On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com

You are browsing the archive for Bernard Pollard Archives - Fanspeak.com's Baltimore Ravens Blog.

Ravens Continue to Shine in September With Win Over Texans: Fact & Opinion

September 24, 2013 in Baltimore Ravens, Observations

The more things change, the more they stay the same. How appropriate that on a day when Ed Reed returned to play against his former team and the Ravens honored arguably the greatest middle linebacker to ever wear a football uniform—much less a purple one, the defense led the hometown Ravens to a convincing 21 point victory over the Houston Texans.

It was not quite the beating the Texans delivered to the Ravens last October in Houston but the 30-9 victory sent a message to the rest of the National Football League that the demise of the Super Bowl Champs might have been greatly exaggerated.

Here are a few facts and opinions about the Baltimore Ravens victory at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Fact: The Houston Texans ran 61-plays for 264 yards in Sundays contest. They converted just three of 12 third downs, were held to just 94 yards rushing. Texans QB Matt Schaub was 25-35 for 194-yards and one interception. He was sacked three times, losing 24-yards. His rating was a paltry 72.8.

Meanwhile, Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined to carry the football 21-times for 90-yards. For the second consecutive week, rookie DeAndre Hopkins led all Texans receivers in receptions (6) and yards (60). Andre Johnson was hobbled with a leg injury and no factor while TE Owen Daniels was also no factor with five catches for 29-yards.

Opinion: The Ravens defense was good on Sunday but they must continue to get better. This unit has the potential to be special, as they simply imposed their will on a Texans offense that has quality talent. They are not the Denver Broncos but they have weapons. The Ravens defense bent but did not break on the Texans two drives that resulted in field goals. In fact, Houston gained 26 percent of their total yardage for the day on their opening drive when they marched 69-yards in 16-plays. On their third drive, Houston only had to go 18-yards to make the score 6-0.  On three separate drives, the Texans gained a total of minus one yard.

Led by Daryl Smith, who had 10-tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown, the first of his NFL career, the Ravens defense was consistent and dominating on Sunday. How appropriate that the player of the game was Smith on a day when the franchise honored the best ever MLB to play the game. The Ravens are now 30-2 since 2000 when they record a pick 6.

Haloti Ngata, whom Greg Gumbel referred to as the Rock of Gibraltar continues to play well inside. He, along with Terrell Suggs and Arthur Jones each registered a sack of Schaub. Jones and Suggs have now combined for five sacks this season for the Ravens. The biggest difference in the game was perhaps the speedy play of the safeties. This was critical in taking away the short middle of the field, preventing TE Owen Daniels from killing the team as other TE’s of Daniels skill set has done. James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam played quick and showed phenomenal closing speed. Both combined to make 14-tackles while breaking up three passes.

The first pick 6 of Smith's career

The first pick 6 of Smith's career

In fact, according to Profootballfocus.com, Ihedigbo registered six defensive stops against the Texans, only one less than he registered in 294 snaps in last year’s regular season. The biggest noticeable difference to this fans eye was the speed of the Ravens defense vs. the zone-blocking scheme of the Texans offensive line. Arian Foster is a very patient back and at times found the hole but on most occasions, the speed of the Ravens defense did not allow for the Texans running game to develop, as the secondary closed fast and the linebackers tracked well all day. The defensive line clogged running lanes and consumed blockers allowing the Ravens back seven or eight to make plays and stops.

It was easy to sit back and flash back to the early part of the 2000’s when the Ravens defense dominated and special teams made big plays, especially after Tandon Doss, who did not make the final roster cuts but was brought back after the Jacoby Jones injury, returned a Shane Lechler punt 82-yards for a TD.

Doss, who showed flashes of breaking one, last week vs. Cleveland, did on Sunday against Houston. The Doss punt return TD came just 1:54 following Smith’s pick 6. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 12 seasons, 15 teams have scored a pair of defensive or special-team TDs within a 2-minute span and those teams have a 15-0 record.

FACT: Through three games, the Ravens rushing attacks has just 232-yards on 88 attempts and is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. Bernard Pierce had 24-carries for 65 yards on Sunday, while newcomer Shaun Draughn saw his first action as a Raven with four carries for just two yards.

Opinion: Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is showing no signs of abandoning the running game and I’m not so sure his predecessor (Cam Cameron) would be doing the same at the moment. The Ravens had just 24 yards on the ground at halftime but utilized the running game to kill clock and make a few plays in the second half. The biggest play came with the Ravens once again pinned down deep late in the third quarter. From their own four-yard line, Bernard Pierce took a Flacco handoff and scooted up the right sideline for 25-yards getting the Raves out of trouble.

The drive was huge in that it consumed 13 plays for 69 yards and led to three more points, essentially ending the contest for Houston who would now have to score three times to win. The Ravens rushed six times on the drive totaling just 27-yards. Therefore, that means after Pierce’s 25-yard scamper, the Ravens gained just two yards on five carries—But they stayed with it, killing valuable clock time. The yards will come but they will not if the Ravens give up on running the ball, which is a big part of Flacco being able to go down the field.

FACT: Speaking of Flacco, he was 16-for-24 for 171 yards, was sacked twice and posted an 87.3 rating. He targeted WR Torrey Smith only three times in the first half but after the Ravens' defense and special teams put them on the board, Flacco and Smith, who finished with five catches for 92-yards, seem to find a rhythm. Two plays between Flacco and Torrey Smith changed the way the Texans were forced to play defense in the second half.

The first was when Flacco beat his nemesis in Texans cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who has four career pickoffs against Flacco, for a 48-yard pitch and catch to the Houston 35-yard line. Not long after, Flacco went after Kareem Jackson, who committed two pass defense penalties on the day, as Smith made a spectacular catch but replay overturned the catch because Smith did not have complete control all the way to the ground.

The plays backed up the Houston secondary and forced them to play the speedy Ravens receivers more aggressively. On the same drive but a later sequence, Flacco found Smith running a left-to-right crossing route, beating Brice McCain to the sideline and getting the ball to the Texans' 8-yard line. Kareem Jackson was then flagged for interfering with Tandon Doss in the end zone, which gave the Ravens first and goal at the one. Flacco was 3-5 on the drive for 77-yards with Smith hauling in two of them for 75.

Opinion: I was worried if Smith could improve his game enough this season to be the go to guy the Ravens would have to have in the receiving corp. This drive proves he has become just that. Smith seemed to put the offense on his back during this drive and simply made plays, even if they did not count. Yes, Flacco made some nice throws with nice touch, as he stood in the pocket under constant pressure but this was shades of Flacco to Boldin in the playoffs. Without Smith making those plays, the Ravens offense likely falters again and is forced to punt. Bernard Pierce scored form the one to give the Ravens a 24-9 lead to cap off the nine play 80-yard 3:55 drive– but if the Ravens do not get this touchdown, the game likely remains 16-9 and well within reach of a Houston team that won its first two games in come from behind fashion.

