Tag Archive | "brandon marshall"

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Random Weekend Observations

Posted on 04 January 2010 by Tom Clayton

 

The Ravens are going to need to fix the issue they have at long snapper.  Matt Katula was the best in business but he’s killing us now and costing us points on a regular basis.  He has made maybe two decent snaps on field goals in the last three weeks and less talked about is how his poor snaps have made Sam Koch’s job infinitely more difficult.

 

Willis McGahee’s stiff arm yesterday was by far the best Ravens play of the season.  He laid out Hiram Eugene like Mike Tyson did Zack Galifianakis in the Hangover.

 

I think we saw yesterday how much Joe Flacco leans on Derrick Mason; Raiders corner Nnamdi Asomugha took Mason out of the game and Joe looked as if he had no idea what to do when he dropped back. 

 

Joe is also going to need to avoid taking sacks on third down.  Over the past few games Joe seems like he is getting sacked on third down at well over 50% of the time.

 

The Raiders look like a team that could reach respectability next year.  Their defense is pretty good, they have a cornerback in Nnamdi Asomugha that completely shuts down one side of the field and even though D.H.B. looks like he is on his way to “Bustcity” they have some talent at wide receiver.  They will need to upgrade their offensive line and quarterback (man Oakland fans are absolutely brutal on JaMarcus Russell) but I think the Cable Guy has the Raiders headed in the right direction. 

 

Congratulations to Denver head coach Josh McDaniels for benching his best player and starting tight end before the biggest game of the season and then having his team completely lay down against the Chiefs.  I didn’t think it was a possibility two weeks ago but I really believe there is a good shot that Brandon Marshall will be wearing purple and black next season. 

 

Speaking of laying down, the Giants proved what kind of heart they have getting outscored 18-85 over the last two weeks. 

 

Even though I hate the Patriots and it will really help the Ravens next week it is was a shame to see Wes Welker thrash his knee yesterday.  Welker is everything that is right about football; an unheralded, hard worker that has built himself into one of the best wide receivers in the league (and an absolute beast in my point per reception Fantasy Football league).

 

With their loss yesterday the Rams locked up a 1-15 season and the first overall pick in the draft.  If they don’t take Ndamukong Suh they should be thrown out of the league.  “King Kong” is a once in a generation talent that the Rams can build a defense around for the next decade. 

 

As for the Terps was anyone surprised to see them show up against an inferior team in UNC Greensboro?  And even less surprising was seeing Landon Milbourne dominate a smaller, less talented team; I would set the over/under for his points per game in the ACC at 10….any takers? 

 

It was nice to see Adrian Bowie actually show up and play well.  Bowie was slashing to the basket and using his athleticism to get to the bucket with ease.  I really think Bowie could be the X-Factor for the Terps in the ACC; he is the best defensive guard on the team and the Terps need him to be on the court for their press to be effective. 

 

Well next weekend is the most wonderful weekend of the year; Wildcard Weekend….and the Ravens are in the hunt.  I am not sure what type of chance they have at going to New England and handing the Patriots their first loss of the season at home…but like they say once you’re in the tournament anything can happen.

 

 

 

 

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 14 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens Tuesday. It’s the Tuesday Top 7. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it.

You deserve props…..

1-Drew Brees, Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb

Holy crap the Redskins won!!!!!! HOLY CRAP WHOA OH MY GOD THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!

In all seriousness though, Congratulations to the Redskins for beating the Raiders. It’s a lot like that one time I beat Steve Butler in 9th grade in a 1 mile race. It would have been a greater accomplishment if Steve Butler didn’t resemble Ray Bachman…

bachman

2-BJ Penn and Frank Mir

Look, I know some big things happened at UFC 107 Saturday night in Memphis-but the world of Mixed Martial Arts was flipped upside down this weekend. Why you ask? Because “Alabama Pride” was……..canceled. WHAT THE HELL?

bama

THIS WAS SHAPING UP TO BE THE GREATEST NIGHT IN THE HISTORY OF MMA!!!!

Butterbean vs. Tank Abbott? DMX vs. ANYONE? I’d pay $1,000 for this card if I had to.

But apparently DMX wanted to fix the fight so he’d win. And then all of a sudden the Butterbean fight wasn’t happening either. Suddenly the card looked like this…..

bamap

WAIT……COOLIO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I STILL HAVE TO WATCH THIS!!!! COOLIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BbB8b0wgPg[/youtube]

But according to The Big Lead, the card was CANCELLED!!!

I’ve never wanted a single thing investigated more in my life….

3-Alexander Semin

Okay, so the Capitals won a game, then they lost a game. I watched neither-as……I needed to catch up on the episodes of “Glee” I still had on my DVR???

In other hockey news, did anyone else know that Bemidji State was ranked #4 in the country?!?!?! HOLY CRAP LET’S GO BEAVERS! (Thanks to Puck Daddy for the tip.) And also, how…..in the world……did this video exist without me ever knowing??

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFaA6koXIk[/youtube]

4-Ryan Grant, Ricky Williams, Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Fred Jackson and Thomas Jones

So the Dolphins somehow managed to beat the Jaguars in a game that helped and hurt the Ravens’ AFC Wild Card chances at the same time. The game was attended by 60,000 fans at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. That doesn’t seem that bad; except when you consider that the game was played in BEAUTIFUL weather in a city where there was NOTHING else going on, and there were MAJOR playoff implications. And, um, Ohh! Jacksonville Municipal Stadium holds over 70,000; CAN hold over 80,000 for big games, but only HAS to hold 67,000 to be a sellout. YET SOMEHOW THEY CAN’T FIGURE OUT A WAY TO SELL THE FREAKING GAMES OUT!!!!!!

Somewhere, there’s an a-hole who still thinks putting a NFL team in Jacksonville was a good idea……

tags

5-Patrick Patterson, Julian Vaughn, Juan Fernandez and Reggie Holmes

Watching college basketball this weekend reminded me of something. SOMEHOW I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO POST THIS LAST WEEK!!!!

Thanks to WNST’s Chris Bonetti for letting me know about it. It didn’t count, but Boston College’s Reggie Jackson might as well be called “Mr. December”……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCxEY-lgf2w[/youtube]

6-Vitali Klitschko, Paulie Malignaggi, Timothy Bradley and Vic Darchinyan and Mark “TNT” Tucker

All of these people won boxing matches this weekend. Tucker won his in Westminster. It was clearly the most exciting thing that has happened in Westminster since…..

……ever.

7-Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson and Wes Welker

Brandon Marshall set a record in a loss. Which seems just about ABSOLUTELY RIGHT for Brandon Marshall.

Meanwhile in Foxborough, Panthers players claimed Randy Moss “quit” on the Patriots. That may be true, but it isn’t a concern for me. What IS a concern for me is that I haven’t posted a single picture of Gisele Bundchen yet to celebrate the birth of her and Tom Brady’s child……

gisele

8-Ricky Dobbs

I went to Philadelphia Saturday to enjoy the 110th Army/Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field. I didn’t know I was in Philly until I dropped a pen on my way in and was booed by the entire city.

And kudos to the staff at The Linc for supplying not only cheesesteaks in the press box, but also these……

tastykake

9-Rudy Gay and Carmelo Anthony

I don’t root for the Wizards. Partly because they’re terrible-but more because they play in Washington. You see, the Redskins play in Washington. Therefore, I despise everything about the place. (Except for this gal I know who lives in Columbia Heights. But that’s only because she’s not REALLY from DC. If she were REALLY from DC-I’d probably despise her as much as I do the rest of the city. OH! Except Ben’s Chili Bowl too. Boy I’m rambling again…..)

The point of all of this is that because I don’t have a NBA team to root for, I usually just root for players who went to Maryland or who are from Baltimore. Sadly, with Juan Dixon now out of the league-I’m forced to choose a new favorite player. Melo was the easy choice, but after Rudy Gay’s 41 in a win over the Heat……I might have to think about this some more.

