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Ravens Deliver Lumps of Coal to 49ers on Christmas

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Dec 27, 2023

The highly anticipated Sunday Night Football matchup on Christmas Day between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers lived up to the hype. In a battle between two of the top teams in the NFL, the Ravens dominated on both sides of the ball on their way to a convincing 33-19 victory.

Jackson and Ravens Defense Feast on Turnovers

The story of the game was the Ravens defense forcing five turnovers from 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. Ravens safety Chuck Clark said the defensive game plan was to confuse the rookie.

“We wanted to give different looks and force him into bad decisions,” Clark said.

The plan worked to perfection. Purdy threw four interceptions after not throwing a single pick in his first five career starts. His MVP campaign took a big hit while the Ravens defensive players made their case for Defensive Player of the Year honors.

“Our defense played out of their minds,” said Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. “They won us this game.”

Jackson certainly did his part as well. After missing five straight games with a knee injury, Jackson returned looking healthy and playing at an MVP level once again. He made big throws when needed and ripped off a long touchdown run that elicited memories of his 2019 MVP season. Jackson finished with 204 pass yards, one touchdown, and 95 rush yards.

Purdy Cracks Under Pressure

Purdy had a chance to strengthen his case as the NFL’s next star quarterback after playing nearly flawless football since taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. But the seventh round pick finally showed his inexperience against the tricky Ravens defense.

Purdy locked onto his first read too often, allowing Ravens defensive backs Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey to jump multiple routes. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the coaches need to put Purdy in better positions to succeed but he still needs to learn from his mistakes.

“Today was a learning experience for him,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see how he bounces back.”

What This Means for the Playoff Race

The game carried major playoff implications in both conferences. The Ravens reclaimed first place in the AFC at 11-4. With Tom Brady and the Buccaneers losing on Sunday, the NFC South remains up for grabs but the 13-3 Eagles now have a chance to secure home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

AFC Playoff Standings Record
1. Ravens 11-4
2. Chiefs 12-3
3. Bills 12-3
4. Bengals 11-4
5. Chargers 10-5
6. Patriots 8-7
7. Dolphins 8-7

The Ravens host the struggling Steelers in Week 18. Winning out gives them a good shot to win the AFC North and maintain at least the 2 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs and Bills still have a chance to win the AFC’s lone first round bye but the Ravens currently hold the tiebreaker over Buffalo.

In the NFC, the 49ers lead the West at 12-4 but need to beat the Cardinals in the finale to clinch the division. The loss damages their chances for the first round bye but they could still win the NFC with some help next week.

What’s Next

The Ravens finish the regular season at home against their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8). The Steelers are hanging onto slim playoff hopes so they should give maximum effort. A Ravens win punches their ticket to the playoffs.

San Francisco looks to rebound at home against the 4-11 Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers need a win to lock up the NFC West. Shanahan hopes the loss serves as a learning experience instead of a sign of bad things to come.

“It’s going to be good for us in the long run,” Shanahan said. “We have all our goals in front of us.”

Jackson and the Ravens aim to prove this year’s team is ready to finally win in the playoffs after suffering early exits the past three seasons. For the 49ers, they hope Purdy can regain his mojo in time for another deep postseason run.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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