Ravens vs. 49ers: Final Game Grades, Player Analysis for Baltimore
Ravens - 34
49ers - 31
The Ravens got out to an early lead as they started the second half up 28-6. The 49ers made a valiant effort and got within a score on several occasions, but were never able to overtake the Ravens.
Baltimore has certainly had a Cinderella-type postseason as they have been underdogs in their last three straight games only to come away with impressive victories.
The Ravens should be very proud of their recent performances as they hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the second time.
Let's take a look at some key Ravens players who played a major role in this all-important Super Bowl victory.
Grades for players and positional units are based upon the criteria listed below:
An "A" grade is granted to a player who far surpasses the expectations set out for him during the game. This player will absolutely be a key factor to the success of his team.
A "B" grade will be given to a player who plays at an above-average level and contributes throughout the game with very few mistakes.
A "C" grade is handed to a player who has an average game. He may not put up gaudy numbers or be a major contributor, but he will not be the main cause for certain team failures.
A "D" grade will be granted to a player who plays below his ability level. This player would have seen better days on the field and would most likely want a do-over for his performance.
An "F" grade will stick to a player who fails at all levels during a game. He may even be one key factor to a team's struggles, or even its loss.
Overall Game Grade - A+
Flacco was impressive throughout as he completed passes on short and intermediate routes with impressive precision.
As the MVP of the Super Bowl, Flacco seems to have proved his worth as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL after putting up such amazing performances in the biggest games of his young career.
Flacco finished with 22 completions out of 33 attempts for 287 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 124.2.
Those statistics would be great for any game as an NFL quarterback, but to put up those numbers against such a great defense in the Super Bowl speaks volumes about this quarterback.
Ray Rice - Overall Game Grade - C-
Ray Rice did not have the kind of day in the Super Bowl that he would have liked. He struggled to find running room as he only averaged three yards on the day.
In addition to that, his fumbling problems in the postseason continued as he was stripped on a swing pass and recovered by the 49ers defense.
Rice did churn out some tough yards though and was able to pick up a few first downs on the ground for the Ravens on the day which extended drives.
Rice was serviceable enough to keep the 49ers defense honest, but was not his usual game-changer self.
Bernard Pierce - Overall Game Grade - C-
Bernard Pierce was about as serviceable on the ground as Rice. He only gained 33 yards on 12 attempts which is only good for a 2.8 yard-per-carry average.
Pierce, however, did not tack on a fumble to his resume tonight and spelled Rice in a decent fashion when his number was called.
Both of the running backs were very underwhelming, but they did face a tough task against one of the best rushing defenses in the league.
Anquan Boldin - Overall Game Grade - A
Anquan Boldin was once again the top target for quarterback Joe Flacco and showed his reliability during the Super Bowl.
Boldin had one big drop early in the game, but regrouped after and ended with six receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.
It was not just the numbers that Boldin produced tonight, it was the way he put them on the stat sheet.
Boldin was seen time and time again making the tough catch with defenders draped all over him only to muscle the ball away and create some huge plays for the Ravens offense.
If this game were to name a second MVP, Boldin's performance would definitely be very deserving of those honors.
Jacoby Jones - Overall Game Grade - B
Jacoby Jones was only targeted twice during the Super Bowl, but he made one of those targets count in a big way.
Jones caught one pass for 56 yards and a touchdown after he was able to use his speed to get behind the 49ers secondary and have the consciousness to realize he was not touched upon hitting the ground only to get up and run in for the score.
Jones, not Torrey Smith, became the deep threat in which Flacco relies heavily and opened up the game toward the end of the first half with his beautiful reception.
Dennis Pitta - Overall Game Grade - B
Dennis Pitta was a great security blanket for Flacco one again today. Pitta was a very reliable underneath target and ended up with four receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown.
Pitta's touchdown catch opened up the game early for the Ravens and was a catalyst to a first half blowout.
In a virtually mistake-free game, Pitta showed why he has become one of the more reliable tight ends in the NFL when used to his full potential.
Expect big things from this young tight end in years to come.
Offensive Line - Overall Game Grade - B+
The offensive line was going to be the key to the Ravens offense today against a dangerous 49ers pass rush.
They held up in a huge way as they only allowed two sacks on Flacco.
Michael Oher was phenomenal on the outside against Justin Smith and company as he did not allow a sack on the day to these great pass rushers.
The line did have a slight problem opening up holes for the running game on a consistent basis, but held up well enough in pass protection to warrant a very nice grade for the game.
These five big guys up front are a huge reason why the Ravens were able to put up 34 points on a vaunted 49ers defense.
Defensive Line - Overall Game Grade - B
The defensive line had a bit of an up and down day during the Super Bowl.
They started out very strong as they were able to contain the dominant rushing attack of the 49ers early on.
