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Ravens handed worst home loss ever as Patriots deliver “cleat of reality”

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Ravens handed worst home loss ever as Patriots deliver “cleat of reality”

Posted on 22 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

This time, there was no late-game heroics to save the Ravens.

No half-a-world-away kick from Justin Tucker.

No final minute punt return from Jacoby Jones.

No last gasp drive from Joe Flacco and the offense.

This time, it was just football for sixty minutes.

And, the Ravens got their rear ends handed to them by Tom Brady and the Patriots.  There’s no other way to slice it.  No fancy way to sugarcoat it.  Not on Sunday.  It was 41-7 in favor of the Patriots and the beating was as bad as the score would indicate, even if two of the New England TD’s were scored in garbage time.

It was a day to forget for Joe Flacco and the offense.  Going up against a beleaguered and injured New England defense, the Baltimore offense simply laid a colossal Christmas egg, coughing up the ball on four different occasions and failing to pick up a first down on two separate 4th and short situations in the second half.

On the first occasion, the Ravens were faced with a 4th and 2 at the New England 39.  They had already run the ball twice in the series — once for five yards and the other for three yards, but offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell eschewed the reasonable solution of running off the edge and instead asked Flacco to connect with Jacoby Jones on a short pass.  It failed.

Later on, at the New England four yard line, the Ravens had two chances to pick up one yard.  On 3rd and 1, Caldwell again called for a pass play, which was incomplete.  Facing a 20-0 deficit, the Ravens rightfully went for it on 4th down.  Flacco initially lined up in the shotgun with Rice to his right.  Just prior to the snap, the QB scooted under center and gave Rice the ball off tackle, where he was stopped for no gain.  Was that the play design coming out of a Baltimore time-out where the Ravens discussed a critical play-call?  If so, it looked sloppy at best, ill-executed at worst.

Those two 4th down failures didn’t cost the Ravens the game, but you can’t win football games in the NFL when you can’t pick up two yards and one yard with your season perhaps on the line.

Later, the Ravens made the wrong call on a field goal decision that all but sewed up the game for the visitors.  Trailing 20-0 and faced with a 4th and 5 at the Patriots’ 19 yard line early in the 4th quarter, John Harbaugh elected to send Justin Tucker on the field for a 36 yard field goal.  That Tucker would miss the field goal was almost poetic justice, for even if he would have connected, the Ravens still trailed by three scores at 20-3.  He missed it.

Sure, Tucker should make a 36-yarder every time, but the call there should have been to go for it on 4th down to try and get a TD on that series and make it a two score game.

If the game wasn’t over prior to Tucker attempting the field goal, it was over when he failed to connect.

The Baltimore offense has now scored one touchdown in its last eight quarters of action.  Six field goals last Monday night in Detroit and one “we don’t care if you score” TD allowed by New England on Sunday.  In fairness, one of those days where the ineptness of the offense finally catches up to the Ravens was bound to happen.  Other Sunday’s, Flacco and Company would figure out a way to put up a TD or two and add a few Justin Tucker field goals to win 23-20.

This was the Sunday where the football gods finally said, “You boys are gonna have to play some legit football on offense today.”

And, the Ravens didn’t answer the bell.

The Baltimore defense got picked apart early by Tom Brady, who used Julian Edelman like a fiddler with his bow.  When the Patriots took advantage of a pass interference call on Jimmy Smith in the end zone and a Flacco interception to go up 14-0, all they had to do from there was play smart, use the clock and not turn the ball over.  What quarterback in the world is better than doing those things than New England’s #12?

Brady expertly used the middle of the field as the Ravens’ secondary played a soft cover-2 that put little emphasis on physicality.

One week ago in Detroit, the Ravens defensive backs went toe-to-toe with Calvin Johnson from the first whistle and physically challenged him.

Against New England, there was very little of that press coverage scheme from Jimmy Smith or Corey Graham, although it’s fair to note Lardarius Webb was tight on his man most of the day.

The Baltimore defense put little pressure on the quarterback all afternoon.  Strong?  Yes.  Big in size?  Yes.  But the Ravens lack pace and speed in their defensive front seven and when they face a quick-release quarterback like the one in New England, there’s not much damage being done.

When Brady gets time to do his thing, it can get ugly.  Like it did on Sunday.

