Upon further review .. Revisiting our 10 predictions

Upon further review .. Revisiting our 10 predictions
November 27, 2012, 6:30 pm
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It's time once again to go under the replay hood and see how our 10 predictions fared for the Chargers game. And no, "They will convert a 4th-and-29 with a checkdown route" wasn't one of them.

1. Ray Rice will not rush for 100 yards.

CORRECT. Rice ran hard and finished with 22 carries for 97 yards. This, of course, doesn't count the 29-yard miracle catch-and-run on fourth-and-29. Rice and Bernard Pierce (9-34) did a solid job against the Chargers No. 3 run defense, which had allowed 87.9 yards a game and just one 100-yard rusher all season.

2. Joe Flacco will throw an interception….

INCORRECT. Flacco wasn't perfect by any stretch, and he and the offense were nearly comatose in the first half. But he threw 51 passes (completed 30) without an interception, and avoiding turnovers is one way the Ravens' offensive challenges have been mitigated on the road. That's now three straight road games, a total of 107 passes, without an interception by Flacco, and the Ravens are 3-0 in those games. That's no coincidence.

3. … but so will Philip Rivers.

INCORRECT. Rivers has thrown an AFC-high 14 interceptions, but the Ravens failed to pick one against him. Corey Graham nearly picked one off his shoetops that might have been returned for a touchdown, but Rivers finished 23-for-36 for 228 yards and no turnovers.

4. Torrey Smith will have a catch of 25+ yards.

CORRECT. In the Non-Fourth-And-29-Division, Smith had the two biggest offensive plays of the day: a 54-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter that set up the Ravens' first field goal, and a 31-yard grab down the right sideline in overtime that set up the game-winner. Smith, held to one catch against the Steelers, was back to form at San Diego with seven catches for 144 yards.

5. The Ravens will convert on less than 35 percent of their third-down plays.

INCORRECT. The Ravens made major improvements after going 3-for-14 at Pittsburgh on third down. The Ravens came into the Chargers game ranked 23rd in the league in third-down percentage, converting 34.4 percent of the time. But they were 12-for-24 against the Chargers, including both of Smith's long gains. 

6. Philip Rivers will throw for more than 250 yards.

INCORRECT. Rivers threw for 270 yards and picked apart the Ravens last season, but he didn't have near as much success this time around. Good coverage and a relentless rush were clearly factors, as Rivers finished 23-for-36 for 228 yards.

7. The Chargers will score a red zone touchdown.

INCORRECT. The Ravens defense, so maligned early in the season, has really stiffened, after holding the Steelers to no touchdowns after the first minute. The Chargers only had one possession inside the Ravens' 20, and it netted just 4 yards and a field goal. The Ravens have not allowed a red zone touchdown in four games, a streak of 10 straight possessions.

8. The Ravens will have at least two sacks.

CORRECT. The Ravens' relentless pass rush was one of the stories of the game. There were Ravens in Rivers' face all day, and the Ravens totaled six sacks, including a pair by Arthur Jones. Paul Kruger had one as well, giving him team-leading 5.5. Other sacks came from Terrell Suggs, Dannell Ellerbe and Courtney Upshaw.   

9. Jacoby Jones will have a kickoff return of at least 35 yards.

INCORRECT. San Diego seemed to be very wary of Jones, sometimes kicking away from him, but when Jones got the ball, the Chargers contained him -- and hit him. Jones was banged up during the game and returned just two kickoffs with a long of 25 yards.

10. Ravens 24, Chargers 20     

KIND OF CORRECT. We called a rare Ravens win on the West Coast, saying that "the Ravens will struggle but will have enough to beat a Chargers team that keeps finding ways to lose." Indeed, the Chargers did find a new way to lose: Failing to stop a checkdown route on fourth-and-29. From there, the Ravens put the game on the foot of rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who continues to play with poise beyond his years.