Super Bowl 47 Quality Stat Report: Ravens, 49ers Set for Showdown
By Brandon Burnett (@B_Burnett49er)
Cold Hard Football Facts' Power Ranger
Last week we broke down the first half of the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. Now, it's time to finish what we've started.
As media week for Super Bowl XLVII rolls on, John and Jim Harbaugh are busy putting the finishing touches on the game plans for their respective squads. In the meantime, we're left to sit and anxiously await the arrival of the big game in New Orleans.
Follow along as we dig into the second half of the Quality Stats to uncover just what makes the Ravens and Niners tick and see who'll have the edge come Super Bowl Sunday.
Oh, and here's a link to the first half of our coverage.
Baltimore Ravens: 14th
The Joe Flacco of the 2012 regular season and the Joe Flacco of this year's playoff run probably wouldn't recognize one another if they were to meet. That's not to say the Ravens' passing game was terrible during the regular season, but it simply rose to another level in January, and Flacco has as much to do with that as anyone.
After finishing with a passer rating of 87.7 heading into the postseason, Flacco has since thrown eight TD passes to zero interceptions, good for a passer rating of 114.7 in three playoff wins. Anquan Boldin has been Flacco's favorite target as of late, and for good reason. The veteran WR has hauled in 16 of 26 passes sent his way for 276 yards and three scores.
San Francisco 49ers: 4th
Remembering that Real Quarterback Rating measures much more than simply a quarterback's ability to pass the ball, San Fran's regular season ranking in QBR was thanks in part to a dominant run game that included QB Colin Kaepernick, who scampered for 415 yards and six TD's himself in 2012.
That carried over to the playoffs in a big way, when Kaepernick blew past the Packers' helpless D for 181 rushing yards and two scores. The second-year pro also has a 105.9 passer rating in two postseason games despite the fact that he's yet to make his 10th NFL start.
Baltimore Ravens: 11th
Baltimore didn't stand out in DQBR during the regular season, but an NFL rank of 11th is nothing to scoff at, either. The Ravens' defense struggled at times, but as we covered in the first portion of the Quality Stats coverage, they pulled it together in a big way for the postseason run.
B'more held Tom Brady to a passer rating of 62.3 in a playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Pats' running game, which had been excellent all year, averaged just 3.9 yards per carry on 28 attempts. That's some serious defensive domination when you consider how effectively NE's offense typically operates during the winter months.
San Francisco 49ers: 9th
The 49ers snuck into the Top 10 in Week 17 after sliding a bit the second half of the regular season. SF's defensive struggles (though they can hardly be called struggles) have bled into the postseason a bit, as the Packers and Falcons were able to come up with three offensive scores apiece.
But the key to this team's success, outside of an abundance of success on the offensive side of the ball, is the defense's ability to adjust and come out stronger than ever in the second half. This is not a team that gives up much ground in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Baltimore Ravens: 16th
Falling in line with Baltimore's regular season level of mediocrity in the passing game, the Ravens finished 16th in OPR. Flacco recorded a passer rating of 100 or higher in six regular season games, but also finished under 80 in seven of them.
His postseason passer rating for each game? Against Indy, it was 125.6. Denver was 116.2, and New England 106.3. While the figure trends down considerably each game, those numbers are ridiculously good considering that it's been do-or-die each week.
San Francisco 49ers: 4th
Oddly enough, the 49ers held an OPR of 101.62 before Kaepernick took over at QB, and 101.16 at the end of the regular season—finishing in the same spot (4th) they stood after a Week 9 bye.
Coincidence? Not at all. Both Alex Smith and Kaepernick have proven to be capable of operating the 49ers' offense at a high level. Kaepernick was remarkably efficient through the air in the NFC Championship Game, completing 16 of 21 passes (76.2 percent) for 233 yards and TD. Not gaudy numbers by any means, but they definitely got the job done.
Baltimore Ravens: 11th
As previously mentioned, the Ravens took a bit of a nosedive toward the end of the regular season. Their standing in DPR was no different, having been No. 5 after Week 12 only to finish at No. 11.