On the flip side, the Ravens offense was unable to solve the mystery of the New England defense that somehow constructed a method to beat Baltimore on the inside and give Flacco something to think about most of the day.  Horrible against the run, the Patriots weren’t challenged that much by Caldwell, who went to the air 42 times.  It was a weird combination, it seemed.  New England WANTED the Ravens to throw it and the Baltimore coaching staff did just that.

It all added up to the worst home loss of the John Harbaugh-Joe Flacco era.  With their playoff lives on the line, the Ravens turned in a stinker for the ages, at home no less, and made next Sunday’s game in Cincinnati a must-win affair.

Everyone’s shorts smelled on Sunday.

The coaches had a long day.

The offense had a longer day.

And the defense, which played respectably overall, got a lesson in how Tom Brady operates when the calls and the balls are both working in his favor.  He’s tough to beat.

Hell, Justin Tucker missed a 36 yard field goal.

You know you’re not winning if that happens.

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Lions

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Lions

Posted on 17 December 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’ 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions Monday night at Ford Field…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Louis Delmas called for unnecessary roughness after Joe Flacco pass intended for Marlon Brown incomplete on 3rd down (2nd quarter)

Ended up giving the Ravens three points in a spot where they would have gotten nothing.

4. Daryl Smith sacks Matthew Stafford for five yard loss at Baltimore 47 (1st quarter)

Lions had moved the ball at will on first two drives until this play, game appeared to be headed to a shootout or even a blowout.

3. Matt Elam intercepts Matthew Stafford pass intended for Nate Burleson (4th quarter)

The “ender”.

2. Jacoby Jones 27 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 15 (4th quarter)

The significance of this play has somehow been lost.

1. Justin Tucker 61 yard field goal GOOD (4th quarter)

I still don’t believe it.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Our Ravens/Lions “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Lions “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 17 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 18-16 victory over the Detroit Lions Monday night at Ford Field…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Dean Pees

4. Daryl Smith

3. Jacoby Jones

2. Joe Flacco

1. Jimmy Smith (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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We’ve got one incredibly big event left in our annual coat drive

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We’ve got one incredibly big event left in our annual coat drive

Posted on 15 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps this week should be renamed “Buffalo Wild Wings Week” at WNST.

We’ll be at BWW locations throughout the area this week for various major events all leading up to the culmination of our annual coat drive here at WNST, which this year is benefitting The Helping Up Mission downtown and Goodwill of Maryland.

And this Thursday night is our big event.

Come out to Buffalo Wild Wings White Marsh Thursday night for our annual holiday coat drive event. The whole WNST.net crew (Drew Forrester, Luke Jones, Glenn Clark, Ryan Chell, Nestor Aparicio and more) will be there hanging out enjoying a cold beer and chatting about all things Baltimore sports.

We need coats, but we also need jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, gloves, mittens, hats, snow pants, scarves, boots, earmuffs and anything else you can think of to help keep folks warm this Holiday season. We need them for men, for women, for kids, even for babies. New or previously owned, we need as many as you can bring.

Everyone who brings at least five winter weather gear items (pairs of gloves count as one item) Thursday night we win one of our many giveaways. Our giveaways include…

Roughly 10 of the above pictured “Crush” t-shirts. Sure the Baltimore Orioles don’t have any new players, but he’s still pretty good.

There are roughly 15-20 footballs in this box (footballs provided by Freedmont Mortgage) signed by some of your favorite Baltimore Ravens, including Jameel McClain, Chris Canty, Marlon Brown, Eugene Monroe, Morgan Cox and Jacoby Jones.

We also have four pairs of tickets to see Badfish: A Tribute to Sublime at Rams Head Live in January.

Again, five or more winter weather gear items gets you one of the above items while supplies last. Everyone who brings out even ONE coat will get a $5 gift certificate from Buffalo Wild Wings to take care of their first eight boneless wings that night. And everyone who brings two or more coats will be registered to win a pair of tickets to WWE “Monday Night RAW” at Baltimore Arena January 6th.

PLUS, we have two copies of the recent “Baltimore’s First Raven” Hall of Fame retrospective magazine signed by Jonathan Ogden. The first two people to bring us 20 or more winter weather items will receive those.

You guys have always come through for us in the past. We need you to come through once more before we make the coat donation Christmas week. There are a lot of people that need help in our community this holiday season. Please help us help them while we enjoy yet another run towards the postseason from the Ravens. Get your holiday shopping done while you’re out.

