Tag Archive | "Andrew Luck"

Nothing lucky about it — the kid QB in Indy is a stud

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Nothing lucky about it — the kid QB in Indy is a stud

Posted on 06 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

Musings from a sports-filled weekend –

A friend of mine sent me a text on Friday morning and asked me to give him the winner of the PGA Tour event in Hawaii.  After quizzing him on why he didn’t text me the day before (Thursday is the traditional start day for a pro tournament, but they’re playing this one Friday through Monday), I quickly shot him back the name of the winner:  ”Take Jordan Spieth” I texted.

Lots of people over the last decade and a half have wondered when the next young gun would come along to challenge the likes of Tiger Woods.  A lot of names have surfaced, some have completely fizzled, some have made some money, but none – make that NONE – have come close to being as good as Woods.  College golf hotshots come and go like the breeze.  These guys – among others – were going to be the guy to challenge Woods: Luke Donald (has as many major titles as you, me and your neighbor’s cat), Troy Matteson (who?), Ryan Moore (nice hat), Jamie Lovemark (still looking for a win) and Rickie Fowler (sharp dresser, can’t win a big one).

But wait…because someone HAS showed up — and he WILL challenge Woods and all of those big wigs on the PGA Tour.

His name is Jordan Spieth.

Win or lose today in Hawaii (he’s tied for the lead through 54 holes), he’s the one “kid” that’s come along who has staying power.  He’s an all-world putter, which means he can win on any given week.  He drives it like a maniac and stripes his irons. Once he spends an off-season or two learning some short game wizardy like Woods and Phil Mickelson, he’ll be the guy everyone tries to beat well into the next decade.

He’ll finish with more career major titles than Mickelson.

Oh, and I’m opening up my own Fantasy Golf tips business.  It’s $2.75 for a “regular event” and $6.50 for a major.

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There’s nothing else new to say about Towson football that hasn’t been said already, either on Twitter, Facebook or here, at WNST.net.

Rob Ambrose has turned Towson football into a championship program, despite getting beat in the FCS title game on Saturday, 35-7.  That’s it.  His first two years, they won three games total.  Saturday in Frisco, Texas, they played for the national championship.

Amazing.

They’ll be back…and they’ll win one of those championships.

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Two takes from Saturday night’s Caps loss in Minnesota.

Those sweaters the Wild wore were freaking sharp.  I need one of those.  Holy cow.

Next — the Caps aren’t very good.  They need some offense. Big time.  They CREATE chances.  Chances galore.  But they can’t finish them off.

They’ll make the playoffs, but don’t be saving up your money for a cross country trip to Anaheim for the Stanley Cup Finals.  Ain’t happenin’, Caps fans.

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By the way, Martin Erat of the Caps has one goal in 48 games over two seasons for the Caps.

One goal.

If I had played in 48 games, even now at the tender age of 50, I’d have two goals.

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Florida State gets a visit from the Cleat of Reality tonight in the national championship game.

Auburn 34 – Florida State 28

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Gotta tip your hat to Andrew Luck for what he pulled off on Saturday in Indianapolis.

The kid’s a freakin’ big-time player.

Let’s see what he does on Saturday in New England against the genius coach up there.

 

 

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Colts

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Colts

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 24-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in an AFC Wild Card playoff game…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Pernell McPhee recovers Andrew Luck fumble after Paul Kruger sack, strip (1st quarter)

4. Anquan Boldin 46 yard catch from Joe Flacco (3rd quarter)

3. Cary Williams intercepts Andrew Luck pass intended for Reggie Wayne, returns 41 yards (4th quarter)

2. Ray Rice 47 yard catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

1. Bernard Pierce 43 yard run on 3rd & 1 (4th quarter)

 

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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A four-part summary of an easy Ravens win over Indy

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A four-part summary of an easy Ravens win over Indy

Posted on 06 January 2013 by Drew Forrester

If you’re looking for some points-of-light besides the Ray Lewis story, I’ll go ahead and give you some.  I’m sure everyone else in the media will handle the Ray-retirement angle, so I’ll look back at Sunday’s 24-9 whipping of Indianapolis and give you four different things on which to chew.

Not in any order of importance, mind you, but here’s what happened on Sunday.

The stage was too big for Luck

Sure, he threw for a handful more yards (six) than Joe Flacco.  He also had thirty-one more attempts.  Yes, you read that right.  The kid had 288 yards on 54 attempts while his opponent in purple was an effective 12-for-23 for 282 yards.  Luck’s QB rating was woeful (59.8) while Flacco’s was superb (125.6).

Simply put, Andrew Luck wasn’t very good on Sunday afternoon.

