The Baltimore Ravens (12-3) dominated the San Francisco 49ers (11-4) on the road beating the NFC leaders 33-19 on Christmas night and moving to the top of the NFL standings all by themselves as the lone team in the league with 12 wins in 15 games through 16 weeks of play.
Even with a sublime Lamar Jackson leading the offense of the Flock and helping the team putting points on the board, it was Baltimore's defense who really went away with the biggest W on Monday.
Under the guidance of the defensive coordinator (and probably a 2024 head coach away from Baltimore, as much as that hurts me to accept) Mike Macdonald, the Ravens put the stout clamps on the Niners and mostly on quarterback and former MVP candidate Brock Purdy.
The result? Four intercepted passes thrown by Purdy, plus a bonus one by backup quarterback Sam Darnold (yes, that Sam Darnold) once the starter left the game injured suffering a stinger in the final quarter.
Purdy was limited to 18-of-32 completed passes and and 255 yards but he was also the man throwing four picks on the day. That means more than 12% of his pass attempts went for interceptions. Sheesh...
This was, also, Purdy's first scoreless game since September 17 and undoubtedly the worst performance of his career. It marked the first time since 2015 that a Niners quarterback threw four interceptions in a single game. On Christmas of all days...
Darnold replaced Purdy but could not turn the tide, managing 81 yards on 8-of-14 passing with a touchdown and an interception not shown in the clip above.
Justin Madubuike couldn't add another historic sack to his ongoing streak, but he recorded three tackles against the 49ers. Jadeveon Clowney was always bringing the heat to the Niners backfield and applying pressure to the passer. Travis Jones contributed two tackles and a quarterback hit.
Roquan Smith led the team with eight tackles and fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen recorded an interception. Kyle Van Noy added a sack.
Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Williams each had a pick, with Williams also recording seven tackles. Kyle Hamilton was once more the best defender on the field representing the Purple and Black, grabbing two more interceptions (including one in the end zone) on Monday.
On and on it went, with the defense never stopping to perform on the day and on a play-by-play basis against a supposed Super Bowl contender. Perhaps San Francisco, at the end of the day, is more of a pretender than a real pretender? Surely a question wortch asking following Monday's trouncing...