|When capping this year's Super Bowl lot of folks are going to mention the first Harbowl from last season's Thanksgiving game.
Posted: 1/21/2013 5:19:29 PM
This thread is about what we have learned from that game, and what has changed since then.
Not a lot of offense in that game, very low scoring, mostly field position and field goals. I think the Ravens were without Ray Lewis in that game (?) I think we can all agree that they won by sacking Alex 9 times in that game, Suggs was a BEAST, and shutting down the run game as well. The Niners defense also played fairly well, but did not sack Flacco once. Will the Super Bowl be another low scoring game?
So what has changed? The Niners offense has changed completely with Kaep. They had to play conservative with Alex, who is less mobile, weaker arm, and takes more sacks. They also have more weapons this year with Moss (instead of Ginn good lord) and James, and their young O-line play has gotten better with experience (one and a half years of cohesiveness makes a huge difference, and at guard Boone is a Hall of Famer compared to Rachal). The Niners also run the pistol, an element absent from the Thanksgiving game. This changes the dynamic of the Ravens pass rush, and Suggs may be somewhat neutralized having to deal with reading the read option. I think from a Niners offensive standpoint, given the massive upgrade at QB, OL, and WR, and a huge change in schemes and gameplan, we can throw the first game out when considering the rematch. Also remember that at that time, the Niners were just beginning to realize their greatness as a team and what they could accomplish, while Baltimore was the cream of the crop.
The only thing I know about the Ravens is that they now have Pierce instead of Williams, a clear upgrade in the run game. I welcome any insights people have on Baltimore, as I don't follow them enough to know them as well as SF.