ReFo: Ravens @ Patriots, Divisional Round

Thomas Maney looks over notable player grades from the Patriots' Divisional Round win over Baltimore.

| 2 years ago

ReFo: Ravens @ Patriots, Divisional Round

2014-REFO-DR-BAL@NEThe Divisional Round of the playoffs kicked off in exciting fashion with the Ravens heading to New England having won two of the last three playoff matchups between these teams. Despite leading by 14 points in both halves, Baltimore couldn’t put the game away as the Patriots repeatedly answered with touchdowns of their own. After finally holding the Ravens to a field goal early in the fourth, Tom Brady led an efficient go-ahead touchdown drive, ending with a spectacular 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell.

With the victory the Patriots head into their fourth-straight AFC Championship game, hosting the winner of Denver-Indianapolis. They should be confident after beating both teams by more than 20 points during the regular season.

Baltimore Ravens – Performances of Note

Joe Flacco, QB: -3.2

Breakdown: Fared well throwing to the middle of the field, but he saw pressure on more than 40% of his drop backs, some of it his doing, and that eventually translated to several big mistakes as he locked in on Torrey Smith. The second interception was particularly baffling coming inside of two minutes on a manageable 2nd-and-5, as Flacco opted to take a deep shot drifting back in the pocket, putting the ball too far inside and was picked again by a safety shaded to Smith’s side of the field.

Signature Play: 2Q, 0:16. It’s hard to place the ball in better position than Flacco did, hitting Owen Daniels in tight coverage on the back shoulder throw.

Matt Elam, S: -3.1                                         

Breakdown: The second-year player didn’t see much action playing just 15 snaps in the slot, but when he did it turned out to be costly. His two missed tackles resulted in a first down and touchdown, continuing a trend from the regular season, while Elam was also out of position on the third throw into his coverage.

Signature Play: 2Q, 3:47. Had a chance to stop Danny Amendola short on an out, but instead his miss allowed the receiver to find the end zone, tying the game and erasing what was once a 14-point deficit for the Patriots.

Marshall Yanda, OL: +3.6

Breakdown: This was Yanda’s third consecutive game at right tackle and like last week he held up extremely well in pass protection allowing neither Chandler Jones nor Rob Ninkovich to get to the quarterback. And outside of a couple of rough plays blocking Vince Wilfork, he played well in the run game, helping the Ravens manage a 4.9 average on the ground.

Signature Play: 3Q, 3:09. Handled the inside rush of Jones, sealing him inside to open a lane for Justin Forsett.

New England Patriots – Performances of Note

Devin McCourty, S: +2.7

Breakdown: McCourty made several big plays in coverage from his deep safety position including two pass breakups, one of which sealed the game on the final play, and a third-quarter pick. Also added an excellent performance on special teams, collecting two tackles in kick coverage.

Signature Play: 3Q, 3:37. Made a great read and break to track the ball intended for Torrey Smith, though an inaccurate throw made it easy for him.

Jamie Collins +0.3

Breakdown: A very active game for Collins, whom the Ravens blocked a bit too easily against the run, with left guard Kelechi Osemele often doing the job at the second level. However, he balanced that with some solid play in coverage, getting his hand on the ball twice (3Q, 11:43 and 4Q, 13:19). As has been the case for much of the season, Collins also fared well rushing the passer, collecting a hit, hurry, and nullified sack-fumble.

Signature Play: 3Q, 1:48. Came in late to take down Flacco, ripping the ball loose in the process and recovering inside Baltimore’s 10, though unfortunately the play was nullified by holding in the secondary.

Tom Brady, QB: -0.4

Breakdown: Connected on several extremely impressive throws, including on the go-ahead touchdown, but mostly took what the Ravens’ defense offered with 28 of his 33 completions coming on passes thrown within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Brady repeatedly picked on corner Rashaan Melvin, taking advantage of soft coverage and sending more than 15 targets into his coverage on the left side of the field.

Signature Play: 4Q, 5:21. Put New England ahead for the first time with a strike to LaFell against tight coverage from Melvin.

