The cold, windy and wet conditions impacted Sunday's 49ers-Ravens game, which Baltimore won 20-17 on a 49-second field goal from the last kicker Justin Tucker. However, the Week 13 showdown was still delivered as an entertaining battle between two of the best teams in the NFL.
Due in part to the weather, the league's MVP candidate, Lamar Jackson, struggled with a handful of failed pitches, finishing the game after completing 14 of his 23 pass attempts for 105 yards and a touchdown. However, Jackson also managed 101 yards on the ground in 16 carries to give the best offensive in the NFL enough against his best defense in terms of yards per game.
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With their victory, the Ravens reached 10-2 and strengthened their control over the AFC North. The 49ers, whose chance to secure a spot in the playoffs this week was ruined by the loss in Baltimore, fell to 10-2 and tied with the Saints for the best record in the NFC.
However, even in a losing effort, San Francisco was impressive enough on Sunday along the way to think that this defeat means nothing to the big picture. The 49ers beat the Ravens based on a handful of statistics, including total yards (331-283) and yards per play (6.4-4.6). Baltimore, which had the advantage in possession time (32: 26-27: 34) simply held the ball long enough in its final possession to give Tucker the chance of the winning shot.
Below are three conclusions from Sunday's game in Baltimore.
The 49ers and the Ravens are equally difficult to stop in attack for different reasons.
Don't take much of Sunday's relatively low score. Given the conditions in which the game was played in Baltimore, a total of 37 points scored was surprising, especially considering that both the 49ers and the Ravens entered with the top five scoring defenses.
Yes, Jackson's sheer talent allowed Baltimore to produce a handful of highlights against the best defense in the league in terms of allowed yards per game, but game designs in the scheme of coordinator Greg Roman continue to give Baltimore easy opportunities in the first attempts and extended units. In the end, those conversions were the reasons why the Ravens were able to run the time and kick the game winner.
The Ravens are very difficult to defend because every play is essentially an option, with Jackson typically delivering or faking a transfer to players like Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards. A lot of movement distracts the defenders of the race action in the field, and of course, Jackson must be considered in each capture, through a QB spy or at least one area coverage appearance. And that area coverage allows receivers like tight end Mark Andrews to find places to complete easily and intermediately.
Similarly, 49ers often use the movement to make defenders run in certain directions in the snap. When that motion is working and the offensive is clicking, San Francisco can be as dangerously offensive as its Week 13 opponent.
Ravens entered the game with the third best defense in the league, allowing 87.7 yards per game, and the 49ers accumulated 174 yards on the ground on Sunday thanks to a heavy dose of Raheem Mostert. The dominant blockade of San Francisco in the lead is complemented by the physicality of tight end George Kittle, who has defenders in blocking the race as much as he does in capturing passes.
These offenses look different due to the skill sets of their respective QB, but a key element they have in common is versatility. On Sunday, the 49ers had five different players take the ball and seven different players catch passes. The Ravens had four different players running the ball and nine different players catching passes.
Thanks in part to these dangerous offenses, 49ers vs. Ravens in Week 13 was announced as a possible preview of the Super Bowl. Nothing about Sunday's result changes the perspective of the championship for any of the teams.
However, the winning team has at least one exposed weakness.
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Marcus Peters is a responsibility in the Ravens High School.
Peters contributed an interception (and some words of choice after the game) to the beating of the Ravens against the Rams last week. Against the 49ers, it was the kind of responsibility that could harm the Ravens in the future.
The 26-year-old cornerback had a bad day against San Francisco. He was chosen in coverage and harassed in the running game; For example, his failed tackle attempt at Mostert in the second quarter allowed visitors to tie the game.
Peters' performance aside, the way the 49ers decided to attack him told us everything we need to know about how to see the CB. In the first third chance situation of the game, San Francisco Garoppolo quarterback went straight to Peters on a pitch to Kendrick Bourne for a conversion.
A few plays later, in a quarter and 2 from the Baltimore 33-yard line, Garoppolo threw a deep ball into Peters' coverage. Deebo Samual simply placed himself in front of the corner, hooked the ball and entered the final zone for a touchdown in the first possession of the game.
Pass defense in general is an area of concern for the Ravens, who entered Week 13 allowing 235 aerial yards per game. The three interceptions Peters has recorded since he was changed from Los Angeles to Baltimore in October clearly do not scare the opposing coaches. San Francisco criticized him all day in week 13.
If Peters continues to be a weakness for the Baltimore defense, he probably won't harm the team during the last four weeks of the season in clashes against the Bills, Jets, Browns and Steelers. However, if the Ravens attract the Patriots, Chiefs or even the Texans in the playoffs, those offenses will want to attack Peters.
Pass interference continues to be a guessing game in the NFL.
At the end of the third quarter of Sunday, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh challenged the lack of a penalty for pass interference on the deep 49ers, Jimmie Ward, who the coach thought interfered with tight end Mark Andrews when he arrived a deep ball from Jackson. See the work below.
After the revision of the repetition by the NFL in New York, the play remained as (not) convened. Harbaugh lost his challenge and a timeout.
Many observers noted that Ward, as a defender, has the same right to the ball, and the fact that he turned his head back and played the ball means that it was a good decision. Others, however, noted that NFL officials interfere with the pass depending on whether the defender "significantly hinders,quot; the receiver's opportunity to catch the ball. In that sense, Andrews did not have many possibilities.
This is the last example of anyone, including coaches, who know what to expect this season when NFL reviews pass interfering calls or no calls. After the first half of the season featured a surprisingly low number of PI calls dumped after the review, some suggested that a lack of call in the Ravens-Texans game a few weeks ago caused a change in league trends, as They have made more calls dump in subsequent weeks.
However, not Sunday in Baltimore. The guessing game continues with the expiration of one year of the league in the pass interference review.