Melo…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBRcsPbQfU0[/youtube]

Rudy Gay……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa4Di22UWvU[/youtube]

OR……….The Birdman?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BieL_YOzQkI[/youtube]

(Edit from GMC: Clearly, after accepting Jim Calhoun’s money there is NO chance I would root for Rudy Gay more than Melo. I still root for Rudy because I love Charm City; but screw Jimmy C-Note and screw UConn.)

10-Lucio Gonzaga

Elsewhere in soccer, Virginia topped Akron to win the College Cup. Which leads me to another thought.

F*ck the Hoos.

Seriously, how could anyone ever by okay with a group of people that looked like this……

virginia

11-Turner Gill and Jim Harbaugh

Cincinnati is going to need a new head coach. I don’t think they’re going to hire Brad Jackson as I previously recommended, so I offered another suggestion…..

ickey

12-Sheamus

A guy who I have never heard of before (and who apparently has never seen the sun before…..)

sheamus

Is now the WWE Champion. HUH?!?!?!?!?

Also, Michelle McCool did something at the WWE “TLC” event Sunday night. What was it? No one cares…..

mccool

13-The Clark Family “Cookie Baking Day”

I’m not really sure how every year I manage to skip out on the part where the cookies are made, yet end up taking home a BOX of cookies. Sorry I missed the baking to watch Navy win another Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, but thanks for making sure I ended up with plenty of pizzelles!

pizzelle

14-Jason Derulo

The song of the fall. I don’t really even know the words, but I’m hooked….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBI3lc18k8Q[/youtube]

15-Jason Sudeikis

Unfortunately, we do NOT have the ability to embed videos from Hulu on here-so I have no choice but to direct you HERE to view his OUTSTANDING performance as PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

The bad news from SNL Saturday night? Bon Jovi is TERRIBLE. And I mean TERRIBLE. I know they used to be really good, but they just aren’t anymore. It’s not enough to say they’ve gotten “bad”, either. They are unthinkably terrible. It lead me to ask this question on Facebook Saturday night: “Do you think Bon Jovi’s sole purpose at this point is to make sure they beat Aerosmith in a ‘which band got worse at the end of their career’ contest?”

You make the call. Bon Jovi…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCg2BoKiuOM[/youtube]

Aerosmith…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLRLhV9U0kQ[/youtube]

Ugh.

You got lucky…….

1-Golfers not named Tiger Woods

I guess the party’s back on???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bla3LPb1fzs[/youtube]

2-Greivis Vasquez

I love GV and I’m happy the Terps beat Eastern Kentucky; but since we’re talking about Venezuela (and we are!), I have no choice but to post a picture of the Avellan twins. You’ll thank me later.

avellan

Good lord.

3-Mo Williams

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oXC0jqHu_o[/youtube]

Yeah, but he’s no Rex Chapman…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE5RGClCDp4[/youtube]

4-Mark Ingram

Dude…..there wasn’t REALLY someone sending a text right behind Mark Ingram while he was winning the Heisman Trophy, was there?

heisman

This country is amazing.

5-Matt Albers and Cla Meredith

Cla Meredith is missing a “Y” in his name. You know who ISN’T missing a Y in their name? Yasmine Bleeth…..

yasmine

6-The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet

Guess who spent her weekend laying around the house hopped up on pain pills after having surgery to insert a plate and NINE pins into her shoulder? That’s right, Ol’ Droopy Eye…..

droopy

Yep, there she is. Ol’ Droopy Eye. Lookin’ good. And as if THAT wasn’t enough, TLDGOTFOTP even got to take “The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Radio Entertainment Today” to dinner!

Someone’s living the American dream…

7-Kate Hudson

Letterman was WAAAY too nice to her…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8Z1yImGxPY[/youtube]

Of course, I guess when you look like this…..

kate

You get preferential treatment to someone who looks like this…..

joaquin

You’re a zero…….

Roy Williams

roy

As if I needed another reason to hate this clown. Welcome to Coach K-ville, ass.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 07 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

You deserve props…..

1-Michael Vick, Bruce Gradkowski, Matt Hasselbeck, David Garrard and Chad Henne

Um, this is a WEIRD list of quarterbacks. Sorta reminds me of a bad “Mix 106″-type of Holiday concert. (Not Mix 106 specifically, but stations like that.) You know, stations across the country that are promoting something like a “Holiday Havoc” concert this December at their local arena and boast of lineup that features one fairly big act that isn’t necessarily big anymore, like……then matches it up with a rock act that had one pop hit but whose music otherwise probably wouldn’t go over so well with the “Mix” crowd…….then throws in a country singer who has a couple of hits and feels really out of place trying to fire up a crowd…….and throws in a R&B act that you really had no idea was even still playing music; then mixes it with a pop act that absolutely no one is interested in seeing because their one hit came at the beginning of the year and they have followed it up with NOTHING. And they finish it off with ONE relevant act whose music no one is familiar with. So, it would basically be like this…..

“SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! Mix 96 invites you down to Memorial Arena for Holiday Havoc, the HOTTEST SHOW TO EVER HIT THE METROPOLITAN AREA! Starring…..”

BUSTA RHYMES………

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg_f2r8gAzU[/youtube]

BREAKING BENJAMIN……..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFHN0gcMUf0[/youtube]

DARIUS RUCKER……..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WO7uoZZ2MQ[/youtube]

BLACKSTREET…….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6YkVlI5VSU[/youtube]

ASHER ROTH…….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrDrCF-T88g[/youtube]

and special guest OWL CITY!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMr52bCXNdU[/youtube]

You know what-I probably would have been confused into going to that show at some point in my life.

2-Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Kimbo Slice

You mean to tell me that Bachman managed to WIN The Ultimate Fighter???

bigcountry

3-Greg McElroy and Mark Ingram

Wha….whaddya think Mark Ingram will wear to his Heisman Trophy presentation?

Alabama’s win over Florida in the SEC Championship Game was the most exciting thing that happened in Tuscaloosa since the discovery of indoor plumbing.

Last week.

(Edit from GMC: I’m kidding. Lot of good things have come from Alabama. Almost all of which are in the picture below.)

bama

4-Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte and Brandon Jacobs

So……the Giants swept the Cowboys, huh? Had to be the most exciting thing that happened in New Jersey this week, right? I mean, other than when this guy took his shirt off……

jersey

5-Marc Mesaros

As a proud Perry Hall alum, I will admit that I can’t REALLY root for Eastern Tech. BUT-I guess I can feel happy for the Mavericks……mostly because they’re the only school near Rossville Blvd. that has lights on their tennis courts-which means a LOT to this guy right here. PLUS, EVT is pretty close to a certain establishment on Route 40 that I have been known to frequent due to their delicious hoagie sandwiches. They’re not a sponsor, so I won’t refer to them by name-let’s just call them “Awaw.”

AND let’s just say that this is arguably their greatest creation…..

wawa

6-Scottie Reynolds, Patrick Patterson, Kyle Singler and Reggie Holmes

There was a moment in Sunday night’s Maryland-Villanova game at Verizon Center where fans in the Terrapins student section noticed someone rooting for the Wildcats and chanted the ever-classy “Ass-hole! Ass-hole!” It gave me a moment to stand up and yell “Yeah, no one should ever root for a team other than mine ever!”

And while I still don’t care for Villanova, I WILL admit to being a fan of Villanova grad Jackie…..

jackie

7-Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Gates, Larry Fitzgerald, Pierre Garcon and Brandon Marshall

Yeah, why not……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt2dnWnlA6k[/youtube]

And apparently there’s a song, too. It’s a shame they announced the Grammy nominees before now……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NxSuqivw3c[/youtube]

8-Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Brook Lopez

THE NETS WON! THE NETS WON! THE NETS WON! (And then lost again) BUT WHO CARES THE NETS WON!

And with all due respect to Brook Lopez, I tend to prefer Brooke Burke….

brooke

9-Nicklas Backstrom

Boy, I guess that Ovechkin fella really isn’t that necessary, huh? I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about the NHL, but I know that winning by a score of 8-2 is pretty good. Or at least better than losing 8-2.

