Having written several times already that this past Sunday’s 41-7 thrashing of the Baltimore Ravens by the Patriots was something the team needed to quickly forget, it is just about as healthy that we writers forget about it speedily as well. So this weekly column on “the story of the stats” will be shorter than most – as honestly, the stat of 41-7 is difficult to absorb.
Beyond that, honestly again, the stats do not vary so dramatically as one might expect for a 41-7 final. In fact, the Ravens outgained the Patriots in total offence 358 to 300 yards. Through the air, the Ravens also held the edge 237 to 158; and the Patriots only had a slim margin in rushing, 142 to 121.
But as so often happens, it was the turning over of the ball that made the difference in the game. Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and Tyrod Taylor had a 74-yard pick six late in the game. The Ravens also lost a fumble in the final minutes that was recovered for a touchdown. The Patriots did not turn the ball over at all.
Two other glaring numbers jump off the stats page:
1. Penalties – The Ravens lost 83 yards on 9 penalties. Ugh! This was only slightly blunted by the Patriots giving up 58 yards on 7 penalties. Ugly by any measure!
2. Red Zone Offense – Among the comments on the game preview last week, it was stated that the Ravens simply had to have a good game in the red zone – both on offense and defense – to have a chance to win. Within the 20 yard line, the Ravens were 1-3, while New England was 3-3. The failure of the Ravens to muscle through short yardage situations was a critical breakdown, as it has been throughout the season.
Beyond these glaring numbers, consider that Ray Rice tallied 40 yards on 11 carries, with Bernard Pierce getting 31 on 10 touches. And this was against one of the poorer rushing defenses. Apart from an 11th hour resurrection, the difficulty in running the ball (along with the unusually high number of interceptions) will be the lasting memory of this odd season.