Fact: The Ravens offensive line was offensive at times in the game on Sunday. According to Pro-Football Focus, JJ Watt had one of his best games as a pro. His +7.0 run defense grade from this game is highest single game run defense grade of his career. During their ReFo segment yesterday, PFF said, “Through three games Watt is already at a +20.8 overall grade, only marginally behind the +23.8 he sat on at the same stage last season. What makes this performance all the more astonishing is who he did it against, doing what very few defensive players can do and making an All-Pro guard like Marshal Yanda (-1.7 overall) look ordinary. Watt did a lot, more than any other player, of his good work against Michael Oher more so than Yanda but his work against the Ravens ground game (+7.0) was astonishing and the seven stops he recorded this week is a mark he only topped once last season, when he recorded 10 against the Colts in Week 15. His base stats may be down on last season, but don’t for a second think he isn’t playing just as well as he did all of last season.”

Opinion: Just like last year’s game in Houston, the Ravens were unable to stop Watt but unlike like last year’s game in Houston, the Ravens did not let Watt beat them. He made his plays but the Ravens were able to minimize the damage Watt was able to do. The team's perennial leading tackler, inside linebacker Brian Cushing and his partner Joe Mays were dominating against the Ravens rushing attack but Flacco stayed cool unlike last year, when he posted the lowest total ESPN QBR in five seasons. While this was not the Ravens best offensive line performance, getting a win vs. a defense like the one the Texans have is always a step in the right direction.

JUST THE FACTS PLEASE—JUST THE FACTS

Joe Flacco is now 11-0 at home in September starts in his NFL career, the best record for a quarterback in the Super Bowl era (minimum 10 attempts per start). The Ravens are now 6-1 vs. Houston all-time and the Texans remain one of four AFC teams that have yet to win in the Charm City. San Diego, Miami and Oakland are the others. (Press Box On Line)

Following the Ravens Week 1 debacle in Denver, in which they were the last ranked defense in the NFL, Baltimore is now ranked 15 and climbing the charts, allowing an average of 344.3 yards per game. The Seahawks, Texans, Jets, Saints & Steelers are 1-5.

Staying with the statistical theme, the Ravens are sixth in the NFL with 11 sacks this season. They are ranked No. 12 at stopping the pass and fourth against the run, allowing just 74.7 yards per game on the ground. The offense is heading in the opposite direction, as they are ranked No. 30 overall in the NFL after three weeks. They are No.20 in passing and No.25 rushing the ball with just 77.3 yards per game. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars rank lower in the league in terms of yards per carry.

The Ravens are much better on third down on both offense and defense this season than they were last year at this time. On offense, the Ravens are 24 for 54 on third down and are ranked eighth in the NFL with a 44.4 percent conversion rate. On defense, they are ranked 13, holding opponents to a 35.7 conversion rate. The Ravens have held the Texans and Browns to 7-for-27 on third down (25.9) the previous two weeks after allowing the Broncos to convert on 8-of-15 attempts.

The Ravens ran the ball 31 times and threw it 24 times, including two sacks allowed. The team's total run-pass ratio through three games is now minus-39 (88 runs, 119 passes, including eight sacks allowed).

The Texans' defense allowed 236 total yards in Sunday's loss, the first time Houston allowed an opposing team less than 250 yards and lost the game since Week 8 of 2007. The team was 15-0 in those games from 2008-13 before Sunday's loss.

The Ravens have posted a record of been 2-1 or better through the first three weeks for 10 of the last 11 seasons. The team has lost only three of its last 29 at home and has not lost two of its first three during any season since 2005. The last defeat I can find in September, at home for the Ravens, occurred when the Indianapolis Colts beat them 24-7 back on Sept 11 2005. The Ravens are now 37-23 in September, their most successful month.

The Ravens have not been shut out at home since eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beat them 25-0 in the Ravens 2002 home opener. That was the game in which the Ravens honored Johnny Unitas, who passed away earlier in the week. They have now gone 177 consecutive regular-season games without being shut out and have scored in 293 of its 295 games.

The Bills and Two Memorable Contests:key_art_buffalo_bills

The Ravens will travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Ravens last and only visit there resulted in a 19-14 loss, which was the first of a club-record nine straight defeats, following a 4-2 start. Baltimore is 3-2 all-time vs. Buffalo. They beat them the last time the two teams played in Baltimore on October 24, 2010 but it was not easy for the Ravens.

The Bills jumped out to a 24-10 lead before the Ravens stormed back to take a 27-24 lead. Following a Willis McGahee two-yard plunge, the Ravens would lead by 10 points but Buffalo did not quit and scored 10 fourth quarter points to tie the game at 34-34. Billy Cundiff would win the game for the Ravens with a 38-yard field goal in overtime.

The Bills once beat the Ravens way back in 1999 on a memorable Halloween afternoon in Baltimore. In a game in which both teams combined for just 449 total yards of offense, the Ravens led the Bills all afternoon. The only offense the Ravens could produce was a Tony Banks to Justin Armour TD pass and a Matt Stover field goal.

However, with a 10-6 lead, Banks fumbled the ball with just 3:48 to play giving Bills QB Doug Flutie one more shot. After pressuring the former Heisman Trophy winner all afternoon, forcing three interceptions and sacking him three additional times, Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis elected to play a prevent scheme and Flutie took full advantage. Flutie needed just 1:50 to drive the Bills 45-yards on nine plays completing four of eight passes. The completion was a five-yard TD pass to Jonathan Linton to give the Bills their first lead of the game and the eventual 13-10 win. The prevent defense had once again done its job by preventing the team using it from wining the game.

The Ravens would get one more shot with 1:50 to play but Banks could not recover from the fumble and was sacked by ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley to start the final drive. He would complete just one pass of the five he threw, as the Bills took over downs to run out the clock. The Ravens dropped to 2-5 on the 1999 season with the loss but did rebound to finish 8-8 before winning the Super Bowl the next season.

** fact stats courtesy of  ESPN Stats & info, Elias Sports Bureau, and Ravens Media Press Guide.

Ravens Cut S Bernard Pollard

March 13, 2013 in Free Agency, News

Earlier today, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they cut starting SS Bernard Pollard.

Just last offseason, the Ravens signed Pollard to a contract extension.  This extension gave Pollard a cap hit of $3.25 million this season with a base salary of $2 million.  He also had a roster bonus due soon that was worth $500,000.  This move will save the Ravens $1 million in cap space.

Bernard Pollard

The Baltimore Ravens cut hard-hitting starting SS Bernard Pollard today.