Not that I’m worried about my Flyers, because we still look AWESOME in our new commercial…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iegTcjyJcs[/youtube]

10-Tianna Hawkins and Elena Delle Donne

I’m posing the Elena Delle Donne dilemma to you. I can’t say anything about a lazy eye; because I know someone who has an eye lazier than Ray Bachman….

eye

But as far as the Delaware hoops star is concerned…..it’s up to you…….

edd

11-Jim Furyk

Won Tiger Woods’ golf tournament this weekend. But there was a much bigger story this weekend in the world of golf. A MUCH bigger story in the world of golf. We all know what I’m talking about.

That’s right, the PGA Tour is coming to Malaysia for the Asia Pacific Golf Classic!!!!

hallelujah

It is truly a great time to be a golf fan!

12-Pete Carroll

You’re probably thinking “But Glenn, didn’t USC somehow manage to LOSE to Arizona-forcing them to have to accept a bid to the Emerald Bowl???” Yes they did. But that wasn’t NEARLY the biggest Trojans-related story this week. (My apologies for using the term “biggest” before discussing Charlie Weis. PURELY coincidence.) But outgoing Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis allegedly claimed Pete Carroll was living with a student out in Malibu!

Carroll denied the claims-but if they’re accurate, would anyone blame him???

usc

13-Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron

The Blind Side overtook New Moon for the #1 spot this weekend at the box office-which is actually AMAZING. Like, REALLY amazing all things considered.

I’m not sure what’s more amazing-The Blind Side becoming Number 1, or the fact that there’s a new movie coming out called “Nine” I’ve never heard of where Penelope Cruz looks like THIS……

penelope

14-Saturday Night Live

Look, the Tiger Woods thing was funny…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeTrs-X6FPs[/youtube]

But in the world Kenan Thompson, it can’t TOUCH “What Up With That?”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLY-FLnkNoc[/youtube]

The highlight of the night however was CLEARLY Rihanna and Shy Ronnie…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cfX0j7sMeY[/youtube]

And the Muppets/Blake Lively weren’t too bad either….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyGYXCxsIwU[/youtube]

15-Smoked Turkey BBQ, Jalapeno Cornbread and Shiner Bock

(I forgot to take pictures of my dinner Sunday night. My apologies!)

smokedturkeybbq
cornbread
shiner

While in Chinatown last night for the BB&T Classic, my friend (who went to Oklahoma but is actually a mostly good person!) suggested we go for BBQ. While I questioned the idea of Capital Q BBQ there in Chinatown—I must give her props. Except for the fact that she is now 0-1 in Terps games she has watched with me.

You got lucky……

1-Drew Brees and Robert Meachem

Ummm……REALLY?!?!?!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdmfE5YIE80[/youtube]

Look-I’m rooting for the Ravens, period. But if for some reason this goes the wrong way, I’m rooting for the Saints. Either way, I’m laughing at the Redskins.

2-Hunter Lawrence and Devan Cunningham

No…….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjZLxsxmBSc[/youtube]

No!!!!!!!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHQ7uEj1tqM[/youtube]

Seriously, Now Bachman’s gonna think HE could catch a winning 2 point conversion in a college football game!

3-Joakim Noah

I know Joakim Noah won two NCAA Tournament titles at Florida, but what the hell is he thinking here????

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kroxmCZUgQ4[/youtube]

Joakim-LeBron James is SIGNIFICANTLY better than you. As in, your names should NEVER be spoken in the same sentence. Just shut up, clown.

4-Tony Pike and Jonathan Dwyer

In honor of Georgia Tech winning the ACC Championship, here’s some OutKast….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q0wNUutTUw[/youtube]

Is that a cop out for me? Yes. It’s been a long weekend…..

5-Bob Bradley

USA-England in the World Cup?!?!?! This one’s a no-brainer…..

Kelly Osbourne is British…..

kelly

Carrie Underwood is American……

carrie

6-Jamie Jungers

jungers

Good for you, Eldrick.

7-Everyone who was NOT thrown from a horse at some point this weekend

You’re doing better than “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet”…..

tldgotfotp

(Edit from GMC: That’s her shoulder, kids.)

I guess it could be worse. For example, you could be EJ Henderson…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Tb12jQtskE[/youtube]

Or Greg Oden……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stYZMOvFGcA[/youtube]

You’re a zero……..

The BCS

Look, Alabama-Texas is the right matchup; there’s no doubt about that. But tell that to Cincinnati, TCU and Boise State fans……like Chrissy Popadics…..

chrissy

I’ve changed my mind. Let the Broncos play for the title. Or just give it to them.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…….

-G

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Ravens 30 Broncos 7 (The NOT SLIPPING THROUGH OUR HANDS Game)

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Ravens 30 Broncos 7 (The NOT SLIPPING THROUGH OUR HANDS Game)

Posted on 03 November 2009 by Derek Arnold

ReedWhiff

From the game’s very first snap, you got the feeling that the Ravens were sick of it. Sick of letting near victories slip through their fingers in the final minutes of games. Sick of putting the game in the hands of the officials. Sick of hearing about how their defense had “gotten old” and was no longer a dominating unit. And just plain sick – of – losing.

And so it was, on that first snap, that Jarret Johnson came unblocked from Kyle Orton’s front side and blew him up with an 8-yard sack that was very reminiscent of Bart Scott-on-Baby Ben to Ravens fans. From that moment on, Orton NEVER looked comfortable in the game, and after a few more nasty hits on him by the rejuvenated B’More defense, he was pussy-footing in the pocket and you knew that this game was over, even if the scoreboard was yet to reflect the dominance the Ravens had brought to the table.

Double-J set the tone, but plenty of other Ravens’ defenders would soon get in on the act as well. Ed “Purple Blur” Reed was a man possessed, flying all over the field like the #20 of old, knocking Broncos’ helmets off, forcing fumbles, and nearly blocking punts. Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata were collapsing the pocket more effectively than they have all season. Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce were beating Denver’s tackles like rented mules. Rookie Dannell Ellerbe played well, and even the much maligned Chris Carr got on the stat sheet with a sack late in the game.

Speaking of Reed’s near-miss on the punt, though – we could watch every football game, on every level from Pop Warner to the NFL…and NEVER again see a punt go right through a players’ arms as Mitch Berger’s 2nd attempt did to Reed on Sunday. Add that to Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs BOTH dropping sure interceptions (and likely pick-6′s) and Ravens fans started to get a foreboding feeling that, despite the fire our club was playing with…it just was not meant to be our day. Add on the ridiculous non-call that led to Derrick Mason’s tantrum and subsequent 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the phantom pass interference on Dominique Foxworth (which the official 5 yards from the play did NOT see fit to penalize, yet somehow the gentleman trailing the play 30 or more yards away did, and IS ALLOWED TO – seriously, how is this possible?) and it seemed inevitable that the Ravens would again lose by the skin of their teeth to an undefeated team.

However, this was not to be a repeat of Minnesota. Rookie Lardarius Webb proved what we all suspected, that he SHOULD BE the kick returner for the Ravens, by breaking a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown on the first play of the second half, and in doing so turned the Ravens’ tenuous 6-0 lead into a much more poignant 13-0 version.

In the end, the good guys in purple would never trail, as all 3 phases of the game came to play for Baltimore, and a win in which the entire team played a part was the result.

Despite struggling early against the Broncos’ #1-scoring defense, the Ravens continued to stick to their game plan of short passes and runs to all parts of the field, and wore down Mike Nolan’s strong unit in the second half. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise, as the Broncos had dominated every second half they had been involved in through their first six contests.

