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Week 19 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 13, Tennessee Titans 10

What you need to know

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens defense gave up over 200 total yards of offense in the first half. But what made the defense so special was that they were able to come up with the big stop when necessary. On two occasions they stopped the Titans inside the 20 yard line by forcing a fumble and coming up with the ball. The first fumble and recovery came during the end of the first half when the Titans had the defense on its heels and were driving for points just before half time. The second turnover was more costly to the Titans as it came inside the five yard line and was eventually recovered on the one. The Ravens were not able to escape the shadow of their end zone and had to punt the ball back after three plays and the Titans were able to tie the game on their next possession.

The final numbers on Joe Flacco may not look impressive, he only completed 50% of his passes and threw for 161 yards, but he performed well given the parameters he had to work with. He only attempted 22 passes and did not throw an interception and was not sacked. The Ravens played a conservative game, relying on ball control and field position to win. When asked to throw, he mainly threw deep bombs downfield that served more to keep the defense from crowding the line of scrimmage than go for touchdowns.

Ravens runners found it tough going against the Titans defense as the linebackers crowded the line of scrimmage to take away the running game. The Ravens were only able to gain a total of 50 yards on the ground and the longest run, up until the final drive, was an eight yard scamper off of a busted play when Flacco just tossed the ball backwards to LeRon McClain to avoid a sack.

Flacco was able to connect with three different receivers on pass plays longer than 23 yards. Mark Clayton was the one man who Flacco looked to most often when he called for a deep strike. Clayton's longest reception, a 45 yarder, was the result of his defenders losing their feet while the ball was in the air.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans started well, taking an early seven point lead on a Chris Johnson touchdown run the first half. Some experts thought that the Titans would have trouble running the ball with the absence of Kevin Mawae, but they were able to rush for over 79 yards in the first half behind Johnson's strong running. After the first touchdown they were not able to score again until the fourth quarter, but that was due to their own mistakes. Twice they got the ball inside the red zone and fumbled it away, missing two excellent scoring opportunities. On one other possession they attempted a 51 yard field goal, with the wind at their backs, but missed wide left as the usually reliable Rob Bironas missed.

Kerry Collins performed well in the face of a blitzing Ravens defense. They did not blitz him on every play, but did send men in key situations to try and take Collins out of his rhythm. Collins was able to recognize the blitz and get the ball away, but not always to a receiver as he often did not have much time to throw when the blitz was coming. He attempted a total of 42 passes as the Titans were forced to go to the air in the second half due to a floundering running game.

The running game floundered during the second half when Chris Johnson had to leave the game with an ankle injury. When Johnson was in the game the offense seemed to flow better and the defense was on its heels more often as they seemed to be afraid to attack and get burned by the speedy back.

Justin Gage was able to find open spots against the Raven defense and caught a game high ten receptions. He was easily Collins' most consistent target among his receivers. When Gage caught the ball he made sure to protect it with both hands as he knew that the defenders would do their best to knock the ball out.

What you ought to know

QB Joe Flacco, Pass: 11 - 22 - 161 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 5 - 0

The Ravens protected their rookie quarterback by trying to establish a running game early, choosing to play for field position and to capitalize on Titan mistakes instead of attacking the defense through the air. This has been the bread and butter of the offense all season and it did not change during the second playoff game. He only attempted eight passes in the first half, but he made the most of his limited throws by connecting with Derrick Mason on a deep bomb down field for a touchdown in the first quarter. The deep throws were set up by the running game sucking in the defenders. The Titans rarely blitzed, but they were able to get some pressure on the quarterback. Flacco responded to the pressure by finding his hot receiver, or on one instance locating a player standing behind him and just tossing him the ball as he was going down. Flacco seems to do best when not faced with pressure, but he does have the ability to make plays when it seems all around him is falling apart.

RB Willis McGahee, Rush: 12 - 32 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)

When McClain went out with the injured ankle, McGahee stepped into the role of primary back and filled in well. He carried the ball ten times during the second half and was a good change of pace from the pounding running style of McClain. McGahee was able to use his speed and cutback ability to have more success running against the strong defense, especially outside of the tackles. His longest run came when the Ravens needed it the most, they had a first and ten on the Titan 45 and he took the ball around the left end for an 11 yard gain that set the Ravens up in position for a field goal attempt.