PFF Game Ball

Devin McCourty made plays in coverage to slow down the Raven offense, while adding value on special teams with a pair of stops.


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  • twnick2014

    Brady’s grade is too low. He was excellent in that game (the bad INT notwithstanding).

    Flacco’s grade is shockingly low as well. I don’t understand that.

    • Jim

      Brady was definitely not “excellent.” He made a small handful of great throws, but also some very bad ones. A couple that stick out to me are the interception to Daryl Smith (which also happened to be within the last 2 min of half, and if I remember correctly no pressure from Baltimore) and the incompletion to Amendola which the Patriots challenged and lost.

      • Jim

        Not to mention, his stat line benefits greatly from missed tackles by the Ravens which turned little one-read 5-yard dump-offs into big plays.

        • Nate

          Sorry, but you can make that argument for every QB. How many yards did Flacco get by dumping off to a RB the Patriots left uncovered who then ran it for like 20 yards?

          • Chris

            Maybe that’s why Flacco didn’t grade very well either?

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Watch out Jim, Patsies are very defensive of their golden boy. I agree, it wasn’t a great game for Brady. He got the job done, but that will never be enough for some.

        • Jay

          It’s not about being defensive it’s about people having differing opinions. Brady was under pressure alot in this game and PFF tends to reward good play under pressure. Brady made a lot of plays under it. It’s just perplexing that in this game they didn’t seem to include that.

          • Chris

            Brady was actually under the least pressure of all 4 QBS so far this weekend.

            Flacco 49%
            Newton 45%
            Wilson 32%
            Brady 28%

            And he also had the worst completion % while under pressure.

            Not sure where you’re coming from. Brady was the least pressure and the least accurate when pressured.

          • Jay

            That’s a bit shocking. The Patriots had zero pass rush for most of the day. Makes you wonder where these guys are coming from.

          • Cory Marquis

            Pressure comes in multiple forms, a pressure after 5 seconds is the same to PFF as pressure after 2 seconds. Without knowing the plays and the context it’s hard to treat pressure stats in a vacuum.

          • Chris

            It’s actually not. They give DL better grades if they get their pressure quicker, and they penalize OL who give up pressure quicker. That’s why, as usual, their grades are the best resource and any other stat starts to leave room for ambiguity.

          • Cory Marquis

            You just cited pressure stats and compared them in a vacuum.

          • Chris

            I cited pressure stats because someone said Brady was pressured a lot. By the numbers, he was the least pressured QB yesterday.

            But then you brought up time to pressure, which is not factored in to what I originally posted so I went back to grades.

          • Adam

            The pressure statistic you cited is one way of measuring pressure, but it has limitations, including that it doesn’t factor in time to pressure. If a QB makes quicker throws to avoid expected pressure, his pressure percentage goes down which just isn’t helpful here. That’s why Cory is saying that you’re comparing pressure stats in a vacuum.

            It’s great that time to pressure is factored in to the DL/OL grades. What does this have to do with the discussion above? You were called out for citing a statistic of dubious value for this discussion and then responded by bringing up something that’s just not relevant. Just because PFF properly (I’m assuming) takes into account time to pressure for DL/OL does not mean that their pressure % statistic for QBs is meaningful.

            You took one statistic of questionable significance and said “By the numbers, he was the least pressured QB yesterday.” That’s just not meaningful analysis.

          • eYeDEF

            If a QB makes quicker throws to avoid expected pressure, his pressure percentage goes down which just isn’t helpful here.

            I’m not sure the distinction you’re drawing here is all that useful either. You appear to be making an assumption that those throws made sooner to avoid expected pressure will suffer in accuracy as a consequence. I don’t think that’s always the case nor do I think there’s enough empirical data to support such a blanket assumption. Overall accuracy improves for all quarterbacks when not under pressure anywhere between 5 and 20 percent. It’s possible on those handful of throws delivered sooner in anticipation of avoiding pressure that accuracy might suffer. But I could also see how it might not and could actually improve performance by forcing them to perform more efficiently; by acting decisively and without hesitation in trusting his initial reads. Yet the empirical data we have right now is too incomplete and inconclusive to automatically make any assumptions.