Joe Flacco cares not for your prior successes. Flacco completed his final 14 passes, including each of the 10 he attempted in the final two quarters. The Ravens were 6/8 on 3rd downs in the second half, triple the amount of conversions Denver had allowed in the entire season to that point. Joe Cool finished a very cool 20/25 for 175 yards and one beautiful touchdown strike to Derrick Mason that sealed the game with 13 minutes to play. Flacco displayed his continually improving elusiveness and pocket presence, which was on full display as he dumped the ball off to Ray Rice for positive yardage even has he had All-World Safety Brian Dawkins hanging off of him like a Christmas ornament. His 80% completion percentage tied him with Elvis Grbac for best in a single game in Ravens history.

Ray Rice gained 84 yards on 23 carries, and Le’Ron “PAIN TRAIN” McClain got into the action in the 4th quarter, adding 3 carries for 31 yards, as the Ravens became the first team in 2009 to break the 100-yard barrier against the Rocky Mountain Horsies. Willis McGahee had 3 touches for 3 total yards, and at this point it just looks like Willis is in slow motion after watching Ray Rice for the past several weeks.

It wasn’t just the aforementioned Webb getting the job done on special teams. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give big props to Sam Koch, Steve Hauschka (3/3 FGs, several kickoffs in the end zone), Prescott Burgess (4 ST tackles), and the rest of the units that so impressively held Denver return man Eddie Royal in check. Royal, who scored TDs on both kickoff and punt returns a few weeks back against San Diego, had no room on either type of return Sunday, as the Broncos were consistently pinned inside their own 30 yard line.

And what of Mr. Brandon Marshall, who was supposedly going to give the Ravens’ secondary all sorts of fits, and have flashbacks of Sidney Rice and Vincent Jackson haunting the dreams of Ravens fans? B-Marsh had all of 4 catches for 24 yards, and short-armed several (T.O.-Style) once he realized the nature of the beast that he was on the field with. Also, as we alluded to here last week, Kyle Orton is NOT Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, or Philip Rivers. The Ravens put out the blueprint on how to beat Denver – unfortunately, their next opponent is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens must build off yesterday’s win, as they now face a Cincinnati Bengals team who is atop the AFC North standings, and who will be coming off the bye of their own. That Denver-Pit game will have much more significance to us here in Charm City if the Ravens can go into the Jungle and exact some revenge on Marvin Lewis & Co.

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Live From Owings Mills: John Harbaugh’s Weekly Press Conference

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

7:52-I have been poking around to try to find out if the Ravens might be interested in former Chargers WR Chris Chambers-who was released today. So far I haven’t gotten a good sense. It looks like Chambers will easily clear waivers-as he would be owed some 2+ million dollars the rest of the season. But even as a free agent, Chambers may not be a good fit in Baltimore. He doesn’t really address a need-as he’s no taller than Derrick Mason or Mark Clayton. He IS a veteran, and he has a reputation as a hard worker.

Cam Cameron has experience with Chambers-as both were together in Miami in 2007 before the Dolphins traded Chambers to San Diego just before the trade deadline.

Good fit? Maybe. Likely to happen? I don’t get that idea.

4:14-Hear from John Harbaugh NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net!

3:46-Here are some highlights from John Harbaugh:

(There is a group of girls from the Roland Park school “NFL Fan Club” sitting in on the press conference. One young lady was allowed to ask the first question.)

-“I was impressed by how the secondary stepped up”….”I thought they played really well.”
-Declined comment on Ngata injury, deferring to Wednesday injury report
-”We were able to stay on schedule” offensively and defensively with manageable 3rd downs on each side

-“What happened last week really doesn’t have much to do with this week” against Bengals
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“We stuck to the same schedule” during bye week whether we were 3-3 or 6-0, thought differences were “inside.”
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“I thought coverage was really good” in win
-Improvements defensively were “both” Mattison’s scheme AND execution.
-”I’m not sure” how much playing LT for 3 weeks helped Michael Oher right now, but helped for down the line
-Harbs declined comment on Ed Reed offsides penalty
-”I haven’t heard anything from” McGahee about lack of playing time
-On Bengals game: “This game matters.”
-Frank Walker “a big part of our team”
-Jarret Johnson “is a very tough guy”, shoulder injury “is nothing that he can’t play through.”
-Vic Fangio “doing a great job” of using young LB’s in Dannell Ellerbe and Tavares Gooden
-”You will see Lardarius Webb on punt returns at some point”
-Chris Carr “has played well” defensively and on punt returns.
-”We were glad to be at home……..every city is not like Baltimore” in terms of support for team through struggles
-”I’m not concerned about” Oher penalty

3:30-Hear from Derrick Mason NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net!

(Also, Steve Hauschka joined Drew Forrester this morning on “The Comcast Morning Show”-you can hear from the kicker in the Audio Vault at well.)

3:07-Here are some highlights from Derrick Mason:

-”There was no panicking, there was no pressure” going into game against Broncos
-”Every game is pivotal from this point on.”
-”3rd and manageable” has lead to offensive success
-”If you capitalize on” 3rd down, “you win games.”
-Ray Rice’s ability to run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield has allowed for team to have greater offensive balance
-Key to 2nd half was “to come out on a good note.”
-No huddle used to “put pressure” on Broncos defense
-Kelley Washington’s success on 3rd down allowed him to be left 1 on 1 for TD catch
-Flacco’s TD throw “wasn’t big league…..just a regular throw” (he was smiling while he said this)
-on playing against guys as good as Brian Dawkins & Champ Bailey: “You wouldn’t want it any other way.”
-on early penalty: “After a while, you just get pissed off.” He added that he’s seen penalties called for much less, including “Brandon Marshall’s phantom” pass interference call-made on Domonique Foxworth

2:46-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where John Harbaugh’s weekly Monday press conference is scheduled for 3:45. In the meantime, we’ll hear from WR Derrick Mason.

Hoping for more information on Haloti Ngata-but not expecting it until Wednesday. Still some lingering questions from Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos; and we’ll look ahead to this coming Sunday’s trip to Paul Brown Stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals.

-G

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Monday Morning’s Purple Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens Report Card:

Quarterback: B+

If we were grading the 2nd half, it would be an A+. Joe was BRILLIANT in the 2nd half, even if he wasn’t trying to throw the ball particularly far downfield.

Running Backs: A-

LOVED seeing Cam Cameron go to Le’Ron McClain in the 2nd half. That’s how this team needs to finish off football games.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B

It wasn’t an overly impressive statistical performance, but these guys were big when they needed to be. Kelley Washington continues to make plays on 3rd down, and Mark Clayton made an awesome catch on the sideline.

Offensive Line: A

Did anyone even hear Elvis Dumervil’s name all day? Neither did I. Another great performance, this team is really special with Gaither and Oher together.

Defensive Line: A-

They got pressure, and they limited what Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter were able to do. What else can we ask for?

Linebackers: A

Jarret Johnson was AWESOME. The rest of the unit was really good too.

Secondary: A

Who would have thought?

Special Teams: A+

Great day for everyone, really.

Coaching: A

Clearly the bye week was big for the entire staff.

Best of Sunday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Ravens’ win over Broncos wasn’t “must”, but close

Drew Forrester says win over Broncos proves Ravens ‘are back’

Keith Melchior wasn’t happy with Mishael Miller’s national anthem

And from the rest of the world…..

