Cosell’s Watching the Championships: Flacco Deserved to Win

Baltimore Ravens, From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, New England Patriots

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Championship Sunday coaching tape: Ravens offense vs. Patriots defense. 

  • Patriots played 3-4 as foundation front; Love at NT and Wilfork at DE, Anderson and Ninkovich were the OLB
  • Patriots again moved McCourty to safety in base pass defense and in nickel, Moore played corner in base sub-package and in nickel
  • Edelman again was the slot corner in the sub-packages

  • Patriots played dime on first 3rd + long with Ihedigbo in the game, 3-2-6 personnel with LB Mayo and Fletcher and S Ihedigbo
  • Patriots also played 4-2-5 nickel sub-package, Function of down and distance
  • Anderson and Wilfork immediately stood out in the run game
  • Patriots 3-2-6 sub-package game planned, Utilized in 3rd + long situations – First 2 times they used it they rushed 3 and dropped 8
  • Smith 42 yds off play action boot was rare 1st + 10 pass by Ravens, Chung coverage breakdown due to run action
  • Ravens much more 3 WR personnel than they had utilized in recent weeks, Evans clearly part of game plan – Evans played almost 40 snaps in this game
  • DE Deaderick also stood out in the run game, Overall Patriots 3-4 front handled Ravens run game in the 1st half
  • Evans 20 yds came on 1st + 10 out of “20” personnel, Patriots stayed 3-4 base with McCourty at corner and Ihedigbo at safety
  • Brace played snaps at NT and Warren played snaps at DE, Warren as always a significant part of DE rotation – Brace and Ellis only played a few snaps
  • Flacco big time throw on Boldin 37 yds skinny post on 2nd quarter TD drive
  • Anderson quick edge pressure versus LT McKinnie may have saved a 2nd quarter TD, Smith ran by S Chung on deep in and go route and was wide open – Anderson forced Flacco to step up, NT Love drove RG Yanda into Flacco and Flacco could not step into the throw
  • 3-2-6 was Belichick’s predominant sub-package in the 1st half; Fletcher and Mayo were the LB, Ihedigbo and Edelman were the inside slot players
  • Arrington injured in the 2nd quarter, Moore replaced him at corner in the base 3-4
  • With Arrington out, Molden and Moore were the outside corners in the nickel sub-package
  • In the 2nd half the Patriots at times showed a different dime sub-package: Ninkovich was wild card as hybrid LB/DE and Mayo was only LB, Again Ihedigbo and Edelman inside in the slot
  • Smith 29 yd TD on 3rd + 4 came against “cover zero blitz” out of nickel, Flacco quick hitch versus Moore who missed the tackle
  • Warren has given the Patriots some excellent snaps at DE in the 3-4, Played well the last couple of games
  • Ihedigbo sack on 3rd + 8 in the red zone in the 3rd quarter came off “cover zero blitz” out of dime
  • Arrington came back in the 4th quarter
  • Ravens chipped away with the run game, Had success in the 2nd half; 5, 6, 7 yd runs
  • Spikes interception was great play recognition, Ravens OL stood up to pass protect so Spikes read pass not run – Flacco clearly anticipated the backfield run action would hold Spikes and quick seam throw to Dickson would be there
  • Wilfork played an outstanding game, He was very tough to block as a run defender and an inside pass rusher
  • Patriots played dime on the Ravens final drive; Moore and Arrington were the outside corners, Edelman and Chung were the inside defenders with McCourty and Ihedigbo deep
  • Patriots a lot of “2 man” on Ravens final drive, with Edelman matched on Boldin
  • Boldin 29 yds on final drive came out of tight bunch, Edelman played the release and Arrington matched up to his man – Both played Smith and Boldin was left free
  • Flacco big time throw to Evans on final drive, Can’t throw it any better – Evans dropped the game winner
  • Flacco was excellent in this game, A number of outstanding throws in critical situations, A great 2:00 drive that should have given the Ravens the victory – Flacco deserved to win
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