Monday, February 04, 2013

Lessons From The Ravens' Super Bowl Win Over The 49ers

As a Green Bay Packers' fan, I was hoping for a 49ers victory to justify the Packers' earlier loss to them. At least the Packers lost to the Super Bowl champs for the second year in a row! It would have been a small consolation, but it's as close as I could come to caring about this game.

While I didn't watch much of it, I did catch the entire 30 minute power outage (bad timing on my part) so I'm not going to break down match-ups that I wasn't watching closely. Thoughout the playoffs, it's seemed like it's been QB Joe Flacco showing up big at the right time. The Ravens won when he's played well. He recorded a QB rating of over 100 six times during the 2012 regular season and the Ravens were 5-1 in those games. During their 4-0 playoff run, he was above 100 in each of their wins.

I think the key lesson here is to make the playoffs and hope your team catches fire (in this case Joe Flacco) at the right time. Here's what Football Outsiders wrote before the Ravens' first playoff game:
The 2012 Baltimore Ravens just weren't really very good. They were essentially an average team on offense and defense that happened to have the league's best special teams. Special teams do matter, but they have a much higher variability than offense or defense. You can't trust special teams to get you a win on their own. While the Colts are the weakest team in the AFC field, the Ravens are the second-weakest if you take out special teams.
While most predictions expected the Ravens to beat the Colts, they were far from an overwhelming favorite. I didn't even look up their next two playoff wins at Denver and New England, but I'd expect they were generally expected to lose. In the Super Bowl, an average Ravens' defense did just enough, Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff for a touchdown on special teams, and Flacco's deep ball turned their offense into a very good one. You can't say you saw it coming based on the regular season, but the Ravens played their best at the right time and won the championship.

Maybe the Packers were just that close to winning a championship too. If their defense could have been average (instead of record setting awful) against the 49ers, and WR Jeremy Ross could have returned a kick for a score (instead of fumbling it away), it was a playoff game the Packers could have won. It's not that hard to imagine.


NorthStarr said...

What little I cared led me to root against the Niners (couldn't root FOR either of those teams).

While Super Bowls certainly aren't the ONLY championships that matter in NFL history, I wanted to see the end of the 'oh' in the Niners' then 5-0 Super Bowl record.

Other than that, I rooted against a blowout, and for my pool numbers. :)

Brandon said...

Every year I threaten to give up picking numbers, and every year I give in. And once again I came up with a big zero in all three pools I entered. That's just one game I never win.

NorthStarr said...

LOL -- I struck out in five pools Sunday.

I swear it seems like the last time I hit on a Super Bowl board was when the Giants (& Scott Norwood) beat the Bills.