Tag Archive | "Mike Tomlin"

Ravens Win in Pittsburgh for First Time in John Harbaugh era thanks to Joe Flacco’s Arm and Jeff Reed’s Bad Leg

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Ravens Win in Pittsburgh for First Time in John Harbaugh era thanks to Joe Flacco’s Arm and Jeff Reed’s Bad Leg

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Ryan Chell


The Baltimore Ravens made some costly mistakes Sunday against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, but with a late touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with just 37 seconds left on the clock, the Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for the first time in the Joe Flacco-John Harbaugh era.

“There’s only one way to describe it-it’s a team victory,” Harbaugh said. “”To come in here and win this game, it’s important for us. It’s important for a lot of reasons. But, it’s mostly special because of who we’re playing.”

“That football team is a tremendous football team, and this is a tough place to play in. That’s our arch rival and we found a way to beat them in their place, and that’s what makes it so special.”

The win-on top of the Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Browns-puts the Ravens atop the AFC North due to a head-to-head win over the Steelers.

With the Ravens trailing 14-10 with 2:44 left to play on the Steelers 2-yard line on fourth down, the Ravens elected to throw a fade into the back of the end zone. With no healthy backs, the Ravens really had no choice but to throw, but a bad pass and a bad route by Boldin allowed the ball to fall out of bounds and incomplete.

John Harbaugh and the coaching staff also decided to go for the win instead of kicking the field goal to make it a one-point game and give the ball back to the Steelers with two timeouts and the two-minute warning.

The Ravens blew their second timeout attempting to avoid a delay-of-game penalty before their chance at the end zone to keep it at the 3-yard line.

However, the Steelers then struggled getting out of their own 5-yard line, committing two penalties and were forced to punt to the Ravens, who had wasted their two remaining timeouts before getting the ball back from the Steelers.

“I felt like we were going to win the game when we had the ball earlier when they stopped us on downs,” Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s the one thing with this defense. You know we’re going to get the ball back. I don’t think they wanted to take a chance throwing the ball…and we were able to capitalize.”

With 1:08 left on the clock, Flacco found Boldin for the first two plays of the drive, while Flacco then found Houshmandzadeh twice more, the second being the go-ahead score at 0:32.

The linebackers bit on the coverage with Boldin, and Houshmandzadeh beat Bryant McFadden for the 18 yard score.

“I came to Baltimore to make a lot of plays,” Houshmandzadeh said. “Not to sound cocky, but that’s what I’m supposed to do…it feels good to make a play considering what’s been going on. I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Linebacker Ray Lewis then picked off a Charlie Batch pass intended for Hines Ward to seal the win for Baltimore (3-1, 2-1 AFC North).

The Ravens overcame two third quarter turnovers-a Willis McGahee fumble on the Ravens first drive of the third quarter with 12:12 left to play, and an Ike Taylor interception of Joe Flacco intended for Derrick Mason with 2:10 left in the period.

But the real difference in the game was Steelers kicker Jeff Reed missing field goals of 45 and 49 yards on the Steelers’ drives to keep six points off the board for Pittsburgh.

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff also missed a 46 yard field goal on the Ravens first drive in an attempt to help Baltimore jump out 3-0, but the attempt went wide-right.

But give the Ravens offense credit.

Joe Flacco engineered his fourth career fourth-quarter comeback, and some would believe that this is his first ever comeback against a big-time opponent.

“There’s not too many better ways to win a game,” Flacco said, “especially when you come to Pittsburgh. To blow someone out, that’s fun and all, but when the game is that close all the way through it and you go down and win it on the last drive, and once you’ve done it, there aren’t too many better ways to win a game. It was awesome.”

He finished 24-of-37 for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“I think there are going to be a lot of defining moments for Joe,” Harbaugh said. “This is going to be one of them. This is going to be one all the Ravens fans out there remember for a long time.”

The three Ravens receivers had exceptional games. The Ravens established Derrick Mason early, and he ended up leading the team in receiving yards with 80. Anquan Boldin had 7 catches for 68 yards in only his second career game against Pittsburgh, and longtime Bengal T.J. Houshmandzadeh put the nail in the coffin with his 18-yard score.