            Also, we’re talking about such small increments in time, mere tenths of a second, it’s already debatable how much qualitative difference there really is between decision making “under pressure” or “under anticipation of pressure”. There might be no practical difference whatsoever. All we do know is that accuracy suffers to a greater or lesser degree for all QBs when under pressure as opposed to not.

          • Adam

            “You appear to be making an assumption that those throws made sooner to avoid expected pressure will suffer in accuracy as a consequence.”

            I was not making that assumption. I was responding to Chris’ statement that “By the numbers, Brady was the least pressured QB yesterday.” The point that I was making was that PFF’s pressure statistic isn’t particularly useful for comparing the pressure received by different QBs. All other things being equal, the QB that makes quicker reads and passes will have a lower pressure %. Therefore, Brady having the lowest pressure % of the 4 QBs doesn’t by itself prove that Brady was not pressured “quite a bit.”

            (Of course, there’s another point to be made that even if the statistic was more useful, just because he was pressured the least of the four QBs who played this weekend does not mean that he wasn’t pressured a lot, but that’s for another day.)

          • eYeDEF

            Ah, you’re right I missed the context. Good point overall and I agree.

      • Chris Smith

        I’m an all out Pats fan. And I’ll agree, that was not a good game for Brady. The Pats’ O-line couldn’t run block at all; however, the Ravens’ defense didn’t adjust well to the Pats going to the short and quick passing game to make up for their lack of running. The up-tempo play and short passes helped break the Ravens’ defense. But his passing seemed inconsistent throughout the game.

      • twnick2014

        The Amendola incompletion was definitely NOT a “very bad throw.” It was inaccurate, but the ball clearly hit Amendola in both hands, and was CLEARLY catchable. A “very bad throw” would be one that was uncatchable and failed to hit the target in the hands. The INT was Brady’s only noteworthy “very bad throw” in that game.

        And it was Baltimore who challenged the Amendola play, not the Patriots. Get your facts straight. That play would’ve gone as a completion had the Ravens not challenged, thus proving once again that it wasn’t a “very bad throw.”

        As an objective Patriots fan (which there are very few of), Brady DEFINITELY played very well in that game overall against a good defense (he was borderline excellent). No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Brady’s PFF grade for that game is bullshit.

    • Jay

      I would agree. Especial seeing how he faired under pressure the entire game.

  • Randy0101

    I haven’t seen grades this harsh since I wrote my women’s studies paper, titled “Quit your bitchin’, stay in the kitchen”.

    • Cory Marquis

      Seriously, it’s grades like these which prove that PFF’s grades (Not Signature Stats) are pretty worthless. Both Flacco and Brady had lower grades than Cam Newton this weekend. I get that it’s a snap by snap evaluation, but at the end of the day if your evaluation leads to this conclusion, then you need to overhaul your process.

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Somebody here is in love with Cam. I’ve noticed it all season. They probably cried a little last night.

