NEW ORLEANS -- Jim Caldwell’s demeanor won’t allow him take credit for much of the Ravens’ success, invigorating a struggling offense and winning his first Super Bowl as a play-caller.
Caldwell was installed as offensive coordinator after Cam Cameron was fired going into Week 15. Quarterback Joe Flacco was a mess in the pocket, having turnovers that cost the Ravens in losses vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins.
Caldwell won a Super Bowl as quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts with Peyton Manning in 2006. Until he was elevated in a surprise late-season move by Ravens coach John Harbaugh, he’d never run an offense in the NFL.
“It was the same offense. We didn't change not one play,” said Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, who became lost in Cameron’s no-huddle offense that eventually ground to a halt. “We did more of what we were good at. We moved Joe around the pocket a lot more. Instead of throwing it to two guys, Caldwell spread it around to all our people.”
Sunday’s thrilling 34-31 win vs. the San Francisco 49ers was a shining example of that. Torrey Smith only had two catches for 35 yards, but the Ravens’ primary big-play option didn't have to produce a big game to secure victory.
Rice and Bernard Pierce carried a combined 32 times for 92 yards. Flacco completed passes to seven different receivers, led by Anquan Boldin’s six catches for a team-high 104 yards and 1 TD. Jacoby Jones had only one catch, but it went for a 56-yard TD to stretch the lead to 21-6 going into the half.
It was a 180-degree turn from the Ravens who couldn't get going under Cameron. Rice rushed 34 fewer times during the regular season and finished with 221 fewer yards than one season ago when he led all NFL players in total yards from scrimmage with 2,068. He also had 15 fewer receptions for 226 fewer yards.
Boldin was invisible at times in the regular season. He had just one TD catch in the first 11 games and finished with four. Last season when the Ravens went 12-4, Boldin had three TD receptions.
Under Caldwell in this postseason alone, he led the Ravens with 22 catches for 380 yards and four TDs.
“When peopled keyed in on Ray Rice or keyed in on Torrey, we had Anquan, we had Jacoby Jones, we had Pierce, we had (Dennis) Pitta, we had (Ed) Dickson,” Leach said. “We got a lot of play-makers on this offensive side of the ball. He utilized everybody.”