It’s going to be a great week throughout the WNST community. We can’t wait to see you.

-G

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temp120813_Week14_MBgame winner

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A Ravens Classic

Posted on 11 December 2013 by Tom Federline

Classic in the sense that the Ravens elevated the blood pressure of their fan base, yet once again. Classic in the sense that the Ravens offense was non-existent for 3-plus quarters, yet once again. Classic in the sense that it appeared they pulled off another win by just being one play better than their “challenged” opponent. The Ravens are a tough team to watch. They are not a team for the light-hearted. If you cannot handle roller-coaster rides, than you cannot handle being a Ravens fans. This past Sunday, the game was another classic of Ravens frustration. They finally put a drive together and went up 15-12 with 2:05 minutes left. At that point, I thought the game was won. And then…….the game turned into an NFL Classic.

The snow and inclement weather was cool. It was cold. It was wet. There was poor visibility. There was poor footing. The fans were “primed”. The environment was inviting for a Classic to surface. Then for about 58 minutes we watched over-paid grown men playing a neighborhood backyard football game in the snow. Ok, we’ll add poor officiating, by refs that have no real accountability. Best part about those 58 minutes, you could surf between multiple 1:00 games – and most of them had snow or “classic” football weather.

The Ravens contribution to football folklore did occur in those last 2 minutes and 5 seconds. But the elevated blood pressure started with that late 4th quarter TD drive and the ensuing 2-point conversion (Flacco to Torrey Smith). That score put the Ravens up by 3. Was anybody going to feel real comfortable with the Ravens being up by less than a field goal with time still on the clock? So bang, 2:05 left Ravens up 15-12 “We won!”, 1:27 left – Gerhart run up the middle, Minnesota Whiners up 19-15, RUKM – “We lost”, 1:16 left Savior Jacoby kickoff return Ravens up 22-19, RUKM – “We Won!”, 0:45 left #84 burns Ravens again on 79 yard screenplay, Minn Whiners up 26-22, 0:04 left Flacco to Marlon Brown draggin’ his feet in the snow on the endline – TD, Ravens up 29-26 RUKM – “We (may) have Won!” There’s 4 seconds left and the Minn Whiners still have a chance to score. Squibb kick/tackle/game over – relief – now, what just happened?

If you were there and stayed……..you have a story to pass on to your grandchildren. If you were home comfy and cozy on your couch…….you have a story to pass on to family and friends. If you were lucky enough to catch it at all…..you have a story to tell anybody. Quite an experience. Pretty cool. It was even cooler that they won.

I have not been a big Flacco fan this year. I like Flacco. Been supporting him since day one. Maybe it’s the contract. Maybe it’s me expecting to much. Whatever it is, he is the cat running the show and the show ain’t been pretty. I will give him kudos for maintaining his composure while projecting a “Cool, Calm, Collected” – (The Rolling Stones), demeanor. The Ravens and Baltimore experienced quite the rollercoaster ride of win, loss, win, loss, win. Total ride in real time, 10-15 minutes. Good calls, no calls, bad calls, screw all that. The boys on the field and game environment dictated those 10-15 minutes of “Classic” football.

Do the Ravens have a shot for the playoffs? Yes, mathematically they do. What does your heart tell you? My first reaction – no way, the Ravens are not a very good team. They can’t run the ball, they can’t block, they can’t blow anybody out, they can’t close and they’re really not that good against the no huddle. What they can do is, win 7 games so far and keep playoff hopes alive one more week. They are not a team of destiny, like last year. They are a team, that if they hang close enough, they do have play makers that can make something happen.

What’s next? At Lions, Patriots here (augh – I don’t even like typing that name) and then at Bengals. It’s going to be a tough road. My thoughts – beat (I mean whoop) that team from the Northeast, then I really don’t care how they end up. Denver with Peyton healthy, looking fairly formidable. And I like the 49er’s. Suggestion to MASN if they make this a Ravens Classic for viewing down the road; condense the first 55 minutes into 15, then let the last 5 minutes of the game play out. Then finish with those post game interviews. Jacoby Jones establishing himself as a “must” go to interviewee. Go Ravens.

