Bal 33, NYG 14
The Ravens ended their three-game losing streak in convincing fashion with a dominating win over the Giants. The 33-14 win was one of their most dominant wins of the season and it came as a great time as it gives the Ravens their second consecutive division title.
With the division locked up, the Ravens now wonder as to whether or not they will get the No. 3 seed or the No. 4 seed. Although the 3 seed is in play, it'll take a New England Patriots loss and a Ravens win to get that slight advantage.
This was clearly a great win for the Ravens and it certainly gives them some optimism for their upcoming playoff run. Let's take a look at how the Ravens individual players did this week.
Flacco shined in his second game with Jim Caldwell as his offensive coordinator. He kept the offense in great harmony and targeted multiple receivers all throughout the game.
He was helped considerably by a running game that got better as time went on. Flacco threw for two touchdowns and ran one in as well. He also helped out a ton by not turning the ball over for the first time since Week 9.
Rice got 30 carries and he delivered with a dominant game. 107 rushing yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season added up to one of his finest games this year. Jim Caldwell did a great job feeding Rice and making him the centerpoint of the offense.
Rice may have got the touchdown and more total yards but Pierce actually outperformed him. He had his first day topping 100 rushing yards and got a 78-yard run that was one yard away from a touchdown. He's got the tools needed to get 10-15 carries a game and we can certainly expect to see him help with the run game during the playoffs.
With 224 total rushing yards, Anthony Allen actually did some damage early on tonight. He got one run and one catch, which represents his best game since Week 1.
Great job opening up running lanes for Rice and Pierce today. It's good to see that Caldwell remembered how to utilize his All-Pro fullback this week.
It's not often that a player designated as questionable on the pre-game injury report goes and tears up the competition. Smith did just that today as he racked up 88 receiving yards and his eighth touchdown of the year. He had a clear mismatch with Corey Webster and Smith was able to take advantage of it with two of his passes going longer than 20 yards.
Boldin was a beast today as he took in 93 receiving yards on seven catches. He did hurt the team early on with an offensive holding penalty in the first quarter and a slow start out of the gate. He recovered from that slow start though and was constantly getting open for big gains down the middle of the field.
Tough break getting his second receiving touchdown of the year called back. Jones didn't get shut out though and he still added one catch, this one only going for seven yards. This catch was initially ruled a fumble though so Jones needs to work on securing his catches in future games.
Obviously this game was a comedown from his monster performance last week against the Denver Broncos. Still Pitta recovered from a first half with zero catches and he put up 56 receiving yards. This is now the third straight game that Pitta has had over 40 receiving yards and it looks like he's finally becoming a consistent threat on offense.
After missing three games because of injury, Dickson returned and admittedly made little impact. Still he had a nine-yard reception where he showed some speed.
This was overall an improved game for the offensive line. Oher was good for the most part, however he had his name called again for three dumb penalties which were all on the same drive.
The penalties included a false start for five yards, an offensive holding for 10 yards and a personal foul for 15 yards. Way too many penalties for Oher and he really needs to stop being sloppy, as him drawing penalties is now a very frequent occurrence.
Good to see Yanda back from his sprained ankle. Easily the Ravens best offensive lineman, Yanda was a big part of the reason why the line didn't allow any sacks today.
Solid game by Birk. He was good in both run blocking and pass blocking.
One of the more maligned offensive linemen, it was refreshing to see Reid have a good game for once. He won the battle at the line of scrimmage versus the Giants vaunted pass rush.
Osmele did a good job run blocking and pass blocking. Amazing that he seems to have more poise and be way more at ease as a rookie, than Oher is in his fourth season.
Not a bad game for Jones who continues to split time with McPhee at defensive end. Both players did not sack Eli Manning but they still put the pressure on him and also helped to shut down the Giants running game.
McPhee didn't show up much on the stat sheet with only one tackle. Still he fought hard in the trenches and came close to hitting Manning several times.
It's extremely enjoyable to see a big player like Cody actually go in there and use his size to beat up on the other team's running back. Ahmed Bradshaw led the Giants with 39 rushing yards, in what was an abysmal running day that saw the Ravens run defense play like it did back in 2006 or 2007.