But all that matters is that this squad punched its playoff ticket and continues to step up when the situation calls for it. In addition to dominating Brady and the Pats' passing game, Peyton Manning finished with an unimpressive (especially for his standards) passer rating of 88.3 in the divisional round. The Ravens held Andrew Luck to a passer rating of just 59.8 in their wildcard win over Indy as well.
San Francisco 49ers: 4th
Yes, the 49ers finished 4th in the NFL in several Quality Stats, including DPR. Few opposing QB's found large amounts of success against the SF defense in the regular season. None flourished like Matt Ryan did in the NFC Championship Game (the first half at least), but it still wasn't enough to clinch a Super Bowl berth.
This will indeed make for a story to watch as the red-hot Flacco tests his luck against a stout 49ers secondary. If Ryan's 394-yard, 3-TD day wasn't enough, what will Flacco and the Ravens have to do to hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
Baltimore Ravens: 12th
The Ravens are a slight Super Bowl miracle in terms of the almighty Passer Rating Differential. 44 of 72 NFL champs since 1940 have finished in the Top 3 of PRD (61%), but Baltimore didn't even reach the Top 10. 69 of 72 NFL champs (96%) during that time frame finished in the Top 10 of DPR.
In other words, the Ravens are attempting to become the fourth team since 1940 to win an NFL championship despite finishing outside of the Top 10 in PRD during the regular season. This is perhaps where the 49ers hold the biggest edge in Super Bowl XLVII. Then again, it didn't stop Baltimore from conquering Denver (No. 3) or New England (No. 7).
San Francisco 49ers: 4th
San Fran undoubtedly has history on its side in this game. Not only are the Niners 5-0 when reaching the Super Bowl, they hold a sizable advantage in PRD.
SF checked in at No. 2 in PRD after Week 9 and had dropped only two spots by the conclusion of the regular season. The Niners have already defeated two playoff teams that finished inside the Top 5 in Green Bay (No. 1) and Atlanta (No. 5).
Baltimore Ravens: 13th
Finally, a Quality Stat where the Ravens hold the edge. Baltimore finished 2012 at No. 12 in Rushing Yards per Attempt, No. 11 in Negative Pass Play Percentage and No. 20 in 3rd Down Percentage. Not impressive rankings by any means. but we've seen worse.
Baltimore has been much-improved in the postseason, and that goes for more than just the defense. The Ravens are 16-39 (41%) on third down in the playoffs after converting just 36.8% of their attempts in the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers: 20th
The 49ers' weak spot during the regular season was surprisingly in 3rd Down Percentage and Negative Pass Play Percentage, where they finished at No. 25 in each. Outside of Scoreability, OHI is the only Quality Stat in which the Ravens hold a regular season advantage over San Fran.
The 49ers' dominant run game has never been the issue, as they rank No. 3 in Rushing Yards per Attempt. That dominance made a seamless transition to the postseason, where San Fran has piled up 472 rushing yards in two games. The Niners have also improved greatly on 3rd down (10-19) in those contests.
Baltimore Ravens: 8th
The Ravens held opposing rushing attacks to less than four yards per carry (3.99) in the regular season, and that number held true against New England, who rushed for only 108 yards on 28 attempts (3.9 YPC). B'more was even more impressive against Denver (3.0 YPC). Stuffing the 49ers' rushing attack will certainly be a key factor for the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
One area Baltimore's D has strugged in throughout the playoffs is on 3rd down, however. After holding opponents to a conversion rate of 35.8% in the regular season, the Ravens' playoff opponents are 23-51 (45.1%) to this point.
San Francisco 49ers: 2nd
The 49ers' D hasn't been great on 3rd down in the postseason either, allowing the Falcons and Packers to convert on 10 of their 21 3rd down attempts. SF held opponents to a conversion rate of just 33.1% in the regular season.
The bread and butter of the Niners D, however, is of course stopping the run. Atlanta managed only 3.5 YPC in the NFC Championship Game. The Packers did fare well in the run game (6.5 YPC), but ran the ball just 16 times.
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