Ravens feeling fine as challenging task awaits in Foxborough

January 16, 2012 | Luke Jones

Ravens feeling fine as challenging task awaits in Foxborough

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens turn the page to their 20-13 win over Houston and look ahead to Foxborough and the AFC championship game, they once again appear to have health on their side despite a physical fight against the Texans.

Coach John Harbaugh provided a similar prognosis for free safety Ed Reed’s injured ankle to what was offered following Sunday’s game. Reed told reporters Sunday his left ankle was not a concern after turning it on the final defensive play of the game.

“Ed looks like he’s alright with the ankle,” Harbaugh said. “Everything’s coming up OK as far as the x-rays.”

The prognosis is certainly good news as the Ravens prepare to face the NFL’s “most explosive offense” in Harbaugh’s words.

Though Reed being helped to the sideline certainly provided a scare, the Ravens are in good shape elsewhere with linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) and Jameel McClain having both played on Sunday after being game-time decisions. Ayanbadejo did not see much action defensively while McClain split time with Dannell Ellerbe at linebacker.

“We really got through [the game] it very well,” Harbaugh said. “The two toughest ones were Brendon and Jameel, and they fought through theirs. They were right to the last minute decisions, and they came out of it OK.”

Right tackle Michael Oher had his knee wrapped following the game, and defensive tackle Arthur Jones limped off the field with an apparent leg injury at one point, but neither injury was considered serious enough to report following Sunday’s game.

“Nothing serious [with them],” Harbaugh said. “I haven’t been told anything yet.”

Evans sighting

In an otherwise lackluster afternoon for the Ravens’ passing game, wide receiver Lee Evans provided an acrobatic one-handed catch on a third-down play to give Baltimore a first-and-goal at the Texans’ 9-yard line.

The Ravens failed to score on the possession after they were stymied on fourth down from the Houston 1, but the reception by Evans provided a glimpse of what the organization expected after trading a fourth-round pick to Buffalo for him in the preseason. Harbaugh also hopes it’s a sign of things to come for the remainder of the postseason.

“Lee’s huge for us. We would’ve liked for Lee to have been involved, obviously, all the way through,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something that we will like to see as we go forward here trying to get that done, and we’re not going to stop trying to get that done. Seeing that play get made, you get kind of excited. He’s certainly capable of making those plays; we’ve seen him make them his whole career. I think it brought a smile to everybody’s face. We’ll be looking forward to more of that.”

After missing seven games with an injured left ankle, Evans posted only four receptions for 74 yards despite entering the season as the Ravens’ No. 2 receiver on the depth chart.

Carr still in Ravens’ plans

With Ayanbadejo and McClain the only question marks on the Ravens’ injury report entering Sunday’s game, it was surprising to find veteran cornerback Chris Carr’s name on the list of inactives against the Texans.

Battling hamstring and back injuries that sidelined him for seven games this season, Carr has slid down the depth chart behind starters Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams as well as rookie Jimmy Smith, who enters the game in the nickel package. With Houston limited in the passing game, the Ravens elected to activate cornerback Danny Gorrer for his special teams prowess, leaving Carr as the odd man out in the divisional playoff.

Carr started all 16 games for the Ravens a season ago after Domonique Foxworth suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp and Lardarius Webb was coming off an ACL injury of his own.

“Chris is a big part of what we’re doing, especially when we play teams that throw the ball a lot, so that could be a big factor this week,” Harbaugh said. “We put the extra [defensive] lineman up this week because of the type of offense we were playing, and then special teams were a part of that decision, too.”

With New England owning the second-ranked passing game in the league, the Ravens will need all hands on deck to contain the Patriots as much as possible. Though his 5-foot-10 frame certainly won’t help against the likes of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, it’s a good bet Carr fits into defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s plans for certain passing situations on Sunday.

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