Now, let’s note right from the start that his offensive line was horrendous.  And that’s being kind.

But the golden boy from Stanford – the likely Rookie of the Year in the NFL – was hardly a threat all afternoon, particularly in the first half when he looked completely rattled.  His deep balls had too much air under them and his inability to sniff out pressure led to far too many scrambles and errant throws.  Luck did settle down in the second half and was a tad better, but years from now he’ll look back on this performance and wince at how rookie-ish he looked for most of the day.

He’ll have plenty of big games in his career, but Sunday’s outing in Baltimore surely wasn’t one of them.

McKinnie steps in and steps up

With left guard Jah Reid out, John Harbaugh was forced to shuffle his offensive line on Sunday, and the emergency nod went to veteran Bryant McKinnie, who played left tackle in place of Michael Oher, who was switched to right tackle so that Kelechi Osemele could sub for Reid at right guard.  Get it?  McKinnie was the big benefactor of the Reid injury, and the Ravens prospered as well, as the big man put together a nice afternoon protecting Joe Flacco.

A week ago in Cincinnati, McKinnie saw extensive playing time in the final three quarters and to say he looked disinterested would be like saying Ray Lewis looked “sort of” fired up for Sunday’s home finale.

McKinnie has spent most of the 2012 season on the bench.  He’s also spent most of the season out-of-shape, overweight and, when pressed into duty, he’s been largely ineffective, no pun intended.

But Harbaugh got him to break a sweat last week in practice when Reid wasn’t able to suit up and the 5th year coach rolled the dice that his veteran left tackle might actually try in the Colts game.

It was a gamble, of course, for Harbaugh saw just one week before in Cincinnati that McKinnie’s series-by-series effort was basically a coin flip.

But the decision worked out for the coach and the offense, as McKinnie stood up to Dwight Freeney for four quarters and kept Flacco upright virtually all day long.

(Please see next page)

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Ravens-Colts: Five predictions for wild-card Sunday

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Ravens-Colts: Five predictions for wild-card Sunday

Posted on 05 January 2013 by Luke Jones

The Ravens meet the Indianapolis Colts in the postseason for the third time ever on Sunday and will be looking for their first playoff triumph over the franchise that used to play in Baltimore.

Of course, the Colts no longer enjoy the services of Peyton Manning for this playoff matchup as the future Hall of Fame quarterback broke Baltimore’s heart to end its 2006 and 2009 seasons. Indianapolis has begun a new era this year with rookie head coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano providing the inspiration in beating leukemia as the Colts made the playoffs with a rookie quarterback and an 11-5 record after last season’s 2-14 disaster.

The Ravens already had plenty of incentive in advancing to their fifth postseason in five years under coach John Harbaugh, but Wednesday’s announcement that future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis intends to retire after the season almost made the game an afterthought in the buildup this week. It figures to be a scene unlike any other in the history of Baltimore sports as Lewis walks out of the tunnel to not only play in his first game since Week 6 but also perform his decorated pre-game dance for the final time.

Indianapolis leads the all-time regular-season series with a 7-3 record and owns a 2-0 mark over the Ravens in the postseason while Baltimore looks to improve on its NFL-best mark of winning at least one playoff game in each of the last four seasons. The Ravens are the only team in the league to advance to the postseason in each of the last five years.

Here’s what to expect as the AFC North champion Ravens attempt to exorcise some demons against Indianapolis at M&T Bank Stadium …

1. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce will combine for 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Indianapolis has played abysmal run defense this season and allows an average of 5.1 yards per carry, good for 31st in the league. This was on full display in Week 16 when the Colts allowed 345 rushing yards in a win over Kansas City. The Colts do not have a good front seven as its defensive line and veterans Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have struggled mightily in adjusting to Pagano’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will offer a heavy dose of Rice and the rookie Pierce to open up the middle of the field as Indianapolis tries to put eight men in the box early in the game. The Ravens will use a similar formula to the one used against the New York Giants in Week 16 when they rushed for 224 yards on 45 carries to wear down the New York front. A similar plan would keep the Indianapolis offense off the field and tire out a vulnerable, underwhelming defense.

2. Showing impressive poise in his first playoff game, Andrew Luck will have a respectable day and connect with T.Y. Hilton for a long touchdown pass. The No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft has lived up to expectations in his rookie season, throwing for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions while orchestrating seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, the most by an NFL rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger. Luck has even cut down on the interceptions by not throwing one in the final three games of the regular season, with two of those games coming against a formidable Houston defense. The speedy Hilton led all rookie receivers in 100-yard receiving games and touchdown receptions while finishing second among rookies with 861 receiving yards. With plenty of attention being paid to the timeless veteran Reggie Wayne, Hilton will get behind an improving but inconsistent secondary to catch a deep ball from Luck for a touchdown.

