Week 16 MNF Recap

Written by: William Petersen

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MNF on ESPN on Christmas night

After a day of presents, stockings, family time, and two day games, week 16 as well as Christmas Day would be wrapped up by the game of the regular season between the number one teams in both respected conferences. The Baltimore Ravens came into Levi Stadium on Christmas night to face a San Francisco 49ers squad that has been the cream of the NFC crop all season in a game that would determine the bragging right of the best team in the NFL right now and maybe of the regular season. Coming into the game Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was second in the MVP race behind 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy who has had an efficient and productive season through fifteen weeks. Jackson said before this pivotal primetime game that, “he’d put on a show” after the Ravens have been disrespected all week coming into this game, especially after Vegas listed them as a six point underdog. Lamar Jackson continued to show the league why he is now the MVP frontrunner after finishing 23/35 for 252 yards, 2 touchdowns, 7 rushes for 45 yards, and a total QBR of 105.9. Jackson’s pocket presence, ability to go off schedule, and play mistake free football helped propel the Ravens to a blowout 33-19 win in a game where Brock Purdy threw 4 interceptions and looked the farthest thing from the MVP frontrunner I have ever seen. Purdy would leave the game early in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury, finishing 18/32 for 255 yards and a career high four interceptions. Not much of a debate can be made on who the best team in the NFL is as the Ravens are now one game away from clinching the number one seed in the AFC if they can beat a gritty Miami Dolphins team next Sunday on New Years Eve at M&T Bank Stadium.

Zay Flowers and the Ravens will be flying back to Baltimore with a sack full of San Francisco’s presents after Flowers torched the Niners secondary, 9 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown that came with the perfect celebration to pay homage to a Christmas icon, the Grinch. Lamar Jackson’s impressive night on the road was fueled by an eye popping performance from the Ravens defense, producing five total interceptions from one of the most explosive offenses in the league. The Ravens have now won 9 out of their last 10 games and show no signs of slowing down as they continue to eye the number one seed and a first round bye in the playoffs. Jackson is now 20-1 all time against NFC opponents and the Ravens now improve to 7-1 on the road for a season that seems to be turning into one of destiny. The one negative that came out of this win was the injury to star safety Kyle Hamilton who appeared to suffer a significant knee injury in the second half. The Ravens welcome the Dolphins next week in a game that could very well come down to the last possession, but I would not be surprised to see this Ravens pass rush give Tua constant pressure and make him beat them off schedule. Look for this to be the best game of the early slate and maybe all of week 17 as well.

49ers fans will be going to sleep with an empty feeling in their stomach after a day of joy and Christmas spirit turned into one of disaster and disbelief as their posterboy quarterback quickly looked like the last pick in the NFL draft. Purdy took a beating all night, having multiple passes deflected and a tenacious Ravens pass rush that forced Purdy to make unsound decisions. Christian McCaffrey’s historic season continued as he managed to find the endzone for his 21st rushing touchdown of the season and finished with 14 carries for 103 yards. Brandon Aiyuk also finished with 6 receptions for 113 yards and star tight end George Kittle finished with 7 receptions for 126 yards. The Niners got an early safety that I thought was going to turn the tides in their favor but the Ravens defense managed to cool off a red hot Niners offense that ultimately played from behind after the first quarter. San Francisco now looks to figure out how they can bounce back after an embarrassing defeat on national television and will be anxious to see if Purdy’s injury will linger into week 17. The Niners travel to the Washington Commanders next week who have one of the worst offenses in the NFL and should take care of business promptly if Purdy can play. If Sam Darnold gets the start, I would not be surprised to see the Niners in a shootout come the fourth quarter if the Commanders defense can find some traction early.