Young is the best rookie cornerback in the league. The Ravens were on the field for just a short drive the entire game. If Flacco was going to complete passes down the field, he would have had to hold the ball longer. Weddle discusses the final crack in the Ravens’ armor Monday night. Devin Hester, you are fired.
In their ranking of the top 10 rookies of 2016, Pro Football Focus and writer Michael Renner list Tavon Young at #10. He is the top corner on the list. Whether you think this season was one of underachievement and disappoint or not, you have to be happy with the Ravens’ rookie class minus Kamalei Correa. Young is the best of that group. On Monday night, he was responsible for just 16 of the 406 yards Tom Brady accrued. Not too shabby.
Just a Short Drive
If you felt like the Ravens were lucky to score 20 points last night, you weren’t alone. And here’s a stat that just about sums up the entire night.
Ravens did not have a TD drive longer than 22 yards tonight. Cannot beat elite teams if you can't consistently sustain drives #RavensTalk
— Bo Smolka (@bsmolka) December 13, 2016
On a night during which Flacco completed 71% of his passes, that’s an incredibly low total. The Patriots rushed three for most of the night, and Joe was unable to trust his offensive line long enough for his receivers to find holes in their zone. Which explains why 18 of Flacco’s 52 throws were toward his running backs. That’s a big total for an offense that has as many weapons as the Ravens do.
“Joe Flacco wanted to get the ball downfield on Monday night, at least more than he did. The Patriots’ swarming secondary just never gave him the chance,” says Brian MacPherson of the MetroWest Daily News in Firmingham, MA. Flacco was surprised by the amount of zone they played, noting that the Ravens “expected to get probably a little bit more man-to-man” than they saw. Well, Joe, maybe your team should take your advice. “These guys, New England, they’re very game-specific with their plans. You have to be ready to expect anything.”
After Monday night’s game, SI writer Greg Bedard caught up with Eric Weddle to discuss how Tom Brady took advantage of the Ravens. Weddle admits fault on Chris Hogan‘s long touchdown that put Baltimore away after they had just closed the gap to 23-20. Weddle put forth one of his best efforts of an already great season leading up to that point, which made it especially heartbreaking that he would be the one to allow the final blow. But, as Weddle points out in this interview, that’s the price you pay for playing instinctively.
As you may (probably) have heard by now, the Ravens have waived Devin Hester. Even though one Boston’s arrogant sons, Ben Volin thinks it was all because of one play against the Patriots (talk about the epitome of Boston sports fans’ egocentrism), it was obviously more than that. He has been inept at coming up and catching punts all year, and he’s had Ravens fans holding their collective breath all year whenever he actually gets his hands on the ball. If he was anyone other than the objectively greatest punt returner of all time, he’d be gone already.
Anyway, the Ravens have promoted good ol’ Michael Campanaro and his paper skin and glass bones to the active roster. I love this guy when he’s healthy, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s injured again.