D.I.Y.
Fedman

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Vikings

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Vikings

Posted on 10 December 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’ 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Matt Elam recovers Toby Gerhart fumble forced by James Ihedigbo at Vikings’ 25 (1st quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones returns Blair Walsh kickoff for 77 yard TD (4th quarter)

Should have been even bigger. 

3. Dennis Pitta 1 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco on 4th & goal (4th quarter)

God it’s good to have him back. 

2. Marlon Brown 35 yard catch from Joe Flacco (4th quarter)

As Marlon told us Monday, this might have actually been the biggest play of the game.

1. Marlon Brown 9 yard TD catch from Joe Flacco (4th quarter)

I wanted to out-think it, but I simply couldn’t.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

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Dumervil on mend as Ravens set sights toward Detroit

Posted on 09 December 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILL, Md. — The Ravens escaped their win over the Minnesota Vikings without an extensive injury list, but veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley joins linebacker Elvis Dumervil as question marks for next Monday’s game in Detroit.

Stokley left the game with a concussion in a fourth quarter that featured an astonishing 42 points scored between the two teams. It is believed that he was injured catching a 2-yard pass on third down that set the Ravens up for the fourth-and-1 play in which fullback Vonta Leach was stuffed for no gain at the Minnesota 21 with 10:36 remaining.

The 37-year-old wideout missed seven games earlier this season while nursing a groin injury but returned to play in the last three games, catching four passes for 36 yards. Stokley has dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which could complicate how quickly he’s able to return to the field.

“He’ll go through the concussion protocol,” coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of those in his career, so that could be problematic for us. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours or so.”

Dumervil missed his first game of the season against Minnesota after he was unable to recover from a left ankle sprain suffered against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night. The pass-rush specialist returned to play in that key AFC North game, leaving the Ravens optimistic that he’d be able to play against the Vikings.

However, his progress was slower than expected last week and the snowy conditions at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday likely made the Ravens’ decision to deactivate him even easier. The Baltimore defense has failed to collect a sack in each of the last two games, which is a disturbing trend with meetings against Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and New England’s Tom Brady coming up in the next two weeks.

“I think Elvis has a chance for next week,” Harbaugh said. “He looks pretty good [Monday]. It’s kind of a bruise in his ankle, so we’ll just have to see where he’s at. I was hopeful for him this week, so I’ll be more hopeful for him next week.”

By all accounts, tight end Dennis Pitta made it through Sunday’s game feeling no ill effects after returning to action for the first time since dislocating and fracturing his hip on July 27. Pitta finished with six catches for 48 yards and reined in a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 remaining in the game.

The Ravens were so confident in Pitta’s ability to play extensively against Minnesota that they listed veteran Dallas Clark as inactive, but Harbaugh said the 34-year-old still fits into the team’s plans moving forward. Clark’s limited ability as a blocker and his lack of a special-teams role make him a difficult player to include among the 46 active players on game days, especially if the Ravens plan to emphasize the running game in a given matchup.

“Dallas is going to be a big part of what we’re doing going forward,” Harbaugh said. “It just depends on the game plan and how the offensive coaches decide to put that together.”

Pass rush MIA

Masked in the euphoria of Sunday’s miraculous 29-26 win over Minnesota was the fourth-quarter struggles of the defense and its inability to collect a sack for a second straight week after 19 straight contests with at least two.

Harbaugh expressed concern over his defense’s inability to finish games strongly, but he didn’t seem as concerned with the pass rush, citing the ability of Minneseota quarterback Matt Cassel and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger a week earlier to get the ball out quickly. Of course, the snowy conditions Sunday left a few inches of snow on the field, which also impacted the rush in a way similar to the sloppy conditions in Chicago last month.

“I don’t think it’s a product of what people are doing differently. They’re getting the ball out pretty quick,” Harbaugh said. “There haven’t been a lot of downfield-route-type things. We had some maximum protection yesterday, two backs, and those kinds of things where they try to throw it down the field. They were mostly throwing fades or they threw seams over the middle. Those balls come out pretty quick. Field conditions were a factor … more than anything else.”

The absence of Dumveril left more pass-rushing situations for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw on Sunday and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs extended his streak of games without a sack to five. Suggs earned at least one sack in seven of the first eight games of the 2013 season but hasn’t collected one since.