3. Ed Reed will put his stamp on the game with an interception in what could be his final appearance as a Raven in Baltimore. The 37-year-old Lewis will receive most of the attention Sunday — and rightfully so — but the writing appears to be on the wall for the 34-year-old Reed, who hasn’t engaged in any contract talks with the organization since before the 2011 season. Reed declined commenting on his intentions after the season, saying he wasn’t “in that mindset” now, so you know the Pro Bowl safety will be looking to bait a rookie quarterback into making a mistake. Reed has appeared to guess recklessly instead of taking calculated gambles more often than not this season, but the future Hall of Fame defensive back always seems to rise to the occasion in the biggest games. Last year, Reed had an interception and broke up six passes in two postseason games. It may not be a highlight interception return for a touchdown, but Reed will pick off Luck to give Ravens fans a potential final thrill.

4. An effective running game will allow Joe Flacco to thrive using play-action as Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin have strong days against the Indianapolis pass defense. It goes without saying how big this postseason will be for the fifth-year quarterback as his rookie contract is set to expire and he plays his first playoff game without former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Colts defense hasn’t been as bad against the pass (21st in the NFL) as it’s been against the run, but Indianapolis will be susceptible to play action as the Ravens run the ball extensively. Inside linebackers Kavell Conner and Jerrell Freeman are not particularly good in pass coverage, meaning Pitta and Boldin could have a field day over the middle, intermediate portion. It doesn’t need to be a 300-yard passing day by Flacco for the Ravens to win, but the Baltimore quarterback will be efficient and take some shots vertically against cornerbacks Cassius Vaughn and Vontae Davis to keep Indianapolis honest in trying to defend the run. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 225 passing yards and a touchdown should be plenty against the Colts.

5. With a returning Lewis playing in his final game in Baltimore, the Ravens will have the higher energy level to beat Indianapolis in a 27-17 final. When the 37-year-old linebacker made his announcement on Wednesday, the Ravens regained the emotional edge previously enjoyed by the underdog Colts, who played so admirably with their head coach battling cancer. I’m not envisioning Lewis making much of an impact physically, but the Ravens are the better team in this one despite failing to show it in the month of December, losing three of four before the Week 17 loss that amounted to little more than a preseason game. The Baltimore offense struggled at home against Pittsburgh and Denver in December, but those units finished first and second in yards allowed this season. This Colts defense is a far cry from those defense and the Ravens will have a very productive day playing in their home stadium. The energy level at M&T Bank Stadium may be unlike any we’ve ever seen in what’s already regarded as one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. That wave will give the Ravens an extra boost to dispose of the Colts in a fairly comfortable fashion. All other factors aside, the Ravens just aren’t losing in Lewis’ final game in Baltimore. The football gods simply won’t allow it.

 

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No Matter What Happens in Cincinnati, a Difficult Road Lies Ahead

Posted on 27 December 2012 by jeffreygilley

The Ravens schedule in 2012 has been among the toughest.  The Rams tied the Ravens with the fourth strongest schedule and the Browns, Broncos, and Giants were the only teams with stronger schedules.

The Bengals will line up against the Ravens with a lot to prove.  They have vastly improved after a three and five start and the defense has led the charge.

The Ravens’ offensive line played very well last week against the Giants but the Bengals have pass rushing threats at the defensive tackle position where as the Giants do not.  Therefore, look out for the matchup between Marshal Yanda and Atkins, it will be a great one to watch!

If the Ravens beat the Bengals, they would need help from the Dolphins who would have to beat the Patriots in Fox Borough for the Ravens to claim the third seed in the AFC.  Unfortunately, this wont happen so the Ravens will most likely host Andrew Luck and Chick Pagano in the wild card round.  Many are predicting a Ravens victory but the Colts are a very good team.  The Ravens would have to lean on the run game seeing as the Colts rank 30th against the run.

If the Ravens beat the Colts and the Patriots beat the Bengals (which is likely), the Ravens would have to travel to Houston to play the Texans who have only beaten the Ravens once in their history which was earlier this season.  The Ravens season might just end there and if they get past the Texans, the Ravens would host  a rematch of the AFC Championship game from last season.

The Patriots and Texans are arguably the best two teams in the NFL.  The Ravens would have to beat both of them to reach the Super Bowl.  But with Ray Lewis coming back for the playoffs and the defense getting healthier, anything is possible.

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