      • Richard

        I agree that Brady and Flacco should have rated higher than Newton. Hopefully you’re not misleading us by saying that Newton was higher. Based on what you said, I decided to grade each of the QB’s in these 2 games to see how my rating system would grade them. you can check out to learn more about my rating system. The result was:
        1. Russell Wilson
        2. Tom Brady
        3. Joe Flacco
        4. Cam Newton
        I have 2 aspects to my system. A per play grade that basically rates a QB’s consistency and skill and then a drive rating that rates how much of an impact the QB had on scoring and the game. Newton’s per play grade was tied with Flacco’s and close to Brady’s. Brady earned his grade through consistency, a few really good throws and not very many mistakes. Flacco and Newton made more difficult throws but their grades were brought down because they had more mistakes. What makes Brady’s grade much better is his drive rating. Brady wasn’t the reason his team was failing as often as the other two were. One of the crucial things about the way Brady plays is that he doesn’t force things that aren’t there. He will rely on his play makers to make plays by just getting the ball to them. For example, there were some short passes that Brady threw short of the sticks on 3rd down and the receivers were able to make plays to get the first down. Other QB’s might force a pass to the sticks and have the pass knocked down and punt. Brady will complete the short pass knowing that there is more of a chance to get the 1st down that way than forcing a pass. That isn’t a great play but it is a smart play. In that way, even if the receiver is the one that earned the first down, Brady still has a positive and important influence on the success of the drive. I also think Brady played better under pressure than what others have said below. Brady didn’t make any mistakes under pressure. He had 1 play where he may have thrown the ball away despite having an open receiver, although timing of pressure is crucial to whether you can hit an open receiver or not. Most of Brady’s incomplete passes under pressure where just throw away passes. He also completed some passes against pressure. I don’t think Brady was under a lot of pressure in the second half but I’m not so sure Flacco or Newton were under that much pressure either. Most of the pressure Flacco was under was expected pressure (Blitzes or screen passes) or after he had plenty of time to find an open receiver. My system doesn’t rate all pressure the same, there are some types of pressure that can be more devastating than others and I distinguish between them. I would have to look the spreadsheets over though to see who faced the most pressure.

        • Jack Casey

          Brady and NE were getting the ball out extremely quick in the second half, so they avoided pressure. What you said about Brady not forcing things is key. One of the most important part of becoming an elite QB is quickly deciphering which throws ARENT there, a lot of times even before the ball is snapped. The best QBs not only know where to throw, but where NOT to throw presnap.

  • Ryan

    Do Flacco and Brady really deserve those grades?

  • Ken

    my .ister-in-law makes $73 every hour on the laptop . She has been unemployed for six months but last month her paycheck was $15566 just working on the laptop for a few hours. visit the site;.Seriously

  • Chris

    Sigh. Go to ESPN if you want an article to whore over box score numbers. PFF grades every throw and if you throw a bunch of easy short throws at a corner who shouldn’t even be starting for an NFL Europe team, you aren’t going to grade very well. Or if you throw two killer INTs one of which basically ended your teams chances at the end of the game, chances are you won’t grade very well either.

    Players who grade well don’t make mistakes and do more than just take advantage of easy throws and soft coverage.

    Stop taking it as a personal insult because your favorite player didn’t grade well.

    • Dwight

      Flacco was the reason they were even in the position to construct a Game winning drive. With the way the D was playing, without him it would’ve been a blowout

      • Chris

        He was 21/26 under 10 yards. Just 7/15 over 10 yards including 2/5 with 2 picks on throws over 20.

        He got almost half his yards via YAC, and had the lowest YPA of any QB so far this weekend.

        • Dwight

          Fact of the matter is that he made the right reads and made good throws. Throwing out weak stats like that don’t show the whole story. If you actually watched the game you wouldn’t be making that argument.

          • Chris

            I did watch the game. Flacco MIGHT have been the reason they were in the game. He made some good intermediate throws especially to Daniels. But Forsett ran well and the line blocked well.

            However, Flacco was definitely the reason they lost. That 2nd INT at the end of the game was not only a terrible decision but an awful throw as well. Inexcusable.

          • Johnny0

            Flacco was not the reason they lost. Poor secondary play and poor tackling cost them the game. Flacco had a good game and did what he could.

          • Chris

            Was the secondary on the field when he threw that last INT?

          • Johnny0

            No, but Flacco shouldn’t have even been in that position. They were winning by 14 multiple times and the secondary choked it away.

          • Chris

            The secondary graded poorly as well. But that doesn’t mean Flacco grades well just because his team scored points.

          • Johnny0

            It wasn’t Flacco’s best game, especially with those dumb interceptions, but I feel like they shouldn’t bring his grade down that much. He was playing very efficiently in the beginning.

