What a great game and a great win for the Ravens yesterday. The entire team played well yesterday. Special teams, offense, and especially the defense all did what they had to do yesterday. The play of the game was definitely Ed Reed’s interception for a touchdown in the waning minutes of the second quarter. The media is saying that he is possibly the best “centerfielder” ever to play in the NFL. He sure did look like a centerfielder when he made that first interception didn’t he? Ed better be the Defensive Player of the Year with how great of a year he is producing.
The other big play of the game was when the Ravens’ defense caused the fumble during the Dolphins end-around play. The fumble caused a 19 yard loss for the Dolphins, put them out of field-goal range, caused them to punt it away, and the punt resulted in a 15 yard penalty against the Dolphins for interfering with the fair catch. These sequences of events helped lead to the final touchdown drive by the Ravens to finally put the game away.
So many good things came out of this game. One important thing I saw was that this Ravens team plays with heart and plays hard for the entire 60 minutes. They also do not allow themselves to feel as though they are above their competition. A lot of people in the media chose the Ravens to win this game and the impressive part was that they came out and did what they needed to do even with the extra motivation that was given to the Dolphins with how everyone was talking about the Ravens.
Joe “Cool” Flacco did great in his first playoff game. Granted his stats were off the charts, but he did what he needed to do. Also, if some of those deep passes were caught and if Todd Heap did not drop that touchdown, his stats on the day would be turned completely around. It just amazes me as to the poise and confidence that he brings to the field each and every week. And if you listened to his post-game comments, you would have thought that the guy was a 10 year vet.
There were two great hits laid out in the game. The first was the hit that Bart Scott put on Pennington when he threw his first pick that Leonhard caught…I mean “BOOM!!” And then there was the block that Ngata put on little Ted Ginn Jr. during Reed’s run back for the touchdown. The hit that Ngata put on Ronnie Brown that caused him to flip in the air was also pretty sweet.
What was your favorite part of yesterday’s game??
Now to my point that the Ravens’ win yesterday was all thanks to Brett Favre. Let’s break it down:
After Brett came back from being retired for his 4th time, he was traded to the New York Jets. In order to make room on the Jets roster for the trade, the Jets released Chad Pennington. Pennington was then picked up by the Miami Dolphins and made their starting quarterback. The Jets weren’t going to go anywhere with Pennington at the helm and the Dolphins weren’t going to go anywhere with John Beck or whoever they put out there in the QB position. But with Favre in New York, they won games they would not have won without him like the overtime win in Foxborough against the Patriots. Without Pennington, the Dolphins would have been lucky to win 4 games this season. Pennington’s 97.1 QB rating, the highest rating ever in Dolphin history (better than Marino), and his veteran poise is what made them win 8 out of their last 9 games. And finally, if it was not for Chad Pennington passing like a mad man against the Jets and Brett Favre completing passes to the Dolphins defense in the last game of the regular season, then the Ravens would have had to have traveled to Foxborough to face the Patriots instead of traveling south to Miami to play the Dolphins…and I’d rather the Ravens face any team other than the one coached by Bill Belichick (or QB’d by Peyton Manning).
So as many of you know I was not a fan of how Brett Favre made his infamous return back to the NFL after his retirement this past summer. But looking back now and seeing what all transpired because of it, I want to thank Brett Favre for the chaos he created and the pieces he put in place so that the Ravens could win and lay the lumbar down on the Miami Dolphins yesterday.
On a different note I finally had time yesterday after watching the Eagles-Vikings game to watch the re-mastering of the 1958 Colts-Giants Championship game that ESPN put together. I was so excited to watch it and to be able to see interviews with such greats as Artie Donovan, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore, and many others. But following the elegant introduction by Chris Berman about this historic game, my stomach dropped to the ground. It wasn’t a regular documentary where the players speak about their experiences to the camera, no of course not; this is ESPN we are talking about here. Instead, the legends were sitting next to someone who in turn interviewed them, like Mike Tirico, Michael Smith, and also current New York Giant and Indianapolis Colt players. I almost lost my dinner as I saw Dwight Freeney and Adam Vinatieri sitting across from the greats that played in that game asking them what it was like to play in that game and what that game meant to them.
