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Ravens Defense Feasts With Five Interceptions vs. 49ers

CB Marlon Humphrey
CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' defense took the game to San Francisco and kept taking away the football.

Five interceptions later, Baltimore left California with a convincing 33-19 victory over the 49ers that may have stunned many, but it didn't surprise the Ravens. They believed in Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald's gameplan against the 49ers and quarterback Brock Purdy, who they intercepted four times before safety Marcus Williams picked off backup quarterback Sam Darnold to seal the win.

The Ravens kept making splash plays as Kyle Hamilton had two interceptions, while Williams, Marlon Humphrey, and Patrick Queen each had one. Meanwhile, Baltimore's combination of physicality and playmaking made life miserable for the 49ers' offense, which entered the game second in the NFL in total offense and points scored.

"Our defense just had a spectacular game against one of the best offenses there is," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Five turnovers; five interceptions; pressure on the quarterback pretty much all day and plastering the scrambles. I thought our guys really worked hard in coverage all day."

Queen felt the Ravens' defense also set the tone with its physicality, which forced the 49ers into mistakes.

"We play a brand of football that people don't want to play," Queen said. "Everybody wants to be out here being cute, playing basketball on grass and stuff, and we [are not] with all that.

"You can do all that stuff; we're just going to hit you in the mouth every play, honestly. We couldn't care less about all the pretty stuff you do, gimmick stuff. You still have to line up and play football. You still have to get touched, so that's our mindset. That's how we want to come out and just hit people in the mouth."

The pressure generated by Baltimore's pass rush that yield four sacks and nine quarterback hits kept Purdy under duress, and after he left the game in the fourth quarter with a stinger, Darnold received the same treatment.

It has been a collaborative effort by Baltimore's defense all season. They have multiple pass rushers who are effective, two superb inside linebackers in Roquan Smith and Queen, and versatile players on the back end like Hamilton and Humphrey help them disguise coverages in multiple ways.

The Ravens' swarming defense never let up, and while the 49ers made some big plays, they simply made too many mistakes.

"Defensively, it was all three levels," Harbaugh said. "We had pressure. We had the run game under control, [and] that helped us a lot. But we had pressure.

"I think our coverage was just fantastic and we covered long, so we made them hold the ball, forcing them into some bad throws, and we had our hands on balls. We tipped balls; we had balls in the air, and guys caught them and that helps, too. It was just a complete team effort on defense to get those interceptions."

The defense also entered the game with the right mindset, ticked off that many expected the 49ers to deliver fireworks with their array of playmakers including tight end George Kittle, running back Christian McCaffery, and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.

While San Francisco has multiple weapons, Baltimore may have the NFL's most versatile defense that can adjust from play to play, or series to series.

What did edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney think of the Ravens being underdogs?

"That was funny to me," Clowney said. "We were the underdogs knowing what we've been through, 11-3. I think that put a little chip on our shoulders. We were coming in here to do our job and play hard and physical and play together, and we did that today."

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