Flacco gets taste of own medicine

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Playmakers emerging just in time for Ravens’ final push

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Playmakers emerging just in time for Ravens’ final push

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — No words do justice to the finish of the Ravens’ thrilling 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Five lead changes and 36 points scored in the final 125 seconds of play? You just had to see it to believe it.

But more importantly for the Ravens, the furious sequence that concluded with quarterback Joe Flacco throwing a 9-yard dart to rookie Marlon Brown in the back of the end zone with four seconds remaining resulted in Baltimore saving its season — at least for now. The action resembled an epic heavyweight fight with haymakers thrown back and forth in the final round, but the miraculous feel to the win conjured up visions of Jacoby Jones’ game-tying 70-yard touchdown catch against Denver in the divisional round last January.

“I think this is probably crazier,” Flacco said. “That one was probably a little more exciting, just because of what was on the line. But when you look at this, similar things were on the line, just not at the same time of year.”

With three games remaining against first-place teams — two of them on the road — the Ravens couldn’t afford a loss to the underwhelming Vikings, who were the better team for much of the afternoon in wintry conditions that brought play to a crawl at different points in the game. Sunday’s contest wasn’t as much of a “must win” as it was “you better win” against a team without a road victory all season.

Some of the Ravens’ biggest deficiencies plagued them again as the offense generated very little through the first 55 minutes of the game beyond a first-quarter touchdown aided by a questionable fumble call. The defense performed reasonably well until another fourth-quarter wilting in which it gave up 20 points, a theme far too common for an otherwise above-average unit.

The running game improved in the second half as Ray Rice found solid running room to collect 67 yards on 17 carries, but the unit also failed in several short-yardage situations as it has for most of the year.

By now, the Ravens’ biggest flaws are unlikely to be fixed with only three games remaining in the regular season. However, they maintained their grip on the No. 6 spot in the AFC playoff race and the recent emergence of Flacco and Jones coupled with Sunday’s return of tight end Dennis Pitta could just be what the Ravens need to advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive season.

To be fair, Flacco played poorly for much of the game completing just 21 of 40 passes for a touchdown and three interceptions while collecting only 154 yards until the final two drives. His receivers didn’t help much as several drops contributed to drives stalling and the Ravens punting for much of the afternoon.

But the sixth-year quarterback was on point when it mattered, going 7-for-10 for 91 yards and two touchdowns the final two times the Baltimore offense touched the ball. His strong finish followed two of his best performances of the season against New York and Pittsburgh as it appears Flacco might be getting hot at the perfect time after persevering through several factors working against him all season.

On Sunday, he completed his 18th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime and his third of the season.

“I see a lot of calluses on his character,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Joe is our guy, and to me, that’s all you really need to say.”

For the first time this season, Flacco was able to lean on Pitta, who completed a remarkable comeback from a devastating hip injury suffered just over four months ago in the first week of training camp. The Ravens have missed his presence in the middle of the field and inside the red zone as he was expected to fill an even larger role this season with the departure of veteran slot receiver Anquan Boldin.

It was Pitta’s 1-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-goal with 2:05 remaining that put the Ravens back in front and triggered the frenzy of back-and-forth scoring.

He looked rusty early, failing to make a couple catches that he’d normally rein in, but his presence was felt down the stretch as he finished the game with six catches for 48 yards and drew a questionable pass interference call on the final drive that set up the Ravens inside the Minnesota 30. Two plays later, Pitta made an 18-yard reception to bring the Ravens to the 9 before Brown capped off his strong seven-catch, 92-yard performance with the game-winning touchdown catch.

Welcome back, indeed, to the Ravens tight end.

“I remember when I got injured, I didn’t know if I was even going to play football again,” Pitta said. “Being able to stand here and talk about a victory and being a part of that is special for me. And just being a part of this team and being able to fight the way we did today is pretty remarkable.”

Jones provided the big-play ability for the third straight game as his 77-yard kickoff return allowed the Ravens to regain the lead with 1:16 left and showed once again how much of a home-run hitter he can be for a team that’s lacked offensive firepower for much of the season. His Week 1 knee injury and the lackluster performance that followed an extended layoff now appear to be distant memories.

Just as he showed all last season, Jones is entering the zone where he appears to be a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the football.

“I finally got back there, and so the chemistry with my guys that are blocking for me, we’ve got that chemistry going,” Jones said. “And health — I’m feeling good again. I’m feeling like the old [No.] 12.”