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens snapped 3 game losing streak with win over Denver

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ngata suffered ankle injury, x-rays were negative

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Hauschka bounced back from late miss against Vikings with big day in win

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Lardarius Webb returned opening kick of 2nd half for TD in Ravens win

The Official Site says Harbaugh continued to be impressed by Ray Rice in win

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison says Oher, Gaither provide ‘great tandem’ for Ravens at OT

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison says Mark Clayton’s leaping catch caught eyes

The Official Site’s Ryan Mink says Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington had solid coverage for Ravens in win

Denver Broncos Official Site’s Zach Eisendrath says Kyle Orton threw for 152 yards in loss

Denver Broncos Official Site’s Gray Caldwell says Josh McDaniels knows Broncos will have to look at themselves ‘in mirror’ after loss

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Flacco tied team record by connecting on 80 percent of passes in win

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Derrick Mason’s early flare-up part of ‘attitude’ Ravens brought to game

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Jerry Rosburg’s special teams unit had big day in win

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins traded jerseys (World Cup-style) after game

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Frank Walker was deactivated for Sunday’s game

The Sun’s Mike Preston gives high praise to LB’s, secondary, special teams in win

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Harbs was working the crowd in 2nd half

The Sun’s Ron Fritz says officials missed more calls in Ravens’ win

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Jarret Johnson’s early sack set tone for entire win

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson gives highest praise to Special Teams in win

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Nakamura strained stomach muscle in win

Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Ravens’ win ‘arguably best performance of John Harbaugh era’

Carroll County Times’ Ryan Chell says Jared Gaither, O-Line came up big against Dumervil, Broncos

The AP says Ravens moved within a game of Steelers, Bengals for first place in AFC North with win

Denver Post’s Mike Klis says Broncos won’t be matching ’72 Dolphins after suffering first loss

USA Today’s Jarrett Bell says Derrick Mason, Ray Rice scored big 2nd half TD’s in win

SI’s Don Banks says Greg Mattison ‘finally hit his stride’ in replacing Rex Ryan

SI’s Peter King says Ravens in stretch where they’re playing 7 first place teams in 8 weeks

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer says Ravens went away from Champ Bailey in win

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver says Ray Lewis warned rest of NFL last night after win

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson says November will ‘make or break’ Ravens

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says Ravens got pressure with  front four

CBS Sports’ Clark Judge says Ravens didn’t give up play bigger than 23 yards all day

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Oher knows Dumervil amongst best in NFL

Fanhouse/AOL Sports’ Kevin Blackistone says Ravens ‘exposed’ Broncos

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Ravens kept Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal in front of them

ESPN.com’s James Walker says 52 knows everything ‘in front of’ Ravens

Talk to you later today from Owings Mills.

-G

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It Wasn’t a “Must” Win, But Ravens Breathing Again After Dominant Win Over Broncos

Posted on 01 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

There was one thought that stayed with me throughout the 2nd half of the Ravens’ 30-7 win over the Denver Broncos Sunday was how much I wanted to say this was a “must win.”

The truth is that it wasn’t, but that’s hard to believe now.

The Ravens entered Sunday’s game 3-3, a game and a half behind both the Steelers and Bengals for first place in the AFC North; a half game behind the Texans and Jets for the final playoff spot in the AFC. They faced a daunting schedule over the next 5 weeks (@Cincinnati, @Cleveland, vs. Indianapolis, vs. Pittsburgh, @Green Bay); and they faced the possibility that the team might start questioning itself before they even got a chance to face any opponents.

Sunday’s performance did NOT answer every question about this football team (no matter how impressive it was), but it certainly allowed the team to relax and start reminding everyone else that they’re still pretty good. As Ray Rice pointed out, this was “a game that (they) needed.” Jarret Johnson concurred, adding “we needed that win…..confidence is a big thing.”

It is significantly easier to “get up” for a game against a divsion foe, but it was evident that this team was “up” for the opening kick. Jarret Johnson’s sack of Kyle Orton set the tone for the game; and Lardarius Webb did the same with a TD return on the opening kickoff of the 2nd half. Throughout the game there were big hits (including Ed Reed’s forced fumble that lead to the game’s first points); and an intensity level that was evident throughout (including Derrick Mason’s outburst that lead to a 15 yard penalty).

It WASN’T a “must win.” The team could just as well won their next 9 after a loss today, and no one would have remembered that they lost on November 1. But this team needed momentum. They needed something to keep their swagger going as they moved into a difficult part of the schedule. They needed to show that they were better than the team that had been playing for the last 3 games.

This game did that.

Now things get no easier moving forward.

-G

Hear From The Following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Kelley Washington
LB Ray Lewis
LB Terrell Suggs
LB Jarret Johnson
CB Domonique Foxworth
CB/KR Lardarius Webb
K Steve Hauschka

John Harbaugh had no further information regarding Haloti Ngata’s ankle, saying he would consult trainer Bill Tessendorf.

4:01-Dannell Ellerbe wraps up this one with a tough hit on Buckhalter. Ravens win 30-7. Back with more shortly.

3:58-Rich Dubroff (of Carroll County Times fame) correctly asks why so many starters are still out on the field. There is no answer.

3:53-Flacco 20/25 throwing the ball today; and Ray Rice has added 108 total yards (and that last TD-putting the Ravens up 30-7 late).

3:46-Ryan McBean banged up for Denver, but he left the field under his power. Probably figured he had better things to do at this point.

3:44-Where the hell has that type of running from Le’Ron McClain been? Wow.

3:42-X-Rays negative on Ngata’s ankle; but he’s doubtful to return. He’s had the ankle taped twice.

3:33-Joe has completed his last 13 passes. However, it is hard to complete a pass when you are being taken to the ground by Andra Davis.

3:31-Drew thinks Ed interfered on that last drive. I’m not sure I agree. This would be the place where I’d hand the ball off to Le’Ron McClain, but they haven’t done that yet this season.

3:20-I’d like that Mark Clayton play much better if it had a pass option on it. They don’t use Clayton’s arm enough.

Doesn’t matter, as Joe Cool held tough just one play letter to deliver that great pass to Derrick Mason. He was smiling as he threw it. He should have been. 23-7 Ravens; still just a 2 possession game however.

3:18-Those two penalties there REALLY hurt the Broncos; and might help the Ravens put this one away. I reminder that I called 26-21. Another field goal and that score is totally possible.

3:08-Do the Broncos know they have a 6’4″ wide receiver? Why wouldn’t they try to throw the ball downfield again to him?

3:05-Where was all of this when Steve Hauschka was MY fantasy kicker? 16-7 Ravens now with 4:55 to play in 3rd.

3:02-Well, that play wasn’t a disaster or anything…….

2:59-Renaldo Hill down on the play for Denver; and had to be helped off the field. The training staff was in a rush to get out there when they saw him go down after the great play by Kelley Washington.

2:57-Mark Clayton did his best Ray Rice impression there in putting his hand on the ground to find some more yards. That move isn’t used as much as it probably should be by guys who are lower to the ground.

2:55-I did not see the penalty called on Andre Goodman, therefore it would be particularly difficult for me to comment on it. I’ll say it WAS a penalty.

2:53-Former KOBST contestant Phil Williams seen on the jumbotron here at M&T Bank Stadium modeling a “Play Like a Raven” t-shirt. Phil did not advance far in the contest, but maybe he will find fame from being a model here at the stadium.

2:50-Tony Scheffler was interfered with, and this KILLS all momentum the Ravens had from Lardarius’ TD. 13-7 Baltimore-Harbaugh maybe should have considered a 2 point conversion.

2:49-Haloti Ngata hobbled off the field under his own power; but that looked particularly concerning.

2:46 And the decision pays off for Denver as Ed Reed jumps offsides. Otherwise, Brandon Marshall would NOT have had a first down.

2:43-This is a big decision here from Josh McDaniels. Not converting could really hurt a team that hasn’t exactly moved the ball with ease.

2:41-That really wasn’t bad coverage from Fabian on Gaffney there, he just missed the ball as it came in. Broncos really moving the ball now; Ravens need to keep them out of endzone to hold on to momentum.

2:40-That’s a tough call to go against Dom there. I don’t agree, but it probably is within the guidelines for interference. Of for just plain playing defense.

2:35-Boy am I glad I didn’t get back from halftime late. What a run by Lardarius Webb. That’s why they made the move to put him in as kick returner. Biggest moment of the rookie from Nicholls State’s career so far.

First kick return for TD since Yamon Figurs on 12/9/07. However, that was in a blowout loss to the Colts.

2:19-Really big stand there from Ravens defense. This should allow them to take the 6-0 lead to halftime-and they start with the ball in the 2nd half.

2:16-Big spot here for Ravens defense. If Broncos get in end zone-all momentum gone. If they get 3, some of the good vibes from the rest of the first half will be lessened.

