Baltimore Ravens: Top 5 Playoff Performers
Ravens Top 5 Playoff Performers
With any run to the Super Bowl a team has to have had a few players who have out-performed the rest and delivered in the clutch and the Baltimore Ravens are no different with four players and a coach in particular catching my eye during the Ravens’ three playoff games.
These great performances have blended in exceptionally well with the very strong team play that has enabled the Ravens to go through the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots , with the latter two wins coming on the road after being squarely labelled the underdog.
When evaluating my own personal top 5 performances I took into account not only the statistical contribution of each player, but how clutch their play was at the time and how it aided the Ravens on their way to the Harbaugh Bowl.
Of course there is still one more game for another Raven to stand out and be the difference maker in the Super Bowl and perhaps become the ultimate post season performer. Going on a slight tangent I have both an offensive and defensive ‘dark horse’ that could steal the show for the men in purple on Sunday; Dannell Ellerbee and Dennis Pitta are two guys that whilst not making this list, have been very good in the playoffs so far and so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did something special in the big game.
Well after that slight piece of article procrastination, here are my top 5 Ravens performers of the playoffs so far.
5. Paul Kruger
His stats may not read like an all-stars’, but his play has been very impressive to me. Going up against three of the leagues best quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks, a team needs to generate a good pass rush to force said quarterbacks into an errant throw or two. Kruger has been a consistent presence in the other teams backfield for the Ravens, and despite only 2.5 sacks in the three games, he has been an omnipotent menace that has had to be double teamed on a number of occasions.
4. Ray Lewis
Upon returning from a torn tricep against the Indianapolis Colts, Lewis has not only been inspiring for his team mates, but has played inspired football in the middle of Ravens defense, racking up 44 combined tackles. He may not be able to roam from sideline to sideline like he used to, or even be able to catch, but he is no liability defensively and has truly been one of the better players this postseason.
3. Anquan Boldin
Q may not have had a ton of receptions these past few games, but those catches he has hauled in have been very important and have at times set the tone for the Ravens overall game. Against the Indianapolis Colts he was the deep threat, gaining 145 yards on a couple of Joe Flacco bombs, against the Denver Broncos he was the go to guy on 3rd downs in the second half and kept important drives alive and then finally against the New England Patriots he was a monster to deal with in the red zone by making two leaping grabs in the endzone to account for 12 points. What’s his encore going to be in the Super Bowl?
2. Jim Caldwell
As a long time fan of the Ravens, I’ve seen many a bad offensive game called by the man with the play sheet, but Caldwell has seemingly unshackled the Baltimore offense and has managed to be quite unpredictable. When the ground game has been needed, both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce have seen good touches on well designed run plays; when the team has needed to go to the air, they have been threatening on every route level. He may not be around next season, so his play calling needs to be appreciated whilst it lasts.
1. Joe Flacco
An easy pick for anyone that has watched the Ravens this postseason. He has not thrown a single interception and has managed 8 touchdowns during that time. Not only have Joe’s stats been top notch, but his ability to make the plays in the clutch and in tough conditions (the wind in Massachusetts) have lead to him delivering on the big stage three times in a row and looking like he could be the man to lead a Super Bowl winning drive.