This past Monday night, fans were treated to a back and forth game with playoff implications as the Baltimore Ravens faced off against the Detroit Lions in the Motor City. In this week’s Monday Night Football All-22 film review, I break down some of the key plays that lead to Baltimore’s 18-16 victory.
Detroit jumped out to a 7-0 lead early on thanks to a 14 yard touchdown run by Reggie Bush. As you’ll see in the clip below, what makes this play work is Matthew Stafford’s audible at the line, switching the direction of this running play. Baltimore safety Matt Elam is lined up a few yards off the line of scrimmage before the snap. Stafford sees this, and audibles at the line of scrimmage, flipping the direction of this run AWAY from Elam. The other safety for the Ravens, James Ihedigbo, is playing deep and not in position to provide run support. The Ravens are now not properly set up to stop this run, and the end result is a foot race to the corner of the endzone between Reggie Bush and linebacker Daryl Smith, and that’s a matchup the Lions will take every time.
Early in the second quarter, the Ravens scored their first of six field goals after the following play got them into the redzone. On 3rd down with 1 yard to go, the Ravens run a great mis-direction play which completely fools the Detroit Lions’ defense. On this play, right guard Marshal Yanda is going to pull to his left, and linebacker Stephen Tulloch follows. Meanwhile, Ray Rice is going to run right and receive a pitch to the outside from Joe Flacco. Defensive end Willie Young is left unblocked, and he initially crashes in, which is all the movement that is needed to give Ray Rice a wide open running lane to the outside.
I’ll bet Matthew Stafford wishes he could have this next play back. On this one, the Lions run a perfect play-action fake, but Stafford throws incomplete downfield to Calvin Johnson. But look at the opportunity he squandered in the middle of the field as I freeze the clip below. The play-action fake drew safety Matt Elam all the way down to the line of scrimmage, leaving wide receiver Kris Durham completely uncovered and wide open for what could have been a big gain had Stafford seen it. The Lions ended up punting two plays later.
This next pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown for 24 yards may have been the most impressive pass of the night.
This is just a picture perfect pass thrown to the only spot that could have resulted in a completion. If Flacco leads Brown too far to the left, he sets him up to get nailed by safety Louis Delmas. If he throws it too low, it could get tipped or possibly intercepted by linebacker DeAndre Levy. And if he throws it too high, he again risks the chance of this pass getting intercepted. Kudos to Ray Rice on this play for stepping up to block Ndamukong Suh as he blows by Marshal Yanda right as the ball is snapped. Without that block, Suh could have easily disrupted the timing of this play.
Calvin Johnson dropped some catchable balls early in the game, but he certainly made up for it late in the fourth quarter as he made two difficult catches on the Detroit Lions’ touchdown drive which would give them a 16-15 lead. The first one came on 2nd down with 11 yards to go as he shows off his 42.5″ vertical leap to bring in this 21 yard catch.
While I said a few plays above that the 24 yard pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown may have been the most impressive pass of the night based on skill, this next pass from Flacco was most certainly the biggest play of the night. Trailing 16-15 and faced with a 3rd and 15 from their own 28 yard line, Flacco connects with Jacoby Jones on a 27 yard pass that would eventually lead to Justin Tucker’s game winning 61-yard field goal. As shown below, Jones runs a deep post on this play. Marlon Brown, lined up next to Jones, runs a 10 yard curl pattern occupying the nickleback in coverage. Cornerback Rashean Mathis has outside coverage on this play, and safety Glover Quin is going to drop back to cover the deep pass. The Ravens’ route combination added with the Lions’ defensive set up is going to open up space for Jacoby Jones to run his post route and Flacco delivers a strike to him to complete the play.
Well that wraps up this week’s Monday Night Football All-22 film review. Join me next week when I recap the Monday night game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Fransisco 49ers.