2:11-71,132 fans here at M&T Bank Stadium this afternoon. 52,000 have said “How are the Broncos 6-0?” at some point today.

2:10-We’re already at the 2 minute warning? Where the hell has this game gone?

2:09-And for those of you scoring at home, Peyton Hillis and Eddie Royal get their first catches. Meanwhile-Drew Forrester points out correctly that Domonique Foxworth IS doing a good job on Brandon Marshall.

2:03-Ravens really self destructed there when they should have had first and goal. Hauschka bangs home another one, and the Ravens have extended their lead to 6-0.

2:02-Le Kevin Smith with the sack. Which begs the question, “what kind of name is Le Kevin?”

2:01-I don’t think I agree with the personal foul call there on Oher. I certainly don’t agree with that play call on first down after.

1:59-Chris Chester the guilty party on the false start. A play later, Joe Flacco with a MIRACULOUS save to find Ray Rice there. WOW. Best play he’s made all game.

1:57-Kyle Orton has TWO passing yards so far. That’s not particularly good.

1:56-Joe has been tall on a number of throws today. What a great play by Mark Clayton to go up and get that one. Wow.

1:52-Haloti Ngata ALWAYS has his hands up. There’s a reason why he’s one of the best D-Linemen in the NFL.

1:51-Are the Broncos aware that the Ravens’ secondary has struggled? Why would they be throwing everything underneath???

1:50-If T-Sizzle jumps there, he has an interception. Damn. Brandon Marshall called for offensive interference anyway; but that could have been a big turnover.

1:49-Broncos OT Ryan Harris is DOUBTFUL to return with a toe injury.

1:45-Do I have to be the one to say this? I don’t think the no-huddle suits Joe Flacco well.

1:43-Not certain why Mitch Berger is punting in the NFL; or why Chris Carr would risk trying to do something with that one.

1:36-A MUCH better kickoff for Steve Hauschka this time; and Eddie Royal was NOT smart to decide to bring that one out.

1:33-That was Flacco’s fault on the pass to Clayton on 3rd down. Threw it behind him.

Another bad snap from Katula on the field goal; but Hauschka gets it through to make things 3-0 Baltimore. Yay.

1:32-As the sun starts to poke out, the Ravens REALLY need to cash this great field position into 6 points. A field goal here would have to be considered a failure.

A Willis McGahee sighting! Those has been a bit rare in recent weeks.

1:30-I thought Walt Coleman would decide there “wasn’t enough evidence”, but he saw the play as being called correctly for sure.

Credit Terrell Suggs with the fumble recovery for those of you scoring at home.

1:25-For the record, while it was very clear on replay that Alphonso Smith held Derrick Mason’s jersey on that play; I really hope no one is stupid enough to say something like “See, I told you there’s a conspiracy against the Ravens.”

Broncos moving the ball a bit with Knowshon Moreno. It was Drew Forrester who told me to go with Sproles ahead of Moreno; so I’ll hold him accountable if this goes wrong.

WHAT A HIT by Ed Reed. HUGE play. McDaniels will challenge, but it is hard to tell either way. Don’t think you can overturn this. Also don’t think this should cost the Broncos a timeout if it isn’t overturned.

1:22-Surprised by just how angry Derrick Mason was there. He’s an motional guy, but there was just no need for that. Ravens would have had a great chance to pin Denver inside the 10. You could tell Harbs was not happy with Derrick’s antics.

1:21-Derrick Mason’s frustration is going to cost the Ravens 15 yards here. They were going to have Sam Koch punt anyway, but this makes the decision even easier.

1:20-Why can’t Flacco to Rice passes over the middle ever look natural?

1:19-Two straight QB sneaks on 3rd and short. They have stayed in the no -huddle throughout the start of the game.

1:17-Ravens spreading things out by going with short passes to the middle.

Todd Heap’s 2nd catch was the 400th of his NFL career. I’m rooting for him to get 400 more today.

1:14-Greg Mattison’s defense has been much more attacking early on. Big TFL for Dawan Landry on the 2nd drive. Mitch Berger has been fortunate to not have either of his first two punts blocked; Chris Carr hasn’t had a chance to do anything yet.

1:12-Correll Buckhalter got the first carry of the game for Denver for all of you scoring at home. I benched Knowshon Moreno in favor of Darren Sproles on my fantasy team personally.

1:08-Couple not-so-perfect passes from Flacco to Heap and Mason; then Brian Dawkins breaks up a great throw to Kelley Washington. Surprised they’s go with 3 straight pass plays there.

1:06-Cam Cameron’s offense working in a no-huddle and trying to force the ball with Ray Rice.

HUGE effort from Todd Heap on 3rd down to get the initial first down of the game.

As a note: Fabian Washington is wearing sweat pants on the sideline. I guess just to stay warm.

1:04-How many times do you see a 6’4″ Wide Receiver used on a screen? Brandon Marshall is DANGEROUS after he gets the ball-even though he didn’t do much on his first touch.

Do you think Frank Walker was de-activated because they were afraid he would spit in Mitch Berger’s mouth?

1:03-Jarret Johnson absolutely LEVELED Kyle Orton. Wow. Big statement early for a pass rush. That’s how you get in the head of a quarterback.

As a note, the rain has picked back up, but the flags aren’t moving at all. Surprised Hauschka’s opening kick was so short.

1:02-Broncos won the toss and chose to receive. Steve Hauschka is kicking to Eddie Royal. That’s it for play-by-play; now I’m back to analysis.

12:59-The “Fire Mishael Miller” people are insane; but that was a STRANGE rendition of the national anthem.

12:52-The rain has let up here at “The Bank”, but the ponchos throughout the stadium take away from the purple atmosphere. Ravens being introduced now; offensive introductions highlighted by Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason.

12:47-Am I a bad person if I choose not to stand for “God Bless the USA”? It’s not our national anthem. Why do they ask everyone to stand for a Lee Greenwood pop song?

12:23-Today will be David Tyree’s debut in purple…..he was inactive when the Ravens visited the Vikings on October 18. There was a thought process that David Tyree’s arrival would leave Demetrius Williams inactive; but I can only remind everyone that David Tyree really is not here to be a WR. He’s here to play Special Teams.

12:19-And of COURSE Rachel Nichols from ESPN would be here again today. She was at 1 Winning Drive Friday, and my work output was not outstanding. Also here-Woody Paige from The Denver Post; who you know from “Around The Horn”….fellow “Around The Horn” contributor Kevin Blackistone (formerly of the Dallas Morning News, now with Fanhouse/AOL Sports), and ESPN’s John Clayton.

12:05-While this is the first time John Harbaugh and Josh McDaniels have faced off as head coaches, it certainly isn’t the first time the Ravens have played the Broncos. The all-time regular season series is tied at 3 games apiece; with the Ravens having won the only matchup between the teams in the postseason (2001 Wild Card playoffs right here in Baltimore en route to the Ravens winning Super Bowl XXXV).

12:01-From everything I can gather, Frank Walker IS a healthy scratch.

As a note-The Ravens are apparently not particularly concerned about Jared Gaither today; as they de-activated both Tony Moll and Oniel Cousins. This means Gaither will start on the left side, Oher on the right side, and Marshal Yanda will be the backup to both.

Also, Tavares Gooden is still slated as the starter at the JACK LB position, but I would expect to see plenty of Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain today as well.

11:43-Baltimore Scratches:

QB John Beck (3rd QB)
LB Antwan Barnes
CB Frank Walker
RB Jalen Parmele
OT Oniel Cousins
OT Tony Moll
DT Kelly Talavou
DE/LB Paul Kruger

Certainly, Frank Walker comes as a surprise-but with Lardarius Webb working with the first team this week; this could be a major message to the Cornerback.

11:38-Denver Scratches:

QB Tom Brandstater (3rd QB)
WR Kenny McKinley
RB LaMont Jordan
G Seth Olsen
DL Chris Baker
OT Brandon Gorin
WR Brandon Lloyd
OLB/DE Jarvis Moss

10:59-Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore, where the 3-3 Baltimore Ravens face the 6-0 Denver Broncos today at 1pm. I’ll be keeping you company throughout the day here at WNST.net, as the Ravens face what is ALMOST a “must win” against the Broncos.