          • Dwight

            If the blame is to be put on anyone, it’s the secondary, especially Matt Elam and Melvin. Horrible talking and backing off 15 yards every play when everyone knows they’re throwing short passes the whole game. Partially Dean Pee’s fault too, but the game isn’t on Flacco. 4 TD

    • Jay

      By that logic many QBs in the league should be penalized when throwing at bad corners. Including any QB who graded well against my Steelers. We trust them to grade objectively. If a QB is penalized because they don’t think the DB is good then becomes an opinion.

      • Chris

        They’re not penalized for throwing at bad corners, they’re just not rewarded for it.

        If you throw a 5 yard slant against tight coverage on 3rd and short with a perfectly placed ball to convert for a 1st down, compared to throwing a 5 yard slant against off coverage on 1st and 10, one of those is going to get rewarded and one isn’t.

        It’s all about making plays that help your team win the game and not making mistakes.

        • Jay

          I expect them to take difficulty into account but for them to not reward a player for picking on a certain player is wrong thinking in my opinion.

          • Chris

            From what I’ve gathered when PFF employees post on articles…

            QBs are graded on the quality of the throw, the difficulty of the throw, and how much the throw helped their team win the game.

            So my example from before:

            1. 5 yard slant on 3rd and short with tight coverage grades well in all 3 categories. It’s an accurate throw against tough coverage that gets a conversion.

            2. 5 yard slant on 1st and 10 with off coverage might only grade well in 1 of 3 categories. It could be an accurate throw, but the coverage is so lax that any QB in the league can make the throw. Why reward someone for something when any QB in the league can do the same?

          • Jay

            Because PFF doesn’t take into account decision making and audibles. If they was audible to rake advantage of the coverage than the QB needs a higher grade. But they can never know so they sort of stick to their passing grades without alot of the context that goes into the play.

          • Bob

            Curious as to how they grade decision making. If Cam can’t make it through his reads (not saying he does or doesn’t, just an example) and forces a tougher but completed pass, how does that rate versus Brady getting to his fourth receiver who might be wide open?

    • Cory Marquis

      It’s not your responsibility to endlessly defend PFF, they’re big boys who get paid for their service and are cited by many major sports news organization. If their process is flawed they should get called out for it.

      After the games yesterday it is inexcusable for Brady and Flacco to have graded lower than Cam. Think about how many times Newton threw into coverage yesterday. Whether you like it or not, there is more to QBing than throwing impressive passes 20+ yards downfield. Flacco and Brady carved up 2 very good defenses by effectively using multiple weapons and making good reads and nice throws. If PFF doesn’t capture that in their grading then there is a flaw in the process.

      Both teams didn’t score in the 30’s by accident.

      • Chris

        They scored in the 30s because the Pats defense is not very good and the Ravens secondary wouldn’t start for most teams in the MAC.

        Again, to imply that because points were scored that the QBs had good days is just as inane as assuming QBs are good because their teams have winning records. So many things go into winning and losing a game.

        “If their process is flawed they should get called out for it.” This is an opinion. If you’re allowed to give your opinion I’m allowed to give mine. And my standard response is I’ll trust the guys who watch every play of every game instead of Joe Shmoe who eyeballed tested one game while watching it live.

        • Cory Marquis

          I have all-22 and I’ve tested some of PFF’s grades, and a lot of them that don’t involve OL and DL are not particularly good. The issue that PFF has is that their staff are not experts, they’ve identified what plays they like and what plays they don’t like. It comes up in their grading, and a lot of their grades are quite baffling. Just because someone has a team of poorly trained analysts does not mean that their opinion is a better one.

          All game long Brady and Flacco read their coverages, and changed the plays accordingly. For example, the Edelman TD pass to Amendola was because Brady accurately identified a star blitz giving him the look they wanted, so he audibled to the Edelman pass. Sure his throw wasn’t challenging, but he had as much to do with the play as anyone else. There is so much that goes into QBing that PFF just can’t capture with it’s grades. Simply throwing more on target passes down the field doesn’t mean someone played better.