This is a surprising move for the Ravens.  Pollard led the team in tackles this season with 98 and was a key part of the defense.  Pollard was the thumper for the defense, constantly dishing out big hits.  He is also a very good run defender and blitzer.

What also makes this move questionable is that the Ravens only save $1 million in cap.  If Pollard was making a much higher number, it would be understandable to cut him.  Every dollar counts in cap but, there was no speculation that Pollard would be a cap casualty.

One potential reason of this cut, as suggested by ESPN's Jamison Hensley, is that the Ravens are trying to change the personality of the locker room.  Pollard is a quality player but has been on three teams in seven years, so it is possible that he wore out his welcome.  Other

Another possible reason for the cut is that Pollard is part of a dying breed in the NFL.  He is the strong, hard-hitting safety that many teams just don't have anymore.  The NFL is becoming more of a passing league so you need two safeties who are good in pass coverage.  Pollard isn't good in pass coverage, and never has been.  While he didn't give up a touchdown in coverage last season, he did allow a 75% of passes thrown his way to be completed.  Still, this alone can't be enough to cut a player.

The only other possibility that I can think of for Pollard being cut is that the Ravens are worried about his knack for being penalized for his hard hits.  The NFL is becoming stricter and stricter on helmet-to-helmet contact on "defenseless" receivers.  Now, I put that in quotes because it seems that more then half of the penalties called under this rule are bogus and are good, clean hits.  Anyways, the Ravens could be worried that Pollard is on his way to a suspension because of these hits, just like what happened to Ed Reed (though he appealed and won).

The job of replacing Pollard will fall to two people, as of right now.  They are James Ihedigbo and Christian Thompson.  Ihedigbo was re-signed to a one year deal just before free agency started.  Thompson was a 4th round draft pick in last year's draft out of South Carolina State.  As of right now it would be Ihedigbo's job to lose but, there probably would be a competition in training camp.  I would expect the the Ravens to draft a safety in the upcoming draft to help add to this competition and, the might sign a veteran to a cheap deal later on in free agency.

Super Bowl XLVII Recap

February 11, 2013 in Observations, Super Bowl XLVII

Exactly one week ago, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.  Since it has been one week, it is time to look at some important things that occurred.  The play of Joe Flacco has already been looked at here.

Ravens Coaching
The Baltimore Ravens coaching staff did a good job preparing for this game.  The team came out strong and was able to execute what we can assume was the gameplan.  Two key moments for the coaching staff stick out from this game.

First, was the power outage during the game.  For 34 minutes, the lights on half of the stadium went out.  This allowed the 49ers to recuperate and come out attacking.  Before the power outage, the Ravens led 28-6.  After the power outage, the 49ers outscored the Ravens 25-6.  The coaching staff obviously didn't do enough to keep the players ready to play.  The 49ers were able to get their players ready to play.  Maybe the players were thinking that this game was already decided due to the big lead, I don't.  But what I do now is that the team wasn't the same after this stoppage of play.

In my opinion, the best decision by the coaching staff was to take a safety with about ten seconds left in the game.  The Ravens were up by five points and had the ball on their own 8-yard line on a 4th and 7.  Instead of just punting the ball away, P Sam Koch took the ball and ran around in the endzone.  He was able to run off eight seconds before the 49ers figured out what was going on and pushed Koch out-of-bounds.  This made the Ravens have to do a free kick and the coverage unit was able to stop the return as time expired.

So, instead of allowing a possible blocked punt or a punt return for a touchdown on a short field, the Ravens played it safe.  It is easier to defend a return when the returner is fielding the ball from farther away from the endzone.  More importantly, it ran off eight seconds which guaranteed that the return would be the last play of the game.  If the 49ers had any return, they would have been able to throw a hail mary pass or, if they got a good return, would have been able to run a regular play.  By taking the safety, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh played the odds perfectly and set up the Ravens victory.

Bernard Pollard
One the first play of the game, Pollard re-broke six ribs.  According to the Ravens website, Pollard broke initially broke these six ribs one multiple occasions in the season.  The first three were broken when OLB Courtney Upshaw hit him during the week 2 game against Philadelphia.  Two more broke when CB Chykie Brown hit him in practice in November.  Lastly, Pollard broke the sixth when S Ed Reed hit him on the first play of the game in week 14 against Washington.

Pollard was able to play through the pain but he wasn't his normal self.  He looked weaker in pass coverage all game long.  Obviously, the injury isn't serious and he will be ready for next season with plenty of time to spare.

Haloti Ngata
Just like Pollard, Ngata got injured in the game.  However, Ngata's injury was more serious and, had a bigger impact on the game.  Ngata left the game with a knee injury and never returned.  It has been confirmed that Ngata only sprained his knee, so there will be no effect on his play next season.

In game, this effected the Ravens big time.  As soon as he went out with the injury, the 49ers were able to run the ball more effectively.  This is one of the reasons why the 49ers had much more success in the second half on offense then they did in the first. If Ngata, hadn't got injured the 49ers wouldn't have been able to run as well since Ngata is one of the top run stuffers in the NFL, let alone the Ravens best.

Underrated Play Of The Game
Certain plays like the touchdowns and the defensive stop at the end of the game get all the publicity but, there are still great plays that go unmentioned.  In this game, the underrated play of the game was a 3rd and 1 pass by the Ravens.

More specifically, it was a 3rd and 1 pass to WR Anquan Boldin with under nine minutes left.  Originally, the Ravens called for a run play but, Flacco audibled once he saw how the 49ers lined up on defense.  He called for a back shoulder fade to Boldin, who was in one-on-one coverage. On the route, Boldin was covered very well and it was a tough throw to make.  However, Flacco placed the ball perfectly and Boldin was able to hold on for the catch.

This play put the ball on the 49ers 40-yard line and one play later, the Ravens were in field goal range.  This field goal, by K Justin Tucker, put the Ravens up by five points with under five minutes left in the game.  If this pass is dropped or falls incomplete, the 49ers would only have been down two points, which means instead of having to score a touchdown at the end of the game, they would have only needed a field goal.

Underrated Player Of The Game
This goes to LG Kelechi Osemele.  I said, if the Ravens stop 49ers DE Justin Smith, they will win the trenches on offense.  Osemele did just that for the Ravens.  He was able to single team Smith which allowed more blockers to go to other pass rushers which neutralized the 49ers defensive front.

Player Of The Game
Last, is my player of the game award.  I think that the voters got this right when the gave it to Flacco.  He played an excellent game going 22-of-33 for 287 yards and threw 3 TDs.  Without Flacco's performance they wouldn't have won this game.  Coming into the game, the only real threat I saw to Flacco winning the award (if the Ravens won the game) was LB Ray Lewis.  If Lewis had a big impact on the game (i.e. forcing a big turnover), the voters might have given him the award because this was his last game in the NFL.
Runner Up:  WR/KR Jacoby Jones

Joe Flacco

Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco throws a pass.

