The kudos for the continued brilliance of Ed Reed and the poise of Joe Flacco permeated the Ravens locker room following today’s big win over the Dolphins here in Miami. Other than the defensive breakdowns on the late third-quarter drive that nearly got the Fish back into the game, it was a day of celebrations, high fives and memories of what a January run feels like.
The Ravens punished the Fins in the first half and only let up long enough to wait for another turnover. No play was bigger than the botched handoff to Ted Ginn, which sealed the fate of Miami and propelled the Ravens back to a second-round playoff matchup on the Cumberland River in Nashville at 4:30 this Saturday.
As you know, our buses are filling up fast. You can book you trip here. We will also be announcing a major indoor tailgate party/pep rally in downtown Nashville for Saturday morning for all visiting purple fans. To show his support for the purple contingent on the road, head coach John Harbaugh visited with the fans as he exited the field in Miami this afternoon and went out of his way to praise the road warriors, many of whom drove the 17 hours down to South Florida and have a lot of highway in front of them tomorrow en route back to Baltimore. I met many of these people in my travels today and they will be featured in my Miami videos on wnsTV tomorrow.
There will be plenty of time to dissect today’s game and to preview an epic matchup in Nashville this week. But for now, I’m exhausted, giddy and pretty “speechless” when it comes to the accomplishments of this team this season.
The one thing that struck me in talking to so many players after the game was the fact that it was the FIRST playoff win for many, many Ravens-drafted players in this organization. Only Ray Lewis, Matt Stover and Todd Heap were with the team in Miami in Jan. 2002, the last time the Ravens won a postseason game. Virtually every long-time player — from Ed Reed to Terrell Suggs to Haloti Ngata to Jason Brown — mentioned how special it was to finally win a playoff game. For some like Trevor Pryce, Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason, it was their first win in January in purple as well but all have had substantial success with Denver and Tennessee.
It’s been a pretty special year and as bad as 2008 sucked, it appears that 2009 is off to a helluva start.
All aboard for Nashville…