I wrote that during Monday night's blog. Here's why.
At the 12:08 mark of the fourth quarter, the Ravens had a 2nd and 19 from their own 41. They had a tight end and two wide-outs to the left and one split wide to the right. Ray Rice was lined up over left tackle. Mincey chucks and covers the tight end. Roth, Knighton and Alualu rush. Daryl Smith comes right away on the blitz. Six blocking, four rushing. LT and LG double Alualu. C and RG double Knighton. Roth 1-on-1 with RT. Smith shoots the gap between RG and RT with Rice coming up to block. At 12:07 Smith and Rice meet. At 12:06 Rice is on the ground and Smith has two hands on Flacco. Then Flacco's on the ground, too. 3rd and 31.
"... he just ran right over Ray Rice." -- Jon Gruden
I read a lot of polls and rankings for running backs. For the life of me, I can't figure out how people come up with those rankings. MJD is consistently ranked behind several, despite being second currently in yards (first in the AFC) and leading in carries. On that basis alone, he should be at or just below the top ranking. And maybe rankers figure with specialty backs teams don't need a complete player at that position. I like the complete player, MoJo, who's pretty good back there in protection.
I disagree with something our friends at Profootballfocus wrote. They have a weekly "Had a Bad Day" team. Ray Rice "earned" that distinction this week. The runner-up? MoJo. I guess they're basing it on him putting the ball on the carpet three times.
But here's another difference. At the end of the day, Rice had eight carries. MoJo had 30. The game hurt his average. But as they say, "It's not the yards; it's the carries." I remember games against the Steelers where Bettis would end up with 105-120 yards. It was always 30-35 carries. It's not the yards; it's the carries.
Not counting the three kneel-downs to end the game, MoJo carried the ball on 8 of the Jaguars' 13 fourth-quarter plays. In a game where MoJo put the ball on the ground enough times to frustrate even the most ardent Jags fan, the team kept coming back to him. Crunch time against the best defense in the league. MoJo up the middle. MoJo off tackle.
Best player on the Jaguars? A 5-foot-7 guy named Maurice.