Ravens Advance To Super Bowl XLVII

January 22, 2013 in Observations

In a rematch of last years AFC Championship Game, the Baltimore Ravens outlasted the New England Patriots by a score of 28-13.  At halftime the score was 13-7 to the Patriots.  Once the second half started the Ravens had a new offensive scheme, pass the ball.  This worked as it led to 21 second half points.  The defense rose to the occasion and shut the Patriots out in the second half.  In the first half, the Ravens were out played but, in the second half, the Ravens outplayed the Patriots.  Before this game, the Patriots had won 71 games in a row under head coach Bill Belichick when leading at half, including a 67-0 record when the quarterback is Tom Brady.  Now the Ravens will head to New Orleans to play in Super Bowl XLVII.  They will have the San Francisco 49ers who are coached by the brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh.  The game will take place on February 3rd and kickoff is at 6:29 pm Eastern time.

The Red Zone
The Ravens play in the red zone, on offense and defense, is what won them this game.  On offense, they made it to the red zone four times and, scored four touchdowns.  This offensive efficiency can make an offense almost unstoppable, as long as they can actually get to the red zone. On defense, they allowed the Patriots to make it in to the red zone four times but, they only scored one touchdown.  The Patriots also got to the Ravens 24 and 22-yard line but, the Ravens were able to force interceptions both times.  This red zone defense describes this years Ravens defense.  They are not the best in the league anymore however, once the other team makes it to the red zone, they dig in and stop the offense. It is very hard to lose a game when you have these two stats on your side.

Joe Flacco
For Flacco, it was almost like two different games.  In the first half, he went 6-of-12 for 81 yards with 0 TDs or INTs.  This isn't bad quarterbacking but, it also isn't how an elite one plays.  In the second half though, he went 15-of-24 for 159 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs.  For the game, he went 21-of-36 for 240 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs.  His QBR was 80.2 and his QB rating was 106.2 compared to Tom Brady's QBR of 45.1 and QB rating of 62.3.  Brady also threw 2 INTs.  So, for the third time in as many games, Flacco has outplayed Tom Brady and, two of these games have been the AFC Championship.

As stated above, the Ravens offensive strategy in the second half changed.  In the first half they had been doing a lot of run plays, especially on first down.  The offense just looked really conservative in the first half.  At halftime, there were some changes as the Ravens came out throwing in the second half.  In fact, Flacco accounted for 70% of the Ravens offense in the second half.  With this change, the offense started to move the ball.  Soon they had taken a 14-13 lead and they never looked back after that.

On to more game specific things, Flacco never really got the deep ball going as his longest completion of the game went for 26 yards to Anquan Boldin.  The lack of a deep passing game can be attributed to the weather as it was very windy on the field with the wind at around 20 mph if I remember correctly.  All of Flacco's touchdown passes were good but the one that stood out to me was the first to Anquan Boldin.  The first was a play action jump ball.  After the fake, Flacco threw the ball up where only Boldin could get it.  Flacco also had one rush attempt where he scrambled and picked up 14 yards and a first down.

Joe Flacco

Ravens QB Joe Flacco celebrates throwing one of his three touchdown passes against the Patriots.

Ray Rice
Starting with his performance in the passing game, Rice had 3 catches for 22 yards on 4 targets.  Of these three catches, two of them went for first downs.  The most memorable was a 15 yard screen pass.  The Patriots originally had the screen covered but, Rice got away and Flacco threw it.  Rice broke three tackles on his way to the first down.  Now to the run game.  While Rice had 19 rushes, he only ran for 48 yards which is an average of 2.5 yards per carry.  Three of these rushes went for first downs.  One was a 5 yard run that put the ball on the Patriots 2-yard line after he ran for eight yards the play before.  Another of his first downs was a short run on a 2nd and 2 which put the ball on the Patriots 3-yard line.  The last of his first downs was a 3rd and 1 run with five minutes left in the game which helped run more time off the clock.  Along with his 48 rush yards, Rice also had a rushing touchdown.  He only went for two yards but, he broke two tackles on the way.  The play called for Rice to run up the middle but, like most of the game, there wasn't running room in the middle.  So, Rice bounced the run outside to the left and scored. The only negative from Rice is he had a false start on a 3rd an 8 from the Ravens own 29-yard line.  This was early in the game so it can probably be accounted to nerves.

Bernard Pierce
While couldn't get much going on the ground, Pierce had much more success.  On 9 carries he had 52 yards.  Three of these carries went for first downs.  One of them was a 2nd and 5 run for nine yards which put the ball on the Patriots 22-yard line and another was a 3rd and 2 draw that he was able to bounce outside for a gain of eleven, the longest rush by any running back in the game.  Pierce also had 1 catch for 8 yards.  This also went for a first down; it was a 2nd and 8 swing pass that just barely was enough for the first.

Torrey Smith
Unlike the Denver game, Smith wasn't able to catch a deep pass but, he still had an impact on the game.  Most of his catches were in the intermediate range due to the wind.  He had 4 catches for 69 yards on 9 targets.  He had three of these go for first downs.  The first was a 25 yard catch on play action on a 2nd and 6 which put the Ravens on the Patriots 15-yard line.  The second was a 2nd and 14 conversion that went for 23 yards.  Lastly, he had a 16 yard catch on a first down.

Anquan Boldin
This was another record setting game for Boldin.  With his two touchdown catches, Boldin became the Ravens all-time postseason receiving touchdown leader.  He had 5 catches for 60 yards with 2 TDs on 8 targets.  All of these catches came in the second half and only one wasn't a first down or touchdown.  One of these first down catches was a 3rd and 9 for 26 yards and the other was on 2nd and 10 that put the ball on the Patriots 10-yard line.  Boldin's first touchdown was on the first play of the fourth quarter.  The other touchdown (the first was discussed with Flacco), was on a 2nd and 4 and was for 12 yards.  Boldin lined up in the slot and ran a seam route, Flacco threw it up and Boldin caught it for another touchdown.

Anquan Boldin

Ravens WR Anquan Boldin celebrates a touchdown with WRs Torrey Smith (left) and Jacoby Jones (right) nearby.

Dennis Pitta
For the second game in a row, Pitta had 55 receiving yards.  This week he did it on 5 catches with 7 targets.  Three of these catches went for first downs, one for a touchdown, and the other was in the red zone.  Starting with his first down catches, Pitta had a 3rd and 4 catch from deep in Ravens territory, a 2nd and 10 catch for a gain of over 20 yards, and a 2nd and 4 catch that put the ball on the Patriots 13-yard line.  His touchdown was on 2nd and goal from the 5-yard line and was a quick pass.  Lastly, his other catch occurred on the play before his touchdown.  It was first and goal from the ten and he went over the middle.  Pitta caught the ball and took a big hit but still was able to hold on to the ball.  On the negative side, Pitta had a diving catch go right through his hands on a 3rd and 8.

