What a way to end the season. The game fit the season perfectly, with the team creating big plays, missing field goals, getting the fans nervous, and with Frank Walker committing a lot of penalties. So many it makes your brain hurt. Here’s some conclusions I drew from watching.
- Ray Rice can do everything. Run, catch, block and pump up his teammates.
- Willis McGahee was the star of the game with 3 TDs, a fiendish stiff arm and looking explosive and dangerous pretty much every time he got the ball. His totals were: 16 carries, 167 yards and 3 TDs. That’s over 10 yards per carry. He has a lot to thank his offensive line for though, they were excellent in the run game.
- This was not a good week for Derrick Mason to be shut down. The Patriots’ coaching staff were most definitely watching this, scheming of ways to slow down the Ravens’ offense, and Nmandi Asomugha might’ve given them some good ideas.
- Dannell Ellerbee has really seen his role grow. From an undrafted free agent to a guy who’s on the field at least half of the game, with big tackles, a huge interception and a clutch fumble recovery. He was by far, the defensive player with the most impact today.
- Let’s look past the good and now check out the bad parts of that game: the secondary was bad. Against Charlie Frye and JaMarcus Russell. The quarterbacks in the playoffs: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and probably Mark Sanchez. All of them are better than the guys that threw today. Even Sanchez.
- Joe Flacco looked like a rookie for most of the game today. He was jittery, anxious and made pretty bad decisions under pressure. Whenever the pocket was getting tight, he forced a pass to Ray Rice. Not a good philosophy.
- Ray Lewis, Ellerbee, Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry had good games on defense. It’s hard to argue anyone else other than Chris Carr. That’s not a great showing against an offense like the Raiders.
All in all, it was a good win for the circumstances. The Raiders played their hearts out, and you could see it. The Ravens are definitely motivated to get revenge on the Patriots, so the game in Foxborough should be fun. Next Sunday the forecast is no snow, but only 17 degree high. It’ll be tough, but it’ll be fun.
I’ll try to find a video or some pictures of McGahee’s stiff arm in the next few days and post it. Such a great moment.