Ravens Sack Their Way Past Jags, 20-12.

Featured, Sports and Bets — December 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm by

As a fan, it’s sometimes hard to tell if the Ravens are playing poorly, or if their opponent is playing exceptional football.  Today I’ll go with the latter.  The Jacksonville Jaguars brought everything they had today to the Big Crabcake.  They pulled out all the stops: fake punts, onside kicks, the kitchen sink- it was all on display. Throw in the fact that the Jags also brought a physical and tough defense to the party today and what was supposed to be a Baltimore administered blowout turned into a rugged tackle football game.

But still, even as well as the Jags played, if the Ravens had lost, it would have been an inexcusable defeat.  Teams in the playoff hunt can’t lose to 2-11 teams at home.

Thankfully, the Ravens brought some defense of their own.  At the forefront was Baltimore’s furious pass rush.  There was constant pressure on Jaguars’ QB, Blake Bortles and that’s what ultimately  paved the way to a purple and black victory.  The Ravens sacked Bortles eight times.   Babes was spot on the money in his chalk-talk assessment of this matchup- the Jags just couldn’t protect.  Terrell Suggs seemed to be attached to Bortles’ hip- he was in the backfield so often.  The pressure was constant, and if the Ravens weren’t putting Bortles on the ground, they were at least in his personal space, disrupting plays and wrecking havoc.

The Ravens’ sack totals shook out like this:

Suggs: 2.5

Jernigan: 2.0

McPhee: 1.5

Dumervil: 1.0

Mosley: 1.0

It was an awesome defensive display.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens

Meanwhile, Flacco was sacked exactly zero times.  The O-Line kept him clean.  The only problem was, the O-Line had distinct issues creating running lanes for Justin Forsett and company.  The Ravens couldn’t manage 100 rushing yards as a team this week and it was obvious that the lack of running game disrupted Kubiak’s game plan.  Luckily, Joe Flacco was on point.  Joe put in a very efficient and solid performance, going 20-30 for 221 yards and a touchdown. (Joe would have completed more passes, but he was plagued by several drops.)  Flacco even put his running shoes on today, taking a called QB run around the right side for ten yards and a first down on a crucial 3rd down with just 3:10  remaining in the game and the Ravens only up five.  It was a ballsy call by Kubiak and it was perfectly executed by Rick Wagner, Marshall Yanda, and Flacco. One could make an argument that it was the biggest play of the game.

Unfortunately the argument would be dead wrong. As nice as that Flacco scamper was, the real play of the game came in the first quarter when the Ravens blocked a Jacksonville punt.  Darrian Stewart came up the gut for the block and Kamar Aiken picked up the rock and went to the house. Aiken didn’t log a catch this week, but he managed to make his presence felt in a huge way.  Without his TD I don’t know if the Ravens win this game.

(Raven factoid: The last Ravens’ score on a blocked punt was done by Ed Reed back in 2003.)

jags 1

Yet despite the good stuff like the sacks, the special teams wizardry, and the solid QB play, it never really felt like the Ravens truly had their A-game on that home gridiron today.  They kinda laid a turd at home today.  Fortunately for the Ravens, you can polish up a turd in the NFL if you find a way to win and that’s exactly what the Ravens did today.  Despite facing an aggressive and professional foe with nothing to lose, the Ravens prevailed.  That’s it, that’s all today was, and the bottom line is that at 9-5, they are still in the hunt.

Game Notes

Facing fourth and eight on the Jags’ 36 with 0:46 seconds left, the Ravens elected to kick a field goal.  They were up by one, 10-9, at the time.  Tucker missed the 54-yarder.  I thought Harbaugh should have gone for the first down. I know Tucker is a great kicker, but up one with the D playing so well, the fourth and eight was a high risk/high reward shot worth taking.  The filed goal was risky, it was missed and the miss gave Jacksonville a perfect opportunity to kick their own field goal and gain the lead going into the half- which is exactly what they did.  Of course, I would never, ever, punt, so take my mumblings and rumblings for what you will.

Marlon Brown paced the receiving corps for 5 catches and 66 yards.

Owen Daniels had a nice game with 4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Justin Tucker missed two field goals.  Neither were chip-shots, but I can’t remember the last time that shit happened.

Terrance Brooks is out for the year with an ACL.  Asa Jackson hurt his PCL and is more than likely to miss significant time.  The secondary has been utterly destroyed by injury.  It’s a mess.  Rashaan Melvin filled in today and played well, plus Antoine Cason will be activated next week. Those two really need to step up.  Sigh.

Now it’s onto Houston next week for another must-win against the Texans and JJ Watt.  The playoffs started today.

 

stats:  NFL.com

cover pic: abc2

 

 

 

 

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