Offensive Line
Yet again, the offensive line performed great.  They only gave up two sacks for a combined loss of five yards which is nothing in terms of sack yardage.  The first sack was given up by LT Bryant McKinnie on a 3rd and 6 from inside the Ravens own 10-yard line. The other sack was more of a coverage sack and Flacco was starting to scramble so it wasn't really the fault of the offensive line.  It only went for a loss of one so it was basically a failed run play.  None of the offensive linemen were called for a penalty which is very impressive.  In the run game, they got some movement but for the most past, there never were any big holes to run through.  Of the offensive line can protect Flacco like this for one more game, they could be tough to beat in the Super Bowl.

Haloti Ngata
Ngata may have only had four tackles but, for a defensive lineman in a 3-4 defense, that is good.  One of these tackles was a run stop for no gain.  The part of the game that Ngata was the best at yesterday was rushing the passer.  Ngata finished with three of the Ravens seven QB hits (they didn't record a sack but seemed to have a fair amount of pressure).  On a 4th and 4 play from the Ravens 19-yard line, Ngata had pressure with Terrell Suggs which caused Brady to throw the ball away.  Once the Ravens made this stop, it seemed like the Ravens were going to win and make it to the Super Bowl.  This play is an attribute to Ngata's speed as Brady had an open field in front of him but didn't run because he probably wouldn't have made it.  Ngata also had pressure on another play which caused a throw away.  The last play where Ngata caused a throw away was with two minutes left.  Ngata had pressure which caused Brady to throw the ball away.

Pernell McPhee
So how does a defensive lineman without a tackle make it here?  Simple, deflect two passes (including one that leads to a touchdown) and say that you have discovered Tom Brady's flaw.  First, McPhee batted away a pass in the fourth quarter that Dannell Ellerbe was able to intercept. After this interception, with seven minutes left in the game, it seemed like the game really was over as the Patriots never got the ball back until there were two minutes left.  The other pass deflection came with under two minutes left in game.  On to him discovering Brady's flaw, McPhee says "He throws all of his balls low."  When asked about how Brady has been so successful despite this McPhee said "He just throws it fast and he always gets good pockets.  But I tried to stay in front of him after watching film and knowing where he likes to go and how he likes to do it.  So that was my best advantage, just get my hands up."  This strategy clearly worked for McPhee as he had his two pass deflections at the line.

Pernell McPhee

Ravens DE Pernell McPhee batted down two passes at the line-of-scrimmage.

Ray Lewis
As usual, Lewis recorded double digit tackles with 14 but, according to Pro Football Focus, only two of those were defensive stops (runs for little or no gain).  Lewis was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit which was the right call even though it was pretty obvious that he didn't mean to do it. Lastly, after the game, Lewis fell to the ground and started saying "Hallelujah."

Dannell Ellerbe
Starting with pass coverage, Ellerbe gave up three catches for one first down.  With about seven minutes left in the game, Ellerbe intercepted Brady off of McPhee's tip.  This came the next play after Wes Welker caught a 56 yard pass.  The last positive for Ellerbe was a pressure on Brady which caused a bad deep pass that ended up going out-of-bounds.  Also on this play, Ellerbe was able to take down Brady.  On the negative side Ellerbe was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty after slapping a Patriots offensive lineman when a play was over. Ellerbe was retaliating to a late block but, you can't do that in the NFL and he was flagged, even if his slap barely was anything.

Terrell Suggs
While Suggs is though of as a pass rusher, he is actually quite a good run defender and this was on full display yesterday.  Suggs had two run stops for no gain including one on a 2nd and 1.  In the pass rush department he wasn't able to record a sack (like all of the Ravens) but, still had at least two pressures.  The first was on the 4th and 4 with Haloti Ngata as already discussed.  The other was with under two minutes left where he hit Brady as he threw causing an incompletion.

Walking off the field, Suggs was overheard saying "Tell them to have fun at the Pro Bowl. Arrogant f—ers" and "These are the most arrogant pricks in the world starting with Belichick on down."  He also said "That's funny, ever since SpyGate they haven't been able to win" though I don't know if he said this one to reporters or if he was overheard like the other two.  He did respond to reporters saying "All BS aside they are a hell of a ball club … They have the right to be arrogant."  While he may believe this, there is no reason to say this but, on the positive side, he didn't come out and say it to the media, he was just overheard.  Either way, the Ravens don't need publicity like this, especially after these two controversial things about the Patriots.

Bernard Pollard
It seemed like Pollard was all over the field going full speed all night.  He finished with 9 tackles, 1 pass deflection, and 1 forced fumble.  In the run game, Pollard had a run stop for a gain of two yards.  In pass coverage, he only gave up one pass.  On a blitz he was able to bat down a pass at the line-of-scrimmage.  This batted pass came on 1st and goal from the Ravens two-yard line.  On a 3rd and 4 from the Ravens 19-yard line, he had great coverage and forced an incompletion.  Pollard had a big hit on a receiver but was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit.  However, he led with his shoulder on the play and his shoulder hit the receiver on his head so I am going to call this one a bad call.

Lastly is the play we all remember, his hit and forced fumble on Patriots RB Stevan Ridley.  Pollard hit Ridley hard and they both lowered their heads on the play so it was a helmet-to-helmet hit but since it was a running back it isn't a penalty.  Ridley was unconscious before he hit the ground and on his way down, the ball came out of his hands and was recovered by DT Arthur Jones.  Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said "That [Pollard's hit] was the turning point of the game. A tremendous hit, football at its finest."  This play goes in line with Pollard's history with the Patriots.  In 2008, it was Pollard that hit Brady when he tore his ACL.  In 2009, it was Pollard that Welker was trying to avoid when he tore his ACL.  In 2012, it was Pollard that injured Rob Gronkowski ankle which limited him in the Super Bowl.

Bernard Pollard

Ravens S Bernard Pollard goes in for a tackle.

Cary Williams
Williams had a solid performance last night only giving up four completions and one first down.  He also had a deflection on a 3rd and 2 that went right to Paul Kruger but, since the deflection took a weird bounce off of Williams, Kruger dropped it because he wasn't expecting the ball to come to him.  Lastly, Williams intercepted Brady in the end zone with 1:06 left in the game.  After this interception the Ravens just took a two knees and the game was over.