Ngata had a great game with three tackles and a sack of Manning. He continued to show why he's been arguably the team's best defensive player this season and his consistency in the Ravens usually inconsistent defensive line is really appreciated.
Only one tackle for Upshaw who surprisingly didn't make much impact on the field.
With injuries still afflicting the linebackers, special teamer Ayanbadejo was called to take some snaps at linebacker. Even though he rarely plays at linebacker, Ayanbadejo was up for the challenge and he played with energy, even sacking Manning once.
Ellerbe returned this week so he was on the field more than Bynes was. Still this former practice squad player looked alright during his time on the field and he still managed to record one tackle.
Who would have thought that Ellerbe returning would provide such a jolt for the defense? Ellerbe has without a doubt been one of the top surprises of 2012 and he has clearly stepped up as one of the main defensive leaders in Ray Lewis's absence. For this game, he led the team in tackles with five.
Healthy again, Suggs got a sack early. Unfortunately he was called for a penalty and it was negated. Suggs looked healthy today and he appeared on the stat sheet with two tackles.
Entasked with the unenviable task of lining up against Victor Cruz and occasionally Hakeem Nicks, Graham responded masterfully. Cruz had three catches for only 21 yards and Nicks was shut out entirely. Both Graham and Williams deserve credit as they were both excellent in coverage.
It's nice to have a game where Williams didn't give up many big plays. He easily won the battle against Cruz, the Giants top wideout and one of the most feared slot receivers in the league. Williams also accumulated a lot of tackles, finishing the day with five.
Somewhat of a rough game for Brown who came in on obvious passing situations. Most of the day he was lined up against Domenik Hixon, who had the best day of any Giants receiver. Hixon beat Brown twice, on a play that was negated by offensive pass interference and then on a play that was the Giants only receiving touchdown in the game.
Solid start in place of Bernard Pollard. Ihedigbo did a decent job in coverage and he also put up four tackles.
Reed's day was masked by a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cruz. With it being an illegal hit, the only question is how much money Reed will be fined for it. It was an unfortunate call but with Reed's reputation as a repeat offender, he's not going to catch any breaks when he hits a player like that.
It's always enjoyable to see players who stuck out in the preseason making an impact in the regular season as well. Brown had a reputation as a turnover machine in the preseason, recovering three fumbles and catching an interception. He didn't have any recoveries today but he did get his first NFL sack and he got his first NFL tackle.
The offense started out putting up touchdowns but with the score being so lopsided, they were content to put up field goals late in the game. Tucker made every field goal finishing four-for-four on the day. All of his kicks were short yet he's still so automatic that it serves as a huge plus for the offense going into the playoffs.
Only two punts today. Both punts were really impressive too as Koch notched punts of 57 and 60 yards.
Jones mostly just made it out to the 20 on his kick returns. So it wasn't a particularly impressive game although he didn't lose any yards on his returns this time.
This was a game that both teams needed. And instead of the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants emerging victorious, it was a Ravens team that has been heavily criticized of late.
Harbaugh deserves considerable credit for this victory which helped his team clinch it's second consecutive division title. There would have been plenty of excuses for the Ravens to quit, what with injuries and the transition of a new coordinator. Instead they pounded a playoff contender into submission and for at least one week, put to rest some of the doubts surrounding this team.
Amazing how things can change in one week. Now it seems like getting rid of Cam Cameron for Caldwell was not a bad move as Caldwell called a brilliant game. Spreading the ball out, giving Ray Rice 20+carries, protecting the quarterback were some of the unit's highlights today.
If Caldwell builds on this game, Ravens fans have reason to be excited for their first postseason without Cameron.
Another game with injured defensive stars and yet the Ravens defense had a dominant showing. The secondary shut down most of the Giants receiving options and a linebacker corps filled with backups played their hearts out.
Pees has done an admirable job in building this defense back after repeat embarrassing games back in October. They are now one of the top red zone defenses and things seem to be coming into focus heading into the playoffs.