by NFL Gimpy
Like I said, team of destiny. Outside of Ray Rice’s fumble, did a single thing really go against Baltimore yesterday? They had 2 penalties for 20 yards, one for running into the kicker when it probably should have been a personal foul. The other was a late hit on Kaepernick by Haloti Ngata. Let’s look at the things that did go the Ravens’ way:
1) Cary Williams shoves an official and not only doesn’t get suspended, he doesn’t even get flagged. I don’t care if the Ravens already had a personal foul called on someone else. How in the world was Williams not suspended? I’d love to hear the NFL explain that one. It’s not even like maybe Williams didn’t realize it was an official. He looked right at him and shoved.
2) On the 49ers’ final two plays, there were 2 blatant penalties on 3rd and 4th down that weren’t called. On 3rd down, Michael Crabtree took an obvious helmet to helmet hit, no penalty. Say what you want about the rule, it was cut and dry. It should have been a personal foul. Then on 4th down, Crabtree was held. The official was staring right at the play. I read from a ton of people that you “don’t call that penalty in that situation, even if it is blatant.”
A penalty is a penalty. There’s no such thing as something that’s a penalty in the regular season but not the playoffs. Maybe you can call things a bit looser, but grabbing the jersey and the arm while a player tries to go after the ball? That’s a penalty any time.
3) On the 49ers’ 2 point conversion attempt to tie the game, 2 Ravens, including Ed Reed, were offsides. I forgot to take a picture, but if I get a chance to tonight I will.
4) On their first FG drive, Colin Kaepernick sees a wide open Randy Moss in the end zone while scrambling and tosses the ball his way. Michael Crabtree thinks it’s to him and goes after it. He tips it (it was way above him) and the 49ers settle for 3. It would have been 7-7 instead of 7-3.
All in all, a real congrats to the Ravens and Joe Flacco. Flacco was incredible, as were his WRs. I know I may sound a bit bitter because I’m a big Kaepernick fan, but everything has gone the Ravens’ way since the end of the regular season. I knew going into the game that the trend was going to continue and that the 49ers would have had to do a lot to overcome that and they almost did. Sometimes no matter who the “best” team is, there’s another team who’s just a bit luckier and Lady Luck wore purple in 2013.
While on the topic of Flacco, I hate the discussions of who’s elite and who isn’t at the QB position. But I think Flacco allows me the opportunity to take advantage of one of my favorite targets: Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning’s career record in the playoffs is 9-11 with 1 Super Bowl win. Joe Flacco is 9-4 with 1 Super Bowl. Manning has been one and done 8 times in his career. Flacco has never been one and done. Flacco would have to go one and done 7 straight seasons in order to match Peyton’s playoff record.
Yes, football is a team game. But there’s no way Peyton Manning is one of the best QBs of all time if you focus on his playoff record. Right now, there are only 8 QBs who have won more playoff games than Joe Flacco. The list of QBs with more than him includes 7 Hall of Famers and Ben Roethlisberger, who could end up one by the end of his career if his OL allows him to survive long enough (technically Favre isn’t a HoF player, but he’s a lock unless someone replaces Jen Sterger’s number with all of the voters on his cell phone). Here are a few players that have fewer wins than Joe Flacco in the playoffs: Steve Young, Dan Marino, and Eli Manning.
Flacco just turned 28 a few weeks ago. He can easily play another 8-10 years as long as he stays healthy. With a mere 5 playoff wins the rest of his career, Flacco will be ahead of Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Brett Favre, and Roger Staubach.
At that point, Flacco won’t care if you or I think he’s elite. He’ll have a Super Bowl ring, millions of dollars, and QBs most consider some of the best of all time looking up at him in playoff wins. I wouldn’t care if I were him either.
I’m sad football is over but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty to talk about this offseason. The NFL has become a 24/7/365 entity. In just a few weeks, free agency will start. Even our own Super Bowl teams have some big question marks. Several key Ravens defenders, like Paul Kruger and Ed Reed, are free agents. Playoff hero Anquan Boldin has a big salary in 2013 and he may not want to take a pay cut because someone will likely pay him in the open market. The 49ers have a few things to worry about, like pending free agents FS Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker plus what to do with Alex Smith.
One of the problems with discussing free agency right now is you don’t know who will get a franchise tag. Take Jake Long for example. As of now, it seems if he won’t receive the tag, but when healthy Long is a top notch LT, and you don’t let those walk easily. The Dolphins don’t want to overpay him and it’s rumored he’s looking for about $10M per year. Long will most likely be able to test free agency but the Dolphins could easily have a change of heart and throw the franchise tag on him or re-sign him before free agency starts. LTs don’t grow on trees.
I’m working on my free agency preview stuff that will be posted in 3 or 4 weeks, mostly because I want to have the most accurate info. I don’t want to discuss landing spots for potential free agents and they get re-signed or tagged. The draft preview content is a lot easier because there’s plenty of time between the combine and the draft and team needs will be more apparent.
-I saw way too many “experts” suggest the 49ers put in Alex Smith in the 2nd half. Unless Smith can play DB, he wasn’t going to help. Did Kaep struggle a little in the 1st half? Yes. But benching a QB in the Super Bowl for struggling a little is so insanely stupid I wish the idiots who said it could be fired. The two that I noticed were Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Bill Cowher. I don’t waste any time reading junk from people like Pete Prisco, but I like Ian and Cowher is a Super Bowl winning coach. It shows that so many “experts” are either saying crap to get attention or clueless. Maybe I should have tweeted “49ers need to trade for Tim Tebow at halftime, he’ll pull off the comeback” to get some more followers.
-Don’t let people who try to soften the blow of a Super Bowl loss fool you. They’ll say things like “the 49ers will have another opportunity, they’re too talented.” That’s a load of BS. Are the 49ers talented enough to come back? Absolutely. But as I’ve mentioned with the Ravens repeatedly, a lot of things have to go your way in order to make the Super Bowl, much less win it. Think about the Packers and Saints. Are they not highly talented teams with elite QBs? Why haven’t they gotten back to the Super Bowl yet? When Dan Marino led the Dolphins to the Super Bowl his 2nd season, it was so obvious he’d get another shot. Nope.
-There are a lot of people who don’t feel bad for Chris Culliver after his anti-gay comments earlier this week. Culliver said stupid, insensitive things and his play on the field is one of the main reasons the 49ers lost. He let Jacoby Jones run right by him then gave up and let Jones score after he fell to the ground. He had a pass interference penalty on 3rd and 9.
-A lot of people are going to blame offensive play calling as the #1 reason the 49ers lost and I can’t argue against it.
-Not to keep acting like a huge Kaepernick fan, but Kaep’s statements after the game are exactly what they should be: he’s blaming himself. In reality, they didn’t stand a chance without him. If the 49ers secondary covers the Ravens WRs or at least tackles them after the catch, Kaep’s mistakes are nowhere near as critical.
-Ray Lewis was a gigantic liability for the Ravens. If he wasn’t retiring, he wouldn’t be a Raven in 2013. He probably wouldn’t be playing for anyone.
-The power outage is one of the oddest things we’ll ever see in a Super Bowl. Someone needs to be fired for that.
-I’ll have my superlatives column up next week. Overpaid Player of the Year, Breakout Player, MVP, etc. If you have any awards you want me to add, tweet me or post it in the comments.
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