Corey Graham
Like Williams, Graham gave up four completions, however, three of his went for first downs and the other was for the Patriots only touchdown of the game.  The touchdown was on a 3rd and goal from the one.  After the play, Graham and Chykie Brown were upset because they didn't communicate well after the Patriots motioned a receiver over.  This led to Welker being open for the touchdown.  Graham was also beaten on the first drive on a 3rd and 2 but Welker dropped the pass.  On a pass that Welker didn't drop, Graham was beat deep for 56 yards.  He bit badly on the double move leaving Welker wide open.  Ending on a positive note, Graham had a run stop for a loss of one on a 3rd and 2 which forced a field goal by the Patriots.

Jimmy Smith
This game was the first time in a while that Smith received substantial playing time.  Brown started as the nickel corner and then Smith took it over.  By the end of the game it seemed like they were being rotated.  This could have been part of the game plan to put Graham on Welker instead of Brown doing that.  This would mean that Graham would be in the slot.  Since Smith is better on the outside than Brown, he would come in when in nickel.  This is just a speculation so it will be interesting to see who is the nickel corner in the Super Bowl.

John Harbaugh

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh celebrates the Ravens win in the locker room.

Dannell Ellerbe Questionable

January 19, 2013 in Injury Reports

Ravens

Dannell Ellerbe

Ravens starting ILB Dannell Ellerbe is questionable with ankle and back injuries.

Out
CB Asa Jackson (thigh)

Questionable
LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle and back)
FB Vonta Leach (knee and ankle)
RB Bernard Pierce (knee)
WR David Reed (thigh)

Probable
RB Anthony Allen (head)
WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder)
CB Chykie Brown (shoulder)
DT Terrence Cody (ankle)
C Gino Gradkowski (head)
DT Arthur Jones (thigh and knee)
LB Ray Lewis (triceps)
LB Albert McClellan (shoulder)
DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
S Bernard Pollard (chest)
S Ed Reed (shoulder)
CB Jimmy Smith (abdominal)
WR Torrey Smith (back)
LB Terrell Suggs (achilles and biceps)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

Patriots

*Note*  Earlier this week the Patriots placed TE Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve.

Probable
CB Marquice Cole (finger)
DE Chandler Jones (ankle)
OL Nick McDonald (shoulder)
DE Trevor Scott (knee)
RB Danny Woodhead (thumb)

All Ravens Probable

January 11, 2013 in Injury Reports

Ravens

*Note*  Earlier today the Ravens placed G Jah Reid on injured reserve and activated CB Asa Jackson.

Jah Reid

Earlier today the Ravens placed G Jah Reid on injured reserve.

Probable
WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder)
WR Tandon Doss (ankle)
LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle)
LB Adrian Hamilton (illness)
FB Vonta Leach (knee and ankle)
LB Ray Lewis (triceps)
LB Albert McClellan (shoulder)
DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
RB Bernard Pierce (knee)
S Bernard Pollard (chest)
S Ed Reed (shoulder)
WR David Reed (thigh)
CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen)
WR Torrey Smith (back)
LB Terrell Suggs (biceps and achilles)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

Broncos

Out
CB Tracy Porter (concussion)

Probable
WR Trindon Holliday (ankle)
OT Ryan Clady (shoulder)
S Jim Leonhard (thigh)
OT Orlando Franklin (knee)
S Mike Adams (knee)
G Chris Kuper (ankle)
WR Matt Willis (knee)

Ravens Advance To Face Broncos

January 7, 2013 in Observations

In a very emotional Wild Card matchup, the 4th seed Baltimore Ravens defeated the 5th seed Indianapolis Colts by a score of 24-9 in what was Ravens star LB Ray Lewis's last home game.  Lewis will retire at the end of the season.  With this win the Ravens final record at home when Lewis plays is an amazing 81-36-1.  That works out to be a winning percentage of .686, to put this in perspective that is an 11-5 record if it was for one season.  On the offensive side, the Ravens set a single-game playoff team record for total yards with 441.  This win marks the 5th straight year that the Ravens have made it to the divisional playoff round.  Next week the Ravens will travel to Denver to face the 1st seed Broncos on Saturday at 4:30 pm ET.

Joe Flacco
With the way the defense was playing today, Flacco did exactly what he had to do to win this game.  The defense may have allowed 419 yards but, they only allowed 9 points which made Flacco's job way easier.  All he had to do was not lose the game and, he did better than that. Completing 12-of-23 passes, Flacco threw for 282 yards, 2 TDs, a QBR of 89.5, and a QB rating of 125.6.  His 52 completion percentage may not look good but, he was able to throw for 282 yards on his 12 completion which is an average of 23.5 yards per completion.  Flacco did have an interception dropped early in the game but this was his worst play.  On his touchdown pass to Dennis Pitta, Flacco did a good job of escaping the pressure and finding Pitta.  Throughout the game, Flacco was able to throw the deep ball well and was lofting it in very well, especially to Anquan Boldin.

Ray Rice
This was a very uncharacteristic game for Ray Rice.  In the regular season, Rice only had one fumble and that was against the Steelers in week 11.  Against the Colts, Rice fumbled not once, but twice.  Both of these fumbles occurred inside Indianapolis territory, once at the 15 and the other at the 40.  Thankfully for the Ravens, and Rice, neither of the fumbles led to points for the Colts.  These fumbles led to backup Bernard Pierce being used more in the game than the gameplan probably called for.  Rice finished with 15 carries and Pierce had 13.  On Rice's 15 carries, he went for 70 yards.  In the passing game, Rice only had one catch on 4 targets but, it was a very important catch.  It was a screen pass that went for 47 yards and put the Ravens at the Colts 2-yard line with under 1 minute left in the 1st half.  On the next play, FB Vonta Leach ran in for the touchdown.  Overall, Rice will need to hold on to the ball if the Ravens want to make it far in the playoffs.

Ray Rice

Ravens RB Ray Rice fumbles the ball.

Bernard Pierce
Pierce was the beneficiary of Rice's fumbles.  These fumbles allowed Pierce to be in the game and, as usual, he made the most of it.  He ran for 103 yards on 13 carries with a long of 43 yards.  Of his 13 carries, 4 of them went for first downs.  One of these was a nice 18 yard run that put the Ravens inside the Colts 10-yard line.  His other great run was the 43 yarder.  It was a 3rd and 1 run to the right side.  he received a few good blocks and was off to the races.  With his play, Pierce keeps showing that he could be a starting running back in the NFL.

Torrey Smith
If you go by the box score, Smith didn't have much of an impact on the game but, in fact, he did have an impact.  The box score says he had 2 catches for 31 yards on 4 targets which is pretty uneventful.  One of these catches was for a first down and, it was a leaping catch for 22 yards. I still find it hard to see how he was able to jump high enough to catchup the ball.  Smith was able to get another first down by drawing a pass interference at the Colts 15-yard line.  Thats not all, Smith also had some good block, which is rare for a wide receiver.  On Rice's screen pass, Smith was blocking way downfield and had his guy engaged all the time until Rice passed him.  This downfield block allowed Rice to get to the 2-yard line.  The other good block by Smith came on Pitta's touchdown catch.  At around the 5-yard line, Smith blocked his man which allowed Pitta to get into the endzone.

