Cosell’s Watching the Championships: Just as Brady Said, He was Not Sharp

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 defense vs. Patriots offense.

  • Ravens played nickel to match up to the Patriots “12” personnel no matter what back was in the game
  • Ellerbe was the Ravens nickel LB with Lewis, Webb was the slot corner with Smith on the outside
  • Patriots again snaps with 2 TE/3 WR personnel, Ravens also played nickel against that

  • First 3rd down (3rd + 3) the Ravens rushed 3 and dropped 8 out of nickel, They played 5 under/2 deep – Brady had nowhere to go with the ball
  • Patriots “wam” concept in the run game, Allowed OL to get up to Lewis cleanly
  • Patriots again featured no huddle as a foundation of their approach
  • Patriots aligned both Hernandez and Edelman in the backfield in this game
  • Brady badly overthrew wide open Gronkowski on seam route from just outside the red zone on 1st quarter FG drive – Would have been a TD
  • RT Solder easily beaten by Kruger for a sack in the red zone on 1st quarter FG drive, One-on-one matchup that Solder lost badly
  • Lewis excellent job running down the seam with Welker on 3rd down in the red zone, Quick inside pressure by Ngata
  • Webb interception versus Edelman came out of “man free lurk” behind a 4 man rush, Great coverage by Webb – Forced throw by Brady, No definition
  • Brady was not sharp throwing the ball, Missed some routine throws with accuracy issues
  • There were significant snaps in which the Ravens matched Pollard or  a LB (usually Ellerbe) on Hernandez/Gronkowski
  • 3 receivers to one side of the formation gave the Ravens some problems, It put a LB or Pollard on the inside slot receiver
  • Hernandez showed the ability to win from plus split as #1 versus corner, Beat Smith badly on Gronkowski 20 yds on 2nd quarter TD drive
  • Great patience by Green-Ellis on 7 yd TD, Shotgun “power” with outstanding blocks by Solder on Lewis and Gronkowski on Ngata
  • Reed an instinct player, Plays with his eyes and trusts what he sees; At times you can dictate his reactions and then beat him
  • As the game progressed the Patriots worked the short to intermediate middle versus the Ravens LB and S Pollard, They also attacked Pollard outside the numbers
  • LT Light played well, especially in pass protection; Was asked to block one-on-one the majority of pass plays and did an excellent job
  • RT Solder struggled at times in individual pass protection: A matchup to be concerned about in the Super Bowl?
  • Patriots began the 2nd half in their no huddle offense;
  • Ravens 2nd half adjustment to Patriots 2 TE/3 WR personnel was to play dime, Nakamura was the 6th DB
  • Gronkowski 21 yds on 3rd + 6 on 1st possession of the 2nd half came out of 2 TE/3 WR personnel; Ravens dime personnel, They had Reed matched on Edelman and Ellerbe matched on Gronkowski
  • 2 TE/3 WR personnel was featured on Patriots 1st possession of the 2nd half, Hernandez 3 runs on that 13 play drive
  • Ravens played more snaps of man coverage than I would have expected, Increased man coverage frequency in the 2nd half – Reed used as a man-to-man defender on numerous snaps in the 2nd half
  • Edelman an impressive performance, He played more than 25 snaps on both offense and defense
  • Smith 4th quarter interception came off a Patriots shot play, Slater deep post off play action; Slater altered his path just as Brady released the ball so the throw was inaccurate
  • Ravens pass rush was not a big factor in the game
  • Reed as a man coverage player was a definite Ravens adjustment in the 2nd half, Great coverage on Hernandez on 3rd + 4 with 1:56 remaining in the game
  • Patriots pass game was mostly short to intermediate, Brady only took 1 deep shot
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