Arthur Jones was a huge standout in this area as he totaled two tackles including a sack and a fumble recovery.
Later on in the game, the defensive line had a bit of trouble getting off their blocks as the zone-read offense of Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers started to get the best of them.
The line was able to rally when it counted most and stopped the 49ers from getting crucial yards in the red zone while holding them without a touchdown on several attempts.
Dannell Ellerbe - Overall Game Grade - B+
Dannell Ellerbe really showcased his speed today as he flew all over the field making great open field tackles against 49ers running backs and receivers.
Ellerbe led the Ravens in total tackles during the Super Bowl with a total of nine. He matched up very well against some of the speedier players on the 49ers offense and was able to stay focused and maintain his position to be able to make a play in space.
Courtney Upshaw - Overall Game Grade - B
Courtney Upshaw had a great game in his young career during the Super Bowl.
He totaled five tackles including one of a loss and also was able to strip LaMichael James deep in 49ers territory which lead to a recovery by the Ravens defense.
Upshaw certainly stepped up his play today and with Ray Lewis retiring, will be a player that this Ravens defense will look to count on for years to come.
Ray Lewis - Overall Game Grade - C+
Ray Lewis finished up his professional career in the best way possible -- with a Super Bowl victory.
This future Hall of Fame linebacker gutted it out to the very end on Sunday evening. While Lewis did not have a stellar game, he was still able to contribute in a very serviceable way.
Lewis struggled in coverage over the middle of the field and showed that he was not 100 percent as he could not seem to keep up with faster players in his territory.
He did show that he can still be a force in the running game and is a sure tackler when able to take the right angles.
Lewis finished second on the team with a total of seven tackles to end his fantastic career.
Ed Reed - Overall Game Grade - A
Ed Reed was all over the field again during the Super Bowl and was his usual ball-hawking self.
Reed may not play for the Ravens next season, but he certainly exited on a big performance.
During the Super Bowl, Reed totaled five tackles (all of which were solo) and recorded the Ravens only interception of the game on Kaepernick.
Reed was never seen out of position and had his best game of the postseason on the largest stage possible. This future Hall of Fame player has shown that he still has plenty left in the tank after posting a great performance tonight.
Corey Graham - Overall Game Grade - B
Corey Graham continues to be a tackling machine. He finished third on the team with a total of six tackles and added two passes defensed.
Graham was in great position for most of the game on Sunday night and put himself in great position to make a play on the ball or make a tackle early without allowing many yards after the catch.
After 60 tackles in the regular season, Graham has really stepped up his play in the postseason and looks to be a cornerstone in this Ravens defense.
Cary Williams - Overall Game Grade - C
Cary Williams had a very decent game overall while recording three tackles and defending two passes.
He made some great highlight reel-type plays, but was also out of position at times as well. Williams' grade could have been much lower as he shoved an official during the game which may have lead to a penalty or even an ejection.
Special Teams - Overall Game Grade - B+
Special teams was finally very special for the Ravens this week. In recent weeks they have had a great deal of struggles, but seemed to have finally been able to right the ship for the Super Bowl.
Jacoby Jones was a human highlight reel as he began the second half by returning the kickoff 109 yards for a touchdown which accounted for a new NFL record.
Jones averaged 41.2 yards on five kickoff returns and added a 14 yard average on two punt returns. Both were very impressive numbers for a returner in such a huge game.
Justin Tucker was perfect again today as he connected on four extra points and two field goals.
Not only was he precise in the field goal game, but he showcased his strong leg on kickoffs and did not allow and 49ers returners much room to maneuver on kick returns.
The fake field goal attempt (which was the first ever in a Super Bowl) was a bit of a miscue for the Ravens, but that will weigh more heavily on the coaching staff than the execution by the players.
Coaching Staff - Overall Game Grade - B+
They had their defense dialed in early to stop the dangerous pistol offense that has been so effectively run by the 49ers.
Offensively, they decided to put the game in the hands of red-hot quarterback Joe Flacco and did not steer away from this pass-heavy offense at all.
Holes in special teams were finally stitched up as the coverage units on kickoffs and punts were much more effective than they have been in the past few games of the postseason.
One mishap for the coaching staff was the call for a fake field goal while leading the game 14-3.
In a game of this magnitude, when in field goal range for a kicker who has not missed in quite some time, it is easy to say that taking the points should be imperative.
It is also easy to say that if the play was converted, this would be a non-issue. Not true. Even if it was a successful conversion, it would not have been worth the risk, and if the 49ers would have been able to pull off a touchdown late in the game, that field goal would have come back to haunt the Ravens in a big way.
Still, overall, the coaching staff deserves a huge amount of credit for what they have accomplished this season and taking this team to an incredible run to become Super Bowl champions.