Anquan Boldin
One word to describe Boldin's performance: record-setting.  Ok that may be cheating but, he still had a great game.  Before the game, Boldin felt he was going to have a great game.  He went up to Flacco and said he felt like 200 yards today.  How big of a day did Boldin have?  Well, he set the Ravens single-game receiving playoff record with 145 yards.  This 100 yard game is only the 3rd time a Ravens receiver has gone over 100 yards in the playoff.  The last Ravens receiver to do this?  Anquan Boldin.  All of his 145 yards came in the 2nd half of the game despite having 2 targets in the 1st half.  These 145 yards in the 2nd half are the most in the playoffs since Jerry Rice had 157 in Super Bowl XXIII.  Boldin had 5 catches for those 145 yards which is an average of 29 yards per catch.  Of these 5 catches, 4 went for first downs, and the other went for a touchdown.  One catch was on a 3rd and 19.  Boldin went deep and caught a 50 yard pass.  He ran an out and up on another play for 46 yard where Flacco placed the ball perfectly over Boldin's shoulder.  Boldin's touchdown catch was for 19 yards.  It was a jump ball and the cornerback had his hand on the ball but, Boldin still corralled the ball.

After the game, Boldin said "I just wanted to go out and give everything,” Boldin said. “I think everyone in this locker room wanted to make sure this wasn’t our last game. I think we all have a goal in mind and we’re focused in on that goal. The only way we’re going to get there is if we go out there and give our all on the field."  He also said "I was real motivated [today],” Boldin said. “I’ve said it before, I came to Baltimore to win a championship. That’s my goal."

Anquan Boldin

Ravens WR Anquan Boldin goes up for a pass that he will catch for a touchdown.

Tight Ends
While both tight ends for the Ravens may have combined for 3 catches, all of these catches were important.  Lets start with the starter, Dennis Pitta.  He had 2 catches for 27 yards.  One of his catches was a 7 yard first down.  The other was a 20 yard crossing route that went for a touchdown.  Ed Dickson only had 1 catch for 24 yards.  This catch was the Ravens first, first down of the game and got the Ravens rolling on offense.

Offensive Line
Overall, the offensive line played well, especially when you consider the Ravens never used this line during the regular season.  Due to starting LG Jah Reid being out, the line go shuffled up.  Normal RT Kelechi Osemele went to LG, normal LT Michael Oher went to RT, and Bryant McKinnie came in at LT.  The line only allowed 1 sack for a loss 13 yards.  On this play, the pass rusher was never blocked on a play action pass.

On Pierce's 18 yard run, both C Matt Birk and RG Marshal Yanda had great blocks.  Yanda pushed his man 10 yards downfield and Birk probably blocked his man 7 yards downfield.  Yanda also had a great block on Pierce's 43 yard run.  Pierce ran behind him and Yanda blocked his man down (to his left).  Along with Oher's great block to the outside, this springed Pierce for the big gain.

Speaking of Oher, that play was probably his best of the game, as the rest goes downfield.  He twice allowed pressure which caused Flacco to throw the ball away.  Penalty wise, he was only called for one.  It was a 2nd and 10 on the Colts 15-yard line and Oher was called for a false start.

McKinnie had a great game.  He played good enough to question what the line will look like next week.  Obviously is Reid can't play, it will stay like this.  If Reid can play, it will be interesting to see if the coaches go with this line because it played so good or if they go with the normal line.

Paul Kruger
One word to describe Kruger's performance: domination.  Recently, Kruger has been on fire and the playoffs did nothing to stop that.  With his 2.5 sacks yesterday, Kruger now has 10 sacks in his last 9 games after only getting 1.5 in his first 7 games.  These 2.5 sacks don't give enough credit to Kruger for how he played.  There were two other instances when Kruger failed to bring down Andrew Luck for a sack.  After the first time this happened, Kruger made up for it later in the drive with his first sack.  It was a 3rd and 5 on Ravens territory on the drive after Rice's first fumble.  Kruger was able to knock the ball out of Luck's hands.  Pernell McPhee was then able to recover the fumble.  His next sack was his half sack were he split it with Corey Graham for a loss of 6.  Finally, his last sack was on a 3rd and 10 where he just ran right past the offensive lineman.  This was for a loss of 8.  If this isn't enough, Kruger had pressure on almost every pass play, and finished with an amazing 5 QB hits, exactly half of the Ravens total for the game.  On one of the few plays that Kruger dropped into pass coverage, he was able to knock down a pass.  The only negative note for Kruger was an offsides penalty on a 2nd and 10.  The Ravens will let this slip though due to his amazing performance, whats even more impressive is both of his solo sacks came on 3rd down.

Ray Lewis
I think it was fitting for the Ravens to not give up a touchdown in Lewis's final home game.  He will be remembered for being a great defensive player and for leading one of the greatest defenses ever.  Therefore, giving up no touchdowns is the perfect end.  It is also fitting that Lewis led the team with 13 tackles.  He played all 87 snaps and had one great play that made everyone remember what made him great.  On the snap, Lewis knifed through the offensive line an stopped the running back for a loss of 1.  This is exactly the type of play Lewis would make all the time a few years ago.  In pass coverage, Lewis allowed four first downs on four passes.  He was also helped out by a dropped pass.  One play that he will never live down was his dropped interception.  Haloti Ngata tipped the ball at the line-of-scrimmage and it went right to Lewis.  Somehow, the ball hit Lewis right in the hands but he wasn't able to catch it.  After the game, he blamed his arm brace for the drop.  But, this game wasn't about his performance.  It was about his last game in Baltimore.  To give out one last memory, Lewis went in on the final kneel down of the game.  This marked the first offensive play he has ever taken part of.  Even better, after the snap, Lewis did his introduction dance for one last time in the middle of the field.  You can see his final introduction here and the dance at the end of the game here.

Ray Lewis

Ravens LB Ray Lewis does his pre-game dance for the last time.

Dannell Ellerbe
Over the course of the season, Ellerbe has shown he is a great blitzer, and nothing changed yesterday.  On a 3rd and 7, Ellerbe flushed Luck out of the pocket on a blitz.  Luck had to try and run for the first down and he was stopped well short.  The next example of this was on a 2nd and 10. His pressure forced Luck to try and throw the ball away.  Since the ball didn't make it back to the line-of-scrimmage, Luck was flagged for intentional grounding.  This caused a loss of down, loss of 16 yards, and took 10 seconds off the clock because there was only 22 seconds left in the half.  Lastly, Ellerbe blitzed on a run play and tackled the running back for a loss of 2 yards.

