Ravens report card versus the Vikings: The offense
The Baltimore Ravens beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-29 in a game that ended up being a thriller. It was the first time I have ever seen significant snow at M&T Bank Stadium and it did effect play. The Ravens are used to playing games in tough weather.
Quarterback: The Ravens still threw the ball despite the winter weather. Numbers lie when it comes to tell you how Joe Flacco played, Flacco played extremely well. Flacco threw three touchdowns and three interceptions for 245 yards. Only one of those interceptions I really blamed on Flacco and that was the first one that he threw up trying to connect to Bernard Pierce. Jacoby Jones had a catch in his hands then lost it and it was intercepted, clearly not Flacco’s fault.
The most impressive part of Flacco’s game were the two touchdowns late in the game, one to Dennis Pitta on 4th down and one to Marlon Brown with four seconds remaining to seal the win. Flacco put together an 80 yard drive in less than 45 seconds. Clearly the 64.2 quarterback rating is missing something. Grade A
Running backs: Ray Rice was actually effective in the running game and in the receiving game. Rice had a good average per carry with 3.9 yards a carry and totaled 67 yards, a good sign. Rice also had five receptions for 42 yards which is something the Ravens need from him. Pierce did not have a great game. Grade B
Receivers: Torrey Smith was absent in this game, he only had one reception for 11 yards. The big star of the game was Marlon Brown who has not been used much in recent weeks. Brown had a beautiful catch to win the game for the Ravens barely getting his toes in. Brown had seven receptions for 92 yards and still makes me wonder how this guy was not a first round pick.
Dennis Pitta was a welcome addition, early on he was rusty but he showed just how much Flacco needs him. Pitta knocked off the rust with a few drops early on but then wheeled off six receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. Jones also had a good game despite the already mentioned drop that led to an interception. Grade B+
Offensive line: This unit may have had their best game of the season. Flacco actually had plenty of time on a lot of plays and even though Flacco made some extra time with some good moves the line still held up. Only two sacks allowed is good for this unit. Rice was able to run the ball straight up the middle as well. Grade B
Overall: A furious end of the game that was just awesome. The Ravens offense seemed to click late in the game when Pitta got the rust off. Pitta is a huge player for the Ravens and it is obvious that he has been missed. Great game despite the bad weather for the offense. Grade A