          Also saying Baltimore and New England has bad defenses is a load of crap. If you use PFF as gospel going into the game the Ravens had the highest net score, and the Patriots were in the top half. If you use things like DVOA, both teams were in the top 6. Both had been very good defenses to this point of the season.

          • Chris

            PFF has poorly trained analysts? LAWL as if you would know.

          • Cory Marquis

            What would you know about them to treat their grades as cannon like you do?

          • YouBarkIBite

            He’s using the same methodology to review PFF that PFF uses to review games — he’s going by his own observations without any “insider” knowledge of the people he’s grading. You shrug it off when this is used to criticize PFF but when someone does it to PFF it’s a “LAWL as if you would know”?

          • Chris

            Yes. I am. To dismiss their staff as “poorly trained” simply because he disagrees with their analysis is deserving of that response.

          • YouBarkIBite

            You dismiss everything that anybody says negative about the PFF grading system, even though you admit you don’t know anything more about the grading than what is revealed in the FAQ and game recaps. You’re at least as narrow minded as anyone you argue with.

          • Chris

            I respectfully disagree. To assume that a group of people who have collectively watched every single player on every single snap from every single game for the last 8 years don’t know a little bit about what they’re doing is a terrible assumption.

            As I’ve said plenty of times when people doubt the grades/staff, I’ll go with the guys that have watched every single snap over some random guy who eyeballed one game.

          • Lord Father

            Both the ravens and pats had excellent gameplans to dismantle the others Defence.

            What i think you are not understanding goes back to how, Last year nick foles didnt grade well despite his td-int ratio. Playaction then he threw to wide open receivers. Ravens D played soft. it was pitch and catch vs melven. probably going to get a 0 or a 0.5 when u throw a curl route to a RB and the Corner is 15 yds back. Flacco played well agreed but his picks were terrible decision making.

            Cam’s Receivers were ALWAYS covered. If u watched that game he had to fit the ball in on almost every completion. So he probably gained a grade over 1. on most of his completions.

            TL:DR Pats and Ravens had better Players and/or schemes to the point where challenging passes were not always required to move the chain, while panthers had to scrape for every receiving yard

          • Fintasy

            I do remember Nick Foles having an MVP-type season and his weekly grades were either vanilla or even negative. All he did was hit wide-open receivers. I guess you get more positive grades from forcing it to covered receivers and getting lucky?

          • eYeDEF

            You can say Cam’s receivers were always covered, but that does not mean they were WELL covered seeing how Cam torched backup CB Tharold Simon all day for 10 completions on 10 targets for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. After redshirting all of last year Simon is essentially a rookie and looked lost and out of position often, totally overplaying or missing his coverage assignments altogether on too many occasions. I’ve yet to look at All 22, but I have rewatched his blown coverage a few times to feel that if PFF really did give him a grade over 1 on those Simon targets they would be inflating his grade.

  • Football

    What was Rashaan Melvin’s grade?

    • Chris

      Modern science hasn’t invented numbers that low yet.

  • OrganisedChaos

    This shows as well as any game that a snap by snap analysis isn’t the ideal way of grading a player, the fact it has a -2 to 2 limit is telling not to mention it doesn’t fairly evaluate all attributes and contribution to a game. Both Quarterbacks played extremely well and scored a lot of points against two defenses that were ranked top 10 in scoring defense. The fact that the Ravens secondary is bad shouldn’t give Brady a bad grade, you can only take what the defense gives you, also the two picks Flacco threw shouldn’t discredit the rest of his performance, he threw 4 touchdowns against probably a top 3 secondary, something that the Patriots rarely give up at home even when they have a bad defense.

    • OrganisedChaos

      And to summarise, all these grades show is how consistent a player is, not how much impact they had on a game or how well they played, so the grades aren’t particularly useful at all.

    • Adam

      What would Flocco’s grade have been if he didn’t throw the (really poor) late pick?

      If the Ravens D held Brady and the Patriots to 14 and Flocco was able to coast in the fourth quarter, would he have had a positive (or at least significantly better) grade?