RB LeRon McClain, Rush: 12 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)

McClain started and was the main running back during the first three quarters as the Ravens tried to run against a tough front seven. He had to fight for every yard, and his longest gain of the game came on a busted play when Flacco just tossed him the ball in order to avoid a sack. During the second quarter he had to leave the game with an injured ankle, but he was able to return in limited action during the second half but was not effective as he gained a total of -2 yards on the ground during the half.

RB Lorenzo Neal, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)

Lorenzo Neal did very little in the box score, but played an important role as the lead blocker for the tailbacks. His only carry was on a second and two play where he came up a yard short of the first down. In the passing game his only target was on a screen pass on first and ten that put them in a good short yardage situation.

WR Derrick Mason, Rec: 5 - 78 - 1 (9 targets)

Derrick Mason is the favorite target of Flacco and the man that gets looked at when a big play is needed. His first reception was for a touchdown as Flacco was able to get him the ball on a deep pass in the end zone while Mason was double covered. After the initial deep pass he went to work on shorter routes where Flacco could hit him in stride and enable him to gain yards after the catch.

WR Mark Clayton, Rec: 2 - 45 - 0 (4 targets)

Clayton did not see many balls thrown in his direction, but he was used as the deep receiver in the passing game. His first target was almost a reception, but he had stepped out of bounds as he came down with the ball. After not being able to come up with the second target on a deep ball, he was able to catch a pass while being double covered inside the ten yard line. He was able to catch the ball when the defender in front of him slipped and the defender behind him tripped before the ball arrived. Clayton caught the ball and spun around, attempting to get into the end zone before other defenders arrived on the scene but was unable to do so and was tackled at the five. His final reception was also important as it was an eight yard catch that set the team up in position for the game winning field goal.

WR Marcus Smith (1 targets)

Marcus Smith had a quiet game as his only reception was on a play that was wiped out due to an illegal shift penalty against the offense. The reception was a good one as he was able to come up with a pass that was tipped into the air by the Titans defender.

WR Yamon Figurs (1 targets)

Figurs was unable to come up with his only target on a pass down the right sideline as he was out of bounds when he caught the ball.

TE Daniel Wilcox, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)

Wilcox was used as an extra blocker in passing situations and only saw one ball thrown in his direction.

TE Todd Heap, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (2 targets)

Heap only saw two passes thrown in his direction as the Ravens rarely threw to the middle of the field. He was unable to hold onto his first target as he was hit immediately by two defenders just as the pass arrived. His second target helped get the team into field opponent territory on their game winning drive.

PK Matt Stover 2 - 2 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 7 points

Matt Stover was the clutch kicker on an afternoon when it would come down to a field goal to win the game. He made two field goals I the second half, one from point blank range and the other a game winner from 43 yards out.

BAL Rush Defense

The Ravens rush defense did well, in the second half. During the first half they were unable to keep up with the running of Chris Johnson as he was able to find holes in the line and burst through them for long gains and then break off good chunks of yardage to the outside. When Johnson left with an ankle injury the defense was able to keep the bigger, slower, back in check by plugging the primary holes and hitting him behind the line of scrimmage.

BAL Pass Defense

The pass defense was effective in getting pressure on Kerry Collins with multiple blitz packages. When they blitzed they were able to force Collins into getting rid of the ball early, or making him throw a bad pass off of his back foot. The only interception came as a result of a blitz forcing Collins into a bad pass against strong pressure up the middle.

QB Kerry Collins, Pass: 26 - 42 - 281 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0

Collins did a very good job of getting the ball off in the face of a blitzing defense. The defense was only able to get any type of pressure on him with the blitz, as his offensive line provided excellent protection. The pressure did force him into some bad throws, but he was able to locate some of his hot reads while in the presence of defenders. When not faced with pressure he had plenty of time to throw and was able to easily locate his targets. Collins still has a strong arm and was able to rifle the ball into small areas, between defenders, that gave his receivers the best chance of coming up with the ball. He was able to complete 62% of his passes, with the majority coming on medium to deep routs against a zone defense.

RB LenDale White, Rush: 15 - 45 - 0, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (5 targets)

White was asked to carry the load when Johnson left the game and was not able to provide the same spark that Johnson did. White had a tough time getting through holes in the line as they seemed to close before he got to the line of scrimmage. He also went down easy when hit head on, but was able to slip some tackles if the defender did not get a good shot at him. On a first down play he took a hand off to the right side of the line, slipped and a tackle and seemed to have an open field if he could get by the defender. The defender hit him squarely and White bounced backwards instead of fighting for extra yardage. His fumble was even more costly as it came toward the end of the first half when they got inside the red zone. He was fighting for extra yards, but failed to secure the ball and had the ball knocked loose and ended an excellent scoring chance.