For those of you who can’t make it to the stadium today, the game can be seen on CBS (WJZ 13 in Baltimore); with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf calling the action. The game can also be heard on the Sports USA Radio Network; with Eli Gold, John Robinson and Pete Medhurst on the call.

The biggest injury question marks are OT Jared Gaither and LB Tavares Gooden. My gut says both play; but we’ll find out in the next 30-45 minutes for sure.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST), as Drew Forrester joins me here in the press box, and will offer witty commentary during the game as well.

-G

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Broncos (6-0) @ Ravens (3-3)

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Broncos (6-0) @ Ravens (3-3)

Posted on 30 October 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Broncos

Ravens vs. Horseteeth Stats

Things certainly don’t get any easier for the Ravens coming off their bye. After facing 5-0 Minnesota in Week 6, our purple heroes now get 6-0 Denver in Week 8. Oh, and they will receive no competitive advantage from the schedule, since the Broncos too, are coming off their bye week. Realistically, the Ravens need to win 7 of their final 10 games to have a shot at the playoffs. It all starts now, and to have any prayer, the Ravens need to hold serve at M&T Bank Stadium. By winning their final 5 home games, the team will be able to finish double digit wins with perceived “gimme” games in Cleveland (Week 10) and Oakland (Week 17). Short of running the table at home though, the Ravens will likely face must-win scenarios in places like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay.

The Denver Broncos, who were supposed to be pushovers in 2009, after one of the most tumultuous offseasons ever seen by any franchise, have instead come out of the gates gangbusters. First year head coach Josh McDaniels’ squad is already sporting a comfortable 3-game lead in the AFC West, and they would own the #1 seed in the AFC, were the season only 6 weeks long. They’ve remained undefeated by being surprisingly efficient on offense, and by featuring the league’s stingiest defense.

Quarterback Kyle Orton, acquired via trade for Jay Cutler from the Chicago Bears, has been a huge surprise. Expected to struggle (based on his 4 non-remarkable seasons in the Windy City), Orton has instead flourished, passing for 9 touchdowns to go with only 1 interception, which came on an end-of-half Hail Mary toss. His QB rating of 100.1 is nearly 25 points higher than his career average. Orton’s 2009 is reminiscent of Chad Pennington’s 2008 – a “game manager plus” who makes a few plays every game, and is extremely stingy with the ball. Of course, the Ravens had no problem making Mr. Pennington look quite pedestrian last year, but so far nobody is confusing the 2009 Ravens defense with the 2008 version.

Orton Kyle Show

Orton’s weapon of choice is wideout Brandon Marshall, subject of many trade rumors here in B’More last Spring/Summer. The disgruntled Marshall has put his gripes aside and hauled in 29 passes for 332 yards and 4 TDs, all tops on the team. At 6’4″ 230, Marshall is just the kind of WR that has been giving the Ravens’ undersized cornerbacks fits all year, and Sunday threatens to be no different. Not only can Marshall go up and get the ball, he is hell to bring down once it’s in his hands. If the Ravens’ secondary can’t make open field tackles, this one could be ugly. Tight end Tony Scheffler is no slouch either, and he is coming on strong after a slow start. Scheffler had 10 catches for 146 yards over Denver’s last two games.

Rookie Knowshon Moreno and veteran Correll Buckhalter share the carries for Denver’s 7th-ranked rushing attack. Normally, we wouldn’t lose much sleep over these two, but with the Ravens allowing back-to-back 100-yard rushers, things are feeling a bit different in Charm City. The Ravens are healthy on defense at the moment, but need players like Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry to be more active in stopping the run, lest Moreno and Buckhalter find some holes early and make things even easier for Brandon Marshall down the field.

Keep an eye out for #21 on the Ravens, Lardarius Webb, who has been getting more reps with the first-team defense in practice.

Former Ravens defensive coordinator and 49ers head coach Mike Nolan has taken over the defense in the Mile High city, and has his unit playing well above expectations. Some guy named Elvis Dumervil leads the NFL with 10.0 sacks, just two shy of his career high through only six games. With the Ravens’ offensive tackle situation suddenly re-muddied (Jared Gaither missed practice Thursday with an apparent setback to his neck injury recovery), Joe Flacco may again find himself under duress. Michael Oher stepped in admirably in Gaither’s absence, and would go at LT again if needed. Dumervil, however, lines up all over the field, and RT Marshal Yanda will also have to be on top of his game.

D.J. Williams leads the team in tackles from his inside linebacker position in Nolan’s 3-4, and one of the all-time great safeties of the game, former Eagle Brian Dawkins, roams the secondary along with perennial All-Pro Champ Bailey. Flacco, who threw “red zone” interceptions in back-to-back games against Cincy and New England, before his 2 TD 0 INT performance at the Metrodome, will need to be at his best against a Denver defense that features a lot of pre-snap movement and blitzes from everywhere. Against Pittsburgh’s similar scheme last season, Flacco struggled mightily. The Broncos may not have the big name personnel, or the defensive tradition that Pittsburgh does, but they have so far made up for it in execution. The Ravens face Green Bay, along with Pittsburgh twice, down the stretch, so there is no better time than now for Joe Cool to start executing against the 3-4.

Budding NFL superstar Ray Rice saw his lead in the league’s all-purpose yards from scrimmage category eclipsed by Adrian Peterson during the bye, but he will have plenty of chances to climb back on top this week. Willis McGahee has been relegated to afterthought in the B’More offense, while Le’Ron “Pain Train” McClain can only think back fondly on his days of double-digit touches. Rice will have to earn his yards, as the Broncos haven’t allowed more than 76 yards on the ground to any opposition running back this year.

During the bye, the Ravens had plenty of problems they needed to correct. Perhaps they even saw that some of those problems are not correctable with the present roster personnel. If the latter is the case, one can only hope that they recognized that they are no longer a defensive, run-first, grind-it-out type football team. They feature one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in the NFL in Rice, and a quarterback who is coming into his own in his second season. Flacco has come up just short on potential last minute game-winning drives in two of the last 3 games. It would serve the Ravens well to come out on offense picking up right where they left off in the 4th quarter in Minnesota, when they scored 21 points in the game’s final 8 minutes, rather than trying to establish a running game and play field-position with the Broncos. Go up early and make the Broncos throw the ball – don’t let them eat up the clock and keep Joe Cool and Ray Ray Jr. (anybody got a real nickname for Rice yet?) on the sidelines.

Denver has never won in B’More. Sunday can not, and WILL not be the day.

Everyone tilt your head back with me and take a big ol’ swig of that purple Kool-Aid. With a victory Sunday, we can go ahead and refill our cups. Should the opposite happen, we may well find that the fridge is empty.

Ravens 24 Broncos 13

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Broncos-Ravens

Posted on 30 October 2009 by Chris Pika

This Sunday’s matchup in M&T Bank Stadium features a pair of clubs going in opposite directions so far in a complete switch of where predictions had them for 2009.

The Ravens, expected to be one of the elite teams in the AFC, are sitting at 3-3 after a 3-0 start. Denver, expected to be one of the worst teams in the conference after off-season turmoil, is 6-0 and arguably one of the best teams in the NFL so far.

Both teams have had a week off, and the Ravens are back home. Adjustments made, personnel tweaked and self-scouting accomplished, the Ravens need this victory to stop a slide that has threatened a promising season.

(Remember that we will have our weekly Purple Haze chat this Sunday at 7 pm until halftime of the Sunday Night game to discuss Ravens-Broncos and the rest fo the NFL. Click here for info, and to see our previous chats).

Offensively, the Ravens been fearless, and that’s not a term used often when talking about Baltimore football in the 2000s. There have been a lot of positives in that phase of the game in 2009, and it will be the offense that decides Sunday’s contest.