      • eYeDEF

        And that’s the secret sauce they won’t reveal. I think it’d be to their great benefit if they were more transparent about how they go about their grading to prevent these speculative debates that rage on after every game about what causes such and such a grade. Especially when it comes to grading quarterbacks which is rife with challenges and ambiguities due to the complexities of the position.

        That said, I’ve gotten the sense that it might be possible to reverse engineer and pinpoint what type of score they assign on different plays after looking at and comparing enough graded games with one another.

        • Adam

          Understood. If you want to take that project on, a lot of us would be quite grateful :)

    • Jonny

      Look at a couple of Flacco’s TDs. Don’t get caught up in the numbers. Throwing a flat route to an uncovered RB is not a “great” throw. It’s a pretty easy throw that was the result of terrible coverage. That’s just one example, but it’s plays that like that show how PFF grades these plays. We assign too much value to numbers/stats, but PFF breaks it down like no one else.

      • OrganisedChaos

        No but as I said he can’t not throw it to that guy either, he has to take what the defense gives him, and given that maybe 80% of all throws are just as easy like that then a QB should never get a good grade? PFF only grades consistency, it doesn’t grade how good a player is.

        • Jacob B.

          If you hit the 80% of throws that are easy, then it would be a positive grade. If you hit the easy ones and screw up royally by throwing 2 interceptions on the throws down field, then what exactly was done well on his part?

          Taking the easy throws will nickel and dime a player to a good grade, but big mistakes earn big negatives.

          • OrganisedChaos

            Except Flacco can’t have scored less than -2 on those two plays, not to mention the first interception was more of a great play on defense than a huge mistake on his part. Also Flacco made more tough throws that game including his 4 touchdowns which should overshadow the 2 picks. I’m just saying that considering he was against a top 5 secondary and top 10 scoring defense, putting up 4 touchdowns is much better than a lot of Quarterbacks would’ve done in that situation, and much better than any achieved during the regular season.

          • Jacob B.

            I get what you are saying, I didn’t think he played as poorly as they graded either. I think a big part of it was the strip sack that got reversed for defensive holding; grading players on plays that don’t count is something I don’t agree with PFF on, but it is part of their grading system.

            I remember seeing a downgrade for Aaron Rodgers after he lured the defense offsides, and threw deep over the middle, and was intercepted. He knows it is a free play, so the outcome doesn’t matter, unless he completes that pass. Didn’t make sense to give a downgrade then, and with Steve Smith getting held, it doesn’t make much sense to downgrade Flacco when he couldn’t find an open guy, and took a hit instead.

  • Jason Williams

    This might be my favorite game of the playoffs so far. For the Ravens to play that well (on both sides of the ball) and lose is just not fair.

    I didn’t catch all of the Patriots sneaky substitutions – sounds like they flanked an eligible tackle out wide?

  • Richard

    It can be hard to compare 1 game to the next based purely on a grade. I have developed my own system and have graded every QB Super Bowl performance based on that. You can go to to see the rankings so far. I have counted down 84 so far. If you look through the list you will find that I don’t rank them purely by my grading system. You will especially find that to be true when I reveal the last 16. The problem is, every QB faces different circumstances and some QB’s rack up great numbers in a very easy game while other QB’s rack up almost as good of numbers in a more difficult game. I took liberty to adjust the rankings as I saw fit but I always explain why I do so. Usually it is by giving more weight to a grade or a certain statistic that I thinks holds the most value in each comparison. I have found some grades for QB’s to be questionable on this site and I think it is because they don’t put enough weight into standard completions. I give more weight to standard completions and that is why I think I had to adjust some of my rankings for the Super Bowl when I started getting to the top of the list. I have since adjusted my grading system because of that for future grading projects. No system will be perfect. If it’s true that Cam Newton graded out better than these two, I might be highly questionable of that. Newton had some bad interceptions and missed plenty of throws. I might grade those games just to see how it turns out with my system. I have been wanting to do some comparisons but have been too busy with the Super Bowl countdown. I will probably have to do at least this game and the Panthers game to see how it turns out.