RB Chris Johnson, Rush: 11 - 72 - 1, Rec: 1 - 28 - 0 (1 targets)

The offense flowed really well while Johnson was in the game. When he left the game in the second half with an ankle injury the offense seemed to sputter. He was an important part of the game plan as he was able to find holes off tackle and take runs to the outside. It seemed that the defense did not have an answer for his speed. His touchdown run came after they got the ball down inside the five yard line on a deep pass play. On the next play from scrimmage he took the handoff to the right side and bounced off of a tackler and hit the pylon on his way down to score the game's first touchdown. His only reception set the tone for the first half as he took a pass behind the line of scrimmage and slipped a tackle to get into the secondary for a 28 yard play. On the next series he slipped through a hole off tackle and sped for 32 yards into the secondary before being brought down. If he had cut back in the opposite direction it is possible that he would have scored his second touchdown.

RB Quinton Ganther, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0

Ganther only saw playing time when Chris Johnson went out with an ankle injury. He provided LenDale White with some rest as White was the primary ball carrier during the second half.

RB Ahmard Hall, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)

Hall's only reception was on a screen pass when the Titans were facing a third and ten on the one yard line. He caught the ball and ran toward the first down marker where he was hit hard just as he passed the marker. He was able to hold onto the ball despite losing his helmet in the collision.

WR Justin Gage, Rec: 10 - 135 - 0 (18 targets)

Justin Gage was the only one receiver who was able to consistently get open and catch the ball. He converted his 18 targets into ten receptions, as he was able to find open spots in the middle of the field. His day did not start well as his first target was on a pass just thrown outside of his reach while on a crossing route. He caught the next six throws in his direction before being the target of a pass into double coverage while in the end zone. Gage's sure hands were also on display as he made sure to secure the ball immediately after catching it as the defensive backs were intent on knocking the ball out every chance they got.

WR Justin McCareins, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (6 targets)

McCareins was ineffective as he was often the target on passes that were overthrown. He caught his first two targets but then disappeared from the offense as he was unable to get open against the defense. During the fourth quarter he was pulled from the game and was seen sitting of the sideline, not paying attention as the Titans were driving into field goal range.

WR Brandon Jones, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets)

Brandon Jones replaced an ineffective Justin McCareins in the lineup during the second quarter as the Titans were mounting their comeback. He had one reception each on the final two drives as they first tied the game at 10 and then attempted to get into field goal range to tie the game at 13.

TE Bo Scaife, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (7 targets)

Bo Scaife is the primary pass catching tight end and had a good game, catching four of his seven passes. He did have one reception that was overturned on official review when the official ruled that he did not have possession before getting both feet down inbounds. The call overturned a five yard reception and pushed a go ahead field goal attempt back five yards. Bironas would miss the field goal and the five yards could have been the difference in the attempt being successful.

TE Alge Crumpler, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)

Crumpler ended up with two receptions, but what happened after the second reception will be remembered by fans for years to come. As the offense was driving inside the ten yard line Crumpler caught a pass and was fighting for extra yards inside the five when he had the ball knocked loose for a fumble that was recovered on the one yard line. That was the third turnover of the game and proved to the be the most costly as they had a first down inside the five yard line and would have come away with at least three points and a tie game.

PK Rob Bironas 1 - 2 FG, 1 - 1 XP, 4 points

Bironas has a strong and accurate leg, but it was the one kick that he missed that will have fans wondering what could have happened. With just over ten minutes left in the third quarter Bironas missed a 51 yard field goal, with the wind at his back, wide left that would have given the Titans a three point lead.

TEN Rush Defense

The rush defense did an excellent job in holding the Ravens to a total of 50 yards rushing for the game. The defense crowded the line of scrimmage to take away the running game and forced the offense to pass in order to move the ball. The two longest running plays allowed came on a busted play and an outside run on the final drive when the defense was expecting a run up the middle.

TEN Pass Defense

The pass defense was able to get some pressure on Joe Flacco, but was not able to sack him once. Flacco was able to move around in the pocket enough to find open receivers and connected with them enough times to keep the defense honest. The defense allowed three completions of over 20 yards, but they were all on plays where the receiver was double covered and Flacco was somehow able to get the ball to the receiver.

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