February 3rd marked the end of an era in Baltimore. Ray Lewis played his last NFL game and he walked off the field a champion after completing a goal line stand to defeat the San Francisco 49ers.
Super Bowl 47’s final act gave merit to the fading phrase “Defense Wins Championships.” It’s not entirely true. Great teams win championships and the Ravens were a great team this season.
Let’s take a look at Ray’s last stand:
On First Down, the 49ers lined up in a Shadow formation with Kaepernick in the pistol with backs on either side of him. The 49ers run an option play with LaMichael James eventually getting the carry.
Upshaw is left unblocked because he is the read for Kaepernick. The backs set to the side of Kaepernick are lead blockers for whichever player carries the ball.
The Right Guard is supposed to block Ellerbe. Ellerbe impressively dodges the block. Upshaw keeps good contain on Kaepernick and forces the handoff.
Upshaw puts a little hit on Kaepernick, which ensures that he will think twice about running the ball in the next three downs. Ellerbe slips through the offensive line to make first contact on James.
The Ravens defense limits the run to a three yard gain.
On Second Down the 49ers call a sprint out pass to the right. The 49ers have trips right and are running a variant on the Smash route combination.
The story here is that John Harbaugh had initially requested that Dean Pees call a blitz here to ensure that the 49ers would have to pass the ball. Pees fortunately resisted because Kaepernick would have walked into the end zone. Instead the Ravens played a form of zone coverage. Upshaw did a great job of containing Kaepernick and Graham and Ed Reed held good outside leverage on their receivers.
No one is really open for Kaepernick as he throws off balance.
Graham makes a nice play on Crabtree at the front pylon and prevents the touchdown.
On Third Down, the 49ers put Crabtree in the backfield and try to get a mismatch by motioning him into a route at the snap of the ball.
Here you can see Crabtree running towards the sideline. By moving the receiver the 49ers are hoping to cause the defense confusion or to get outside leverage on the defender. Corey Graham tells Bernard Pollard to slide over because he is now responsible for covering Delanie Walker, who Graham is lined up over.
Pollard is in a horrible position to cover Walker and he looks confused as he jogs past Ray Lewis.
Walker is wide open on the goal line but Kaepernick had pre-determined where he was going with the ball as he threw to Crabtree who was covered by Graham. Jimmy Smith comes off his coverage to lay a hit on the receiver.
Ray Lewis was a key player on the final play of his career. On Fourth Down, the 49ers line up in a Pistol formation with a TE to the right and Crabtree split wide with Jimmy Smith in coverage. The Ravens bring a six-man rush.
Kaepernick sees the one-on-one coverage and checks to a fade for Crabtree. Kaepernick is counting on his offensive line to protect him long enough to release the ball.
Ray Lewis blitzes the A Gap and draws the attention of the Left Guard. The Left Tackle takes Suggs instead of blocking down and allows Ellerbe to get a clean hit on Kaepernick. Someone on the 49ers failed to recognize a blitz. Had the 49ers slid protection to the left an offensive lineman would have been able to block each rusher except for McPhee who would be picked up by Gore. The 49ers failed to execute here and Kaepernick threw an inaccurate pass.
When that ball landed out of bounds the Ravens were World Champs. It wasn’t easy but who thought it would be? These men fought through everything imaginable this year. I’m proud to be a fan. Go Ravens.