Patriots vs. Ravens: Live Grades and Analysis for New England

Sterling Xie@@sxie1281Correspondent IIDecember 22, 2013

Brady and the Pats snapped their two-game losing streak to Baltimore.
Brady and the Pats snapped their two-game losing streak to Baltimore.Rob Carr/Getty Images

The New England Patriots moved within one win of securing a first-round bye for the fourth consecutive season, turning in their best all-around effort of the season against the Baltimore Ravens.

Check out final grades and analysis below.



New England - 41

Baltimore - 7

New England Patriots' Grades
Position Unit1st Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseA-B+
Run OffenseAB+
Run DefenseA-A
Pass DefenseAA-
Special TeamsAA
vs. Ravens

Game Analysis for the New England Patriots

Pass Offense: Tom Brady was a lot more conservative in the second half, seeking to avoid the big turnovers that could have provided the Ravens life. Thus, Baltimore had a lot more success with their aggressive coverages, as Brady was mostly unwilling to give the Ravens a chance to make big plays. It was not a great half, but it was good enough to get the job done.

Run Offense: In a half where efficient running would have sealed the game early, the Pats’ inconsistencies in this area gave Baltimore a flicker of life. However, the backs did run extremely hard on the offense's final touchdown drive, burning clock and ripping off bruising runs with attitude.

Run Defense: The Pats came up with a 4th-and-1 stop in the red zone late in the third quarter, one of three fourth-down stands New England garnered in the second half. Overall, Baltimore was not particularly effective on the ground, finishing with a paltry 3.0 yards per carry average.

Pass Defense: Things were a little shakier overall, but the Pats won some critical situations to keep the Ravens off the board until it was too late to finish the comeback. Logan Ryan picked off another pass, giving the play-making rookie five on the season. This was undoubtedly the unit's best effort in weeks.

Special Teams: Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 42-yard field goal, and Ryan Allen was effective in increased duties throughout the half. Kudos to the kick and punt coverage units as well for holding the explosive Jacoby Jones in check throughout the game.

Coaching: All the omens spelled trouble for New England today, with a difficult opponent facing a must-win situation. Moreover, the Pats suffered various injuries throughout the game, though all of them returned except for Devin McCourty and Shane Vereen. And yet, the Patriots were able to deliver arguably their best 60-minute effort of the season. Credit to Belichick and the staff for an excellent game plan and to the team for its execution.


The Pats delivered an emphatic win over the Ravens.
The Pats delivered an emphatic win over the Ravens.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the New England Patriots

Pass Offense: The key to the Patriots’ offensive success has been the makeshift offensive line, which has held up admirably so far. Consequently, Brady has had enough time to find longer-developing routes, with a robust 8.8 yards per attempt average. The Pats are also doing a good job of creating space for their receivers and combating the press-man coverage—the Shane Vereen touchdown was a perfect example.

Run Offense: New England's game plan today is clearly to pound the rock and control the clock, as they have attempted 19 runs to 13 passes. LeGarrette Blount continues to prove worthy of the starting job, rushing for 56 yards on 10 carries, including a one-yard touchdown. We should see plenty of Blount and Ridley in the second half as the Pats try to protect this lead.

Run Defense: The Ravens have tried to run when the Pats bring on their nickel package, but have only averaged 3.5 yards per carry. With the double-digit lead, don’t expect much on the ground from the Ravens for the rest of the game.

Pass Defense: Admittedly, a clearly hobbled Joe Flacco has aided this unit. But give the Pats credit for consistent execution—they’ve often taken away the middle of the field and forced Flacco into lower-percentage throws deep and outside the numbers. Props to Ryan for New England’s first pick in three weeks, as well as the three first-half sacks he generated.

Special Teams: The Pats switched things up with Vereen on the opening kickoff, but Vereen’s injury will necessitate a change in that department. Elsewhere, Gostkowski rebounded from last week with a 45-yard field goal, and Matthew Slater made a nice open-field tackle on punt coverage to pin the Ravens at their 9-yard line.

Coaching: Well, so much for New England’s first-half doldrums. The Pats came ready to play in a hostile environment, and the onus is on Baltimore to make the halftime adjustments. Nothing to change here.