens’ Week 16 victory?
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