Monday, December 24, 2012
Upon Further Review: Ravens
By Jamison Hensley
Revisiting the Baltimore Ravens' 33-14 win over the visiting New York Giants:
The difference in Joe Flacco was how the Ravens quarterback handled the blitz.
Flacco faced at least five pass-rushers on 14 of his 36 (38.8 percent) drop-backs Sunday against the Giants, completing 9 of 14 (64.3 percent) passes with two touchdowns against such pressure, according to ESPN Stats & Information. This was a major turnaround for Flacco, who entered the game as one of three quarterbacks completing fewer than 50 percent of his attempts against the blitz this season.
Another factor was the Ravens' offensive line, which gave Flacco solid protection. Flacco entered the game as the seventh-most sacked quarterback in the NFL. On Sunday, he wasn't sacked at all, only the third time that's happened all season (the games against New England and Oakland were the other times).
STAT THAT STICKS: 186 -- Total yards by the Giants, which are the fewest allowed by the Ravens this season. That's nearly half of what the 26th-ranked defense in the NFL had averaged in its first 14 games.
OVERHEARD: "The difference was, for us, I just think we had a little bit more sense of urgency because we knew what was at stake. This was a championship game for us. This solidified a home playoff game and back-to-back division titles. That's huge around here. We'll humble ourselves, we'll enjoy this win and we'll get back to work on Cincinnati because, obviously, they're our next opponent, but playoff football essentially started today." -- Running back Ray Rice
WHAT'S NEXT: The Ravens (10-5) play at Cincinnati (9-6), where they won last season's finale. Baltimore has never lost a regular-season finale under coach John Harbaugh.