Only time will tell how significant the Ravens’ win over the Vikings was on Sunday. For now, it will simply go down as one of the most exciting games in franchise history as five touchdowns were scored in the final 125 seconds of a game for the first time in the 1970 NFL merger era.

But the timing of Pitta’s return to go along with Flacco’s late-game heroics and Jones’ return ability will be needed even more over the season’s final three weeks.

The Ravens still haven’t played a complete game, but they have flashed encouraging signs over a three-game homestand that pushed them over the .500 mark for the first time since early October.

“We’re starting to get healthier,” Flacco said. “We’re starting to put it together as a team. We just need to start putting it together for a full 60 minutes and see where it takes us.”

They barely put it together enough to pull off a miraculous win Sunday to save their season.

The Ravens can only hope to build from there.

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Wacky finish…yes, referee aided…yes — but Ravens saved their season on Sunday

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Wacky finish…yes, referee aided…yes — but Ravens saved their season on Sunday

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Championship teams figure out a way to win those games like the one the Ravens stole from the Vikings on Sunday in snowy Baltimore.

Bad teams like the Vikings – whose star player might have thrown in the towel in the 2nd quarter – produce all kinds of comical ways to lose in a 16-game season.  They’ll never author a laugher quite as side-splitting as the one they choked away on Sunday in a 29-26 loss to the Ravens.

The Ravens improved to 7-6 on the season and remained firmly in the AFC playoff race by pulling off a miracle — not once, but twice — at M&T Bank Stadium, getting great assistance from the referees along the way in one of those “better to be lucky than good” kind of outcomes.  The refs somehow upheld an early fumble by Minnesota that clearly wasn’t a fumble to anyone with eyes and then, on the game’s final drive, a pass interference penalty that was certainly ticky-tack went Baltimore’s way, paving a snowy path to the end zone with four ticks left on the clock.

It wasn’t just a miracle.  It was a season-saver, potentially.

If the Ravens somehow wiggle their way into post-season and then beat a team or two in January to earn a trip to the AFC title game, they’ll look back at the final minute of the game against the Vikings and say, “We were dead…the season was over…but we didn’t give up.  And something good happened.”

That something good was their $60 million quarterback, who refused to give in late in the 4th quarter when the Ravens looked all but cooked after a Minnesota TD put them up 12-7.

Flacco led the Ravens downfield late in the contest and connected with long-lost pal Dennis Pitta on a 1-yard TD throw that everyone ASSUMED would be good enough for the win.

But, the Vikings connected on a TD of their own, then Jacoby Jones ran the ensuing kick-off back while the Minnesota kicker played two-hand touch with him along the sidelines.

Over now, right?

Wrong.

Cordarrelle Patterson burned the entire Ravens defensive backfield with a catch and run that gave the visitors yet another lead.

Then, it was up to Flacco to earn his money.

And, he did.

Granted, the Ravens got a fairly soft pass interference call on an interception that would have sealed the game, but no one said the referees were flawless.

With four seconds left, the Super Bowl MVP found Marlon Brown in the end zone and the Ravens were winners.

Somehow.

They didn’t deserve it, honestly.

Anyone watching the game would admit they were vastly outplayed by the Vikings.

The Baltimore defense got shredded like cheese in the prep room at Chipotle in the final two minutes.

But, these games reveal a team’s character.

The Ravens have heart.  They showed that a few weeks back against Cincinnati and again on Thanksgiving night when the Steelers came to town and left with their feelings hurt.

The Vikings have nothing under the hood.  When you give up three touchdowns in the final two minutes of a football game, you’re a choker, plain and simple.

Speaking of “nothing under the hood”, I saw the replay about five times while I was in the press box and then again another ten times on the DVR when I got home from the game and I don’t see how Adrian Peterson got injured that seriously in the second quarter.  He looked a lot like an Italian soccer player rolling around on the ground and grabbing his leg.  I’m not saying he threw in the towel — but it might have been an underhanded toss, at the very least.  He looked disinterested all game, if you ask me.

It was lucky, no doubt.

Anyone who says it wasn’t isn’t really being honest with themselves.

But that Ravens win over the Vikings on Sunday showed why they’re a championship organization.

They’ll fight you until the end.

And if you can’t take their last punch, you’re losing.

 

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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. James Ihedigbo

3. Ray Rice

2. Marlon Brown

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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