Cary Williams
Williams only gave up 3 catches yesterday but, 2 of them were for first downs.  The first was a 3rd and 4 which put the Colts near midfield.  The other first down completion was much more important.  It was the play after Ellerbe forced the intentional grounding.  The penalty put the Colts out of field goal range.  As they were just on the edge of field goal range before, they needed to get about 25 yards to get a field goal.  This is exactly what Williams allowed setting up a 52 yard field goal which Adam Vinatieri made.  On the positive side, Williams had an interception on a 4th and 1 very late in the game.  Corey Graham tipped the pass and Williams was there to catch it.  However, on the return, Williams was chased down by Luck which has to be embarrassing.

Corey Graham
As stated above, Graham tipped a pass on a 4th and 1 inside the Ravens 20-yard line with time running down.  Other than this, Graham also had a half sack with Kruger for a loss of 6 yards.  Graham allowed 3 passes for 1 first down.  The one first down was for about 20 yards with 30 seconds left in the 1st half.

Ray Lewis (52) Jacoby Jones (12) Torrey Smith (82)

Ravens LB Ray Lewis does his dance for one last time after the game while teammates Jacoby Jones (12) and Torrey Smith (82) look on.

Chykie Brown
The two most memorable plays for Brown were penalties, never a good sign.  He was called for an illegal contact on a 2nd and 10.  The other penalty was on a punt return.  He was called for a hold which lost the Ravens 16 yards.  On defense, he gave up 1 pass for 1 first down.

Ed Reed
Even Ed Reed got into the pass rushing.  He blitzed on a 3rd and 9 and tipped a pass on the Colts first drive.  Just like his good friend Lewis, Reed dropped an interception.  Luck was under pressure and just trying to throw the ball away but he never saw Reed.  Reed jumped in front of the receiver.  He did everything right, except catch the ball, which is kind of important.  He just straight up dropped it.  It was a diving catch but, the Ed Reed of a few years ago makes the play.

Bernard Pollard
Just like Brown, Pollard was called for two penalties but, these two are a little more controversial.  The first was a "blow to the head of a receiver."  On this play, you can clearly see that Pollard led with his shoulder.  Its not like his shoulder hit the receiver either.  His shoulder hit the receiver in the arm and chest.  The only part of Pollard to touch the receiver's head was his facemask and the facemask barely grazed the helmet of the receiver.  This is just another example of the bad helmet-to-helmet calls throughout the NFL right now.  On the next play, Pollard was called for a taunting penalty after the play against the Colts bench.  After the game, Pollard said a Colts assistant cursed at him and then a player shoved him.  While the Colts shouldn't have done this, Pollard shouldn't have reacted.  After each of these two plays, the stadium united with more "bulls***."  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the video this time.  Other than penalties, Pollard broke up two key passes.  The first was a 3rd an 2 play where the Colts receiver already had the first down but was hit right away by Pollard.  The receiver dropped the ball and it was ruled that he never had full possession of it.  The other play stopped another first down.  Pollard also finished with 4 tackles.

Ray Lewis

Ravens LB Ray Lewis takes a victory lap to thank the fans after the game.

Ray Lewis Probable

January 5, 2013 in Injury Reports

Ravens

Questionable
WR Tandon Doss (ankle)
S Bernard Pollard (chest)
OT Jah Reid (toe)

Ray Lewis

Ravens LB Ray Lewis is probable in his last home game.

Probable
LB Ray Lewis (triceps)
RB Anthony Allen (head)
TE Billy Bajema (head)
WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder)
LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle)
CB Chris Johnson (thigh)
DE Arthur Jones (thigh)
FB Vonta Leach (knee and ankle)
LB Albert McClellan (shoulder and thigh)
DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
OT Kelechi Osemele (knee)
RB Bernard Pierce (ankle)
S Ed Reed (shoulder)
CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen)
WR Torrey Smith (knee)
LB Terrell Suggs (biceps)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder and knee)

Colts

Out
G Joe Reitz (head)

Questionable
S Tom Zbikowski (knee)
OT Winston Justice (shoulder)
RB Delone Carter (ankle)
C A.Q. Shipley (knee)
NT Antonio Johnson (ankle)

Probable
LB Robert Mathis (no injury)
C Samson Satele (ankle)
LB Pat Angerer (illness)
LB Jerrell Freeman (thumb)
QB Andrew Luck (knee)
CB Teddy Williams (knee)
LB Dwight Freeney (no injury)
DT Kellen Heard (illness)
OT Bradley Sowell (illness)
DE Cory Redding (quadriceps)

Ray Lewis To Retire

January 2, 2013 in News

Just a few minutes ago, news broke that Baltimore Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis, will retire at the end of this season.

Lewis informed the team of his decision in a team meeting this morning.  He told them that "this will be my last ride."

In the Ravens week 6 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, Lewis tore his triceps muscle in his right arm.  After the game he was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list.  On December 5th, the 17 year veteran returned to practice and last week he was added to the active roster so he can play in the playoffs.

There is no word yet on if he plays against the Colts on Sunday.  Even Lewis won't say if he will play, he only said "I'm on the active roster." However, unless the Ravens make the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday will be his last home game.  Expect Lewis to play, even if it is on a limited basis because you know he will not want to miss this moment.

The Ravens will play their hearts out to get Lewis to one last Super Bowl.  Safety Bernard Pollard said "We are trying to get to Louisiana, we want to send Ray out right."  He also added "We owe Ray, we owe the city of Baltimore, we owe these coaches.  We need to find it."

This may sound a little weird but, I think the Ravens just got a whole lot more dangerous in the playoffs.

Ray Lewis

Ravens star LB Ray Lewis has announced he will retire once the season is over.

Anquan Boldin Questionable

December 29, 2012 in Injury Reports

Baltimore Homepage

Ravens

Anquan Boldin

Ravens starting WR Anquan Boldin is questionable after leaving last week's game with a shoulder injury.

Questionable
WR Anquan Boldin (shoulder)
G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)
DE Arthur Jones (thigh)
WR Tandon Doss (ankle)
DE Haloti Ngata (knee)
FB Vonta Leach (ankle)
LB Albert McClellan (shoulder)

Probable
LB Dannell Ellerbe (ankle)
DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
S Bernard Pollard (chest)
WR Jacoby Jones (ankle)
S Ed Reed (shoulder)
TE Dennis Pitta (knee)
CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen)
LB Terrell Suggs (biceps)

Bengals

Out
K Mike Nugent (calf)

Questionable
CB Jason Allen (hamstring)
CB Terence Newman (groin)

Probable
S Reggie Nelson (shoulder)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness)
CB Adam Jones (hamstring)