Halfway between the snow bowl and the upcoming Monday night showdown in Detroit, it is the time of the week for the story of the stats. The story this week is simply one that is bizarre – interesting and entertaining, but bizarre – as was the entire Baltimore Ravens 29-26 victory.
The weather was the story of the game for the first 90% – making the conditions deplorable for any sort of quality football experience. It becomes some sort of “other” event, as do the statistics associated with it. And even the final quarter and its six touchdowns were weather connected.
Even so, let’s take a shot at what the stats have to say. And of course, the craziest-looking item to jump off the box score is the 42 points of the 55 total being scored in the 4th quarter – 36 of them in the final 2:05!
A quick glance at the stats (without knowing the final score) would seem to reveal a relatively close game probably won by the Vikings. Minnesota had an advantage in total yards 379-324, rushing yards 114-97, and passing yards 265-228. As well, the Vikings had three interceptions of Joe Flacco while losing only one fumble.
The Ravens had the best of the time of possession 32:12 to 27:48 and total return yards of 196-146.
Quickly stated, three things …
1. Red Zone – this has been a concern on both sides of the ball for the Ravens this year, especially on the offense. But on this day, the Ravens were three for three in the red zone with one-yard touchdown passes to Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, and a nine-yard game winner to Marlon Brown. As well, there was a two-point conversion pass to Torrey Smith.
On the defensive side, though the Vikings were one for one in the red zone with an early 4th quarter TD from Matt Cassel to Jerome Simpson, the Ravens twice made Minnesota settle for field goals with drive penetrations stopped at the 22 and the 20.
2. The Return of Dennis Pitta – Related to conversation about the red zone offensive difficulties has been the absence of Pitta. Indeed, his return made a great difference and opened up additional options for Flacco. Pitta, even after a slow start and a couple of drops, ended up gaining 48 tough yards on six catches – one of them a highlight reel dandy.
3. Joe Flacco in the Clutch – This was the 18th time he has brought the Ravens back in the final minutes to win a game – this time doing it twice in the same game. Of his 228 yards, 127 were in the 4th quarter.
Again, stats in a game like this are a bit dubious and skewed by the conditions. Character is not, and desire to win did prevail. Here’s hoping for a more normal weather day in Detroit. Chances are pretty good it will be decent inside Ford Field – so long as the lights don’t go out after the Ravens get a 14-point lead!
Twitter: @OSayOrioles @BaltimoreWireFS