The Snap Report – Playoffs: Championship Round
The weekly offensive snap report is a summary of the participation data for fantasy relevant skill position players. Although the focus is snaps, we also cover other important categories like pass routes and designed runs.
San Francisco at Atlanta
Atlanta dominated the time of possession in the first half and ran 66 offensive plays to San Francisco’s 51 in the NFC Championship Game.
The Falcons eschewed the ground game in favor of the passing game this week. Matt Ryan dropped back 44 times (67%) to the team’s 22 combined running plays – despite holding the lead for much of the game. Ryan was only sacked once and added a scramble to his impressive passing totals: 30 completions on 42 attempts (71.4%) for 396 yards with three touchdowns and a costly interception.
Michael Turner (10 snaps) may have played his last game in a Falcons uniform. He played less snaps than Jason Snelling (16) did after leaving late in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Jacquizz Rodgers (42) led the way in the pass-heavy approach but did lead the team in attempts and yards.
Julio Jones (63) and Roddy White (64) rarely left the field and both players had huge stat lines. Jones caught 11 of his 13 targets for 182 yards (17.2 aDOT) and two touchdowns to White’s seven catches on 12 targets for 100 yards receiving. Both of Jones’ touchdowns came outside the red zone. If this was Tony Gonzalez’s (64) last game – he went out in style, catching all eight of his targets for 78 yards and a red zone touchdown. Harry Douglas (43) did not get involved in the game plan until the fourth quarter when he caught all three of his targets for 31 yards. Michael Palmer (6), Chase Coffman (1) and Drew Davis (2) did not receive a target.
Colin Kaepernick showed that he is more than a scrambling quarterback – he only had one designed run and one quarterback scramble on 51 offensive plays. He completed 76 percent of his passes with an aDOT of 10.2 yards.
Frank Gore (41) led the way on offense with 90 yards rushing on 21 attempts with two red zone touchdowns. LaMichael James (9) saw spot duty but contributed with a red zone touchdown of his own – a mild surprise given that Anthony Dixon (1) has handled short-yardage duties in recent weeks.
The 49ers pulled a rope-a-dope on the Falcons with Vernon Davis (50). Davis was on the field for all but one snap and was the primary receiving threat on the day with five catches for 106 yards and a red zone touchdown on six targets. Kaepernick targeted him on average 13.5 yards downfield. A.J. Jenkins was active but did not see a single snap. Ted Ginn (10) and the newly signed off the practice squad Chad Hall (1) saw playing time before Jenkins did. Michael Crabtree (44) and Randy Moss (32)
Baltimore at New England
Baltimore was not supposed to beat New England, but they ultimately prevailed on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Heck, nobody expected Joe Flacco to outduel Tom Brady – but that was a reality too.
The Ravens ran about as balanced an offensive attack as possible with a 55:45 pass to run ratio. Flacco was masterful with 240 yards passing and three touchdowns (no interceptions) with an impressive 13.4 aDOT. In his three playoff games, he is averaging 284 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns without a single interception. The phrase “elite” is thrown too often, but Flacco is winning and making the Ravens’ skill players viable options in playoff fantasy leagues.
The Patriots effectively bottled up Ray Rice (49 snaps), although they struggled to contain Bernard Pierce (22) in his limited duty. Rice only averaged 2.5 yards per carry on 19 attempts and Pierce added 52 yards on nine attempts – with 27 of those yards coming after contact. Rice saved his fantasy day with a red zone touchdown run.
The Baltimore receivers excelled given the extra attention that Rice received. No one receiver dominated the targets from Flacco, though Dennis Pitta (54), Anquan Boldin (62) and Torrey Smith (69) did the most damage. The Patriots were able to limit the big play, but all three of Flacco’s touchdown passes came in the red zone – two to Boldin and one to Pitta. Jacoby Jones (32), the hero of the divisional round, caught one pass for six yards.
It certainly appeared that the Patriots missed Rob Gronkowski against the Ravens. His absence made it glaringly clear they lacked a downfield option to challenge the defense. Deion Branch (38 snaps) had an aDOT of 16.7 yards – the only skill player with an average depth of target over 10 yards.
Tom Brady had a sub par performance by his standards. He was not sacked but he only completed 54 percent of his 54 attempts for 320 yards and a 1:2 touchdown to interception ratio. The lack of a downfield option was highlighted by his paltry 7.1 average depth of throw.
Danny Woodhead (30) returned to the lineup after playing just one snap due to injury in the divisional round. The Patriots ended up with a three-way committee with Stevan Ridley (35) and Shane Vereen (17) also seeing time. Ridley was the only running back to have success on the ground with 70 yards on 18 carries – but his costly fumble effectively ended the comeback bid for New England. It is hard to blame Ridley for that fumble. Bernard Pollard’s legal hit would have a similar effect on most any ball carrier.
Daniel Fells (30) and Michael Hoomanawanui (16) handled Gronkowski’s blocking assignments though neither player was targeted by Brady. Aaron Hernandez (82) played every snap and led the team with 14 targets. Wes Welker (79) and Brandon Lloyd (81) were Brady’s primary receivers, each with 12 targets. Welker was credited with two drops, but did contribute eight receptions for 117 yards and a red zone touchdown. Branch caught just two passes for 16 yards.
Please note that penalty plays are removed from the snap totals and will differ from what is posted in our Premium Statistics game logs.