There is the argument that us here in Baltimore should no longer care about the Colts move from Baltimore to Indianapolis especially people around my age who did not grow up with the Colts. That argument lays no foundation here. I remember listening to the overtime play-by-play of the Greatest Game Ever Played when I was in grade school. I was so proud to listen to that game, to hear how our Baltimore Colts went up to Yankee Stadium and beat the Giants. There was no football team in Baltimore when I heard the game but it created a sense of tradition and pride in my city and its football team for the kind of history we paved for the NFL here in Baltimore. I remember after listening to the overtime radio play-by-play I became enthralled in football. Listening to that game and hearing what Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, and all of those men did out on that field that day…made me into the diehard Baltimore football fan that I am today.
Now, to grow up with the knowledge and pride of what that team did 50 years ago made me so irate when I saw Indianapolis Colts players interviewing former Baltimore Colts. Of course I know that when the Colts left that Irsay also brought with him all the statistics, honors, and championships with him. But to power up my DVR and watch as players from Indianapolis speak to and ask questions to men that are idolized and held in such high regards here truly put into perspective how hard it must have been, and still is, for some here in Baltimore to have the Colts leave.
For those that are too young to know this, here is a fact that will make any Baltimore sports fan upset. In 1986 the City and the Indianapolis Colts came to a settlement that all of the lawsuits against the Colts in regards to their relocation would be dropped. As a result of the lawsuits being dropped, Irsay and the Colts would endorse and support a new NFL franchise for Baltimore to replace the Colts. In addition, Irsay agreed to return the Colts heritage (i.e. history, championships, name) back to Baltimore if and when the city received another NFL team. After Irsay received his settlement, he never followed up with his side of the bargain. He never did support or endorse an expansion team for Baltimore and also, apparently after the city spoke to Art Modell to move the Browns to Baltimore, Irsay asked for over $50 million dollars to give back the Colts’ heritage to the City. So the next time a Browns fan tells you Baltimore stole their team, let them know how lucky they are that Mr. Modell left the Browns name and heritage in Cleveland. And the next time an Indianapolis Colts fan tells you to get over how the Colts left Baltimore, tell them that it will cost him $50 million dollars.
Baltimore is a town of great sports traditions. The best sports fans are found here in this city and its surrounding areas. History and heritage thrives with our professional sports teams. The Orioles have their 3 World Series Championships and their dominance of the American League in the 60’s and 70’s. The Colts and their fabled years here with their Super Bowl V win and of course the 1958 Championship game. Today we have the Ravens who are paving their own piece of sports history with their dominant defense and winning ways. On the other spectrum we have the Orioles who have been sputtering for the past 11 years and an embarrassment to MLB thus creating a not so memorable piece of history. But it seems the tides are turning for them and I hope that in the next few years the Orioles will return to the competent and competitive team that they were known for as they were during that long period of time.
The Ravens played amazing yesterday and deserve all the credit and respect for how they beat a capable Miami team. Next is the Tennessee Titans…and boy oh boy, this is going to be a tough game. I don’t think the Ravens are going to be able to come away with a win this Saturday afternoon. But I’ve been wrong before, and if I am wrong and the Ravens win…well then, I don’ t ever want to be right.
Remember the last time we had to go through Tennessee for a divisional game? I think the year was 2000. And how much of a kind of poetic justice would it be if this Baltimore team was to meet up with that same particular New York team again in another festivus maximus event…only 50 years later??
Oh and this last remark goes out to Chris Berman and Tom Jackson…the bandwagon is full guys. And if there was space for the two of you, you’d both be kicked off the wagon faster than you can say, “back, back, back, back…gone!!”
Sayonara Bmore…Go Ravens!!