RB Ray Rice has become a key cog in the Baltimore attack. He leads the team in rushing yards, averaging 6 yards per carry, and also leads the Ravens in receptions (second in receiving yards) with 33 catches for 325 yards. His versatility has allowed him to be the feature back and also be the safety valve for QB Joe Flacco, as evidenced by his 16 rushing first downs and 15 receiving first downs, the most-balanced stats on the squad. The 31 total first downs lead the Ravens, nine more than WR Derrick Mason.

In the last two games, Flacco has completed more passes for 0-9 yards (14 each game) than he did combined for passes of 10+ yards (6 vs. Cincinnati and 13 at Minnesota). In other words, defenses are allowing short passes to Rice and others in order to clamp down on the receivers downfield.

That’s where the run game has to take over for Baltimore against Denver. The Broncos, under defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, have not allowed any opponent to run for more than 100 yards as a team this season. Rice, Willis McGahee and even seldom-used Le’Ron McClain will have to run well to control the clock and the line of scrimmage to allow Flacco to run play-action and Ravens OC Cam Cameron to dictate play calls regardless of down and distance. Denver hasn’t allowed a third down conversion in the second half of the last four games, which is the longest streak since at least 1992.

The Ravens have not run for 100 yards as team or scored in the first quarter in the last two games — both trends have to reverse this week. Denver leads the NFL in scoring defense (11 points) and third-down percentage allowed (26.9 percent). The matchup to watch will be the Ravens offensive line vs. NFL sack leader OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil (10 sacks).

Baltimore’s defense will be tested once again this week by a quality offensive unit. QB Kyle Orton has thrown just one interception and RB Correll Buckhalter leads the NFL in average yards per rush at 6.7. Denver has the lowest percentage of rushes for negative yardage and are seventh in rushing yards per game (132.7).

The good piece of news for the Ravens here is that Denver runs up the middle more than to any other spot (61 plays) — much different than the outside runners that have given Baltimore a lot of trouble this season. Also, when the Broncos throw, it’s primarily short (less than 15 yards). Denver has 27 long-distance pass attempts as opposed to 166 from 1-15 yards.

When Orton passes, his main target is the reformed WR Brandon Marshall, with 29 catches for 332 yards and four TDs. One other person to watch for is TE Tony Scheffler, who leads all NFL TEs in yards per catch (13.8) since coming into the league in 2006. He has 18 catches for 217 yards to date.

Believe it or not, despite the effectiveness of the Broncos offense so far, the Ravens average more offensive yards per game (393.2 to 368.7) than Denver.

Special teams will be crucial. The Ravens’ switch to Ladarius Webb has helped with Webb’s 25.6 return average. Baltimore needs a shorter field to work with on offense, and Webb’s returns have helped there. On the other side, Eddie Royal returned a kickoff and a punt for TDs at San Diego. Baltimore will be very careful in their decisions to kick to, or away from, Royal during the course of the game.

PREDICTION: Another mirror image in gameplans this week. Both teams will try to stop the run, and put the game in the hands of the quarterbacks. Flacco shredded Minnesota in the fourth quarter in the last game, and the wraps might be off again this week. Can the Ravens find the right combo against a tough defense? If the Ravens can keep Dumervil at bay by getting decent run yards and running play-action, they have a pretty good shot at winning. Baltimore is extremely tough at home, and Denver will go against a defense that feels like they are against the wall. It won’t be easy, but the Ravens will pull out a high-scoring affair late on a Steve Hauschka field goal. Ravens 31, Broncos 28.

To follow Chris Pika (BlogAndTackle) on Twitter, click here or go to: http://www.twitter.com/BlogAndTackle.

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Live From Owings Mills: Gaither, Gooden, Harbaugh Have “No Comment” About Injuries

Posted on 30 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:07-Injury Report-Ravens:

OT Jared Gaither QUESTIONABLE – Neck
LB Tavares Gooden PRO BABLE – Head
QB Joe Flacco PROBABLE – Ankle
K Steve Hauschka PROBABLE – Ankle
LB Jarret Johnson PROBABLE – Shoulder
S Ed Reed PROBABLE – Illness
WR/ST David Tyree PROBABLE – Hamstring

Broncos:

S Brian Dawkins PROBABLE – Hamstring
DL Ronald Fields PROBABLE – Hamstring
LB Spencer Larsen PROBABLE – Shoulder

2:25-The Ravens practiced outside yesterday and today after practicing indoors Wednesday. They could have probably used some precipitation today, as Weather.com tells us that it is expected to be 58 degrees Sunday with showers (chance of precipitation is 50%).

Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison isn’t worried about the weather, as he took time to remind me today that he was still wearing shorts. He pointed at his legs and yelled “It’s nice out!”, to which I responded “not that nice!”

2:22-Some other notes from John Harbaugh:

-Broncos are “very aggressive” in 2nd half; and “playing with a lot of confidence.”
-Broncos WR Brandon Stokley has always been “underestimated”, but “just keeps making plays.”
-Said the Ravens had a good week of practice, but added “we have not had a bad week of practice yet.”
-On the team’s confidence despite 3 straight losses: “I don’t think there’s a team that doesn’t have swagger” in NFL

2:19-Justin Harper is playing the role of Brandon Marshall in practice for the Ravens this week. Harper is 6’3″ (Marshall 6’4″); but clearly does not have the skill set that Marshall has. John Harbaugh praised Justin Harper for the work he’s put in on the look team, noting that he has had to play the role of receivers like Randy Moss also during the season. Demetrius Williams has also helped the look team by stepping in as an opposing wide receiver during the season.

2:07-A strange post-practice session with the media today; as John Harbaugh clearly was more business-like on his final day of preparation. The locker room atmosphere was not quite the jovial, celebratory atmosphere that it had been in the weeks leading up to the bye. Usually Fridays are reserved for loud music, dancing, and even a friendly game of media dodgeball. There was some music today, but otherwise there was no frathouse vibe.

Clearly a 3 game losing streak can do that, but it also appeared as though Harbs may have been working extra hard to get his team’s attention. The biggest questions of the day surrounded the health of LB Tavares Gooden and OT Jared Gaither. Not surprisingly, Coach Harbaugh said “I’m not even gonna comment” on the status of either player; as he often prefers to defer to the Friday injury report. However, John was much more open two weeks ago before the Ravens played the Vikings. It makes you wonder if his attitude is based on what he got out of his players on Friday.

John also conveyed the message to the players that they were to NOT discuss their injuries, as he will try to somehow use that to his advantage facing Josh McDaniels on Sunday. Jared Gaither told us he “feels great”, and even said “yeah” at one point after being asked if he expected to play; but he otherwise spent the better part of 90 seconds saying “no comment” when asked about why he missed practice yesterday and whether or not he’ll be on the field against Denver. I spoke to LB Tavares Gooden as well-who confirmed to me that Coach had warned them not to discuss injuries before practice ended. Gooden told me he feels good, but wouldn’t address whether he had practiced today (he wasn’t seen), or how he’s responded to his most recent head injury.

Of course, John Harbaugh has every right to try to play this to his advantage; but it is unlikely to help a team. The Broncos will prepare to face Jared Gaither-and if he doesn’t play, they’ll be ready to face Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda. They’ll prepare to face Tavares Gooden, and if he doesn’t play; they’ll be ready for Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain.

You can hear from John Harbaugh and Jared Gaither NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net. Also, Broncos sideline reporter Alan Roach joined Drew Forrester this morning on The Comcast Morning Show; so if you’re looking for a Denver perspective, that is also in the Audio Vault.

12:05-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive; where we start with a practice update as the Baltimore Ravens hold their final walkthrough before playing the Denver Broncos Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Jared Gaither (neck) returned to practice today after missing yesterday’s session. There was no sign of the red “no contact” jersey he was wearing yesterday. Tavares Gooden was not seen during the part of the session that was open to the media-and I get the feeling he will be listed as “questionable” on today’s injury report as he rec0vers from a head injury.

-G

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