The Ravens also made the most of their opportunities with what they had. Each of their backs-Ray Rice(knee), Willis McGahee(head), and Le’Ron McClain (shoulder) battled or received injuries in Sunday’s game-maybe forcing Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to rely more on the passing game as opposed to grinding the ball down the field or getting that short yardage conversion.

They only gained 70 total yards rushing, with McGahee’s 39 yards and a score standing out before leaving with the head injury he received on the hit from linebacker James Harrison.

But a win-especially against the Steelers in Heinz Field-is all that matters, and the Ravens will look to build on the momentum they built up when they host the Broncos next Sunday at 1 PM.

The Steelers will be on a bye next week and had been looking for their first 4-0 start since 1979. Two weeks from now, Ben Roethlisberger will be eligible to come back from his four-game suspension when they take on Cleveland on October 17th.

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to track the Ravens throughout the 2010 NFL Season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Ravens-Steelers Purple Haze Chat 1pm Today!

Posted on 03 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Greetings from Heinz Field, where the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) in an AFC North showdown at 1pm today. The game can be seen live on CBS (WJZ 13 locally) with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on the call. We will be chatting about the game in our “Purple Haze” chat, you can join us HERE.

Here are today’s inactives…

Ravens-
WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot)
CB Prince Miller
CB Josh Wilson
DT Arthur Jones
LB Edgar Jones
DL Cory Redding (concussion)
LB Tavares Gooden (shoulder)
OT Jared Gaither (back)

This of course means that RB Ray Rice (knee) is active; and DL’s Paul Kruger and Terrence Cody are both active for the first time this season. We are working under the assumption that Kruger will make the first start of his NFL career at DE as Trevor Pryce signed with the New York Jets earlier in the week.

Steelers-
CB Keenan Lewis
RB Jonathan Dwyer
CB Crezdon Butler
OT Tony Hills
DT Chris Hoke (knee)
OT Trai Essex (ankle)
WR Emmanuel Sanders
LB Thaddeus Gibson

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin announced earlier in the week that Charlie Batch will start at QB as Ben Roethlisberger serves the final game of his 4 game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy. OL Doug Legursky will start at RG in place of Essex. The Steelers placed QB Dennis Dixon (knee) on Injured Reserve yesterday; they signed DT Steve McLendon to the active roster. McLendon is active today.

Ed Hochuli and crew will officiate today’s game. The Ravens will wear their white tops and white pants, the Steelers will wear their black tops and yellow pants. (They’re not gold. They’re yellow.) The sky in the Steel City remains is overcast, but Weather.com (The Weather Channel) says harder rain won’t be coming until after the game is over.

Come chat with us!

-G

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Ravens-Steelers Always Hard Hitting, Defensive Battles

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Ravens-Steelers Always Hard Hitting, Defensive Battles

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Ryan Chell

Ravens Defense

Rivals for years, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers have always been similar teams with the same kind of philosophy: punch the other team in the mouth, run the football, and command the ball in every category of the game.

Especially when it comes to the defensive side of the ball, with the Ravens and the Steelers controlling the tempo of the game and keeping their opponents off the scoreboard.

In the NFL in the salary cap era, players come and go. But for years, these two teams have had the same scheme and philosophy defensively.

“I will say this about our identity and I think it’s been established,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in the team’s weekly release. “We want to be a physical football team, a fundamentally sound football team and rough and tough in everything we do.”

The Ravens have had Chris Mcalister, Duane Starks, Rod Woodson, Jamie Sharper, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary, Sam Adams, Tony Siragusa, Adalius Thomas ,Samari Rolle, and Bart Scott all lining up and playing at a high level on the Ravens defense.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have had destructive pass rushers and quality linebackers like Joey Porter, Kendrell Bell, Jason Gildon, and good system corners in DeShea Towsend and Chad Scott.

And of course there have been the stalwarts over the years in Baltimore in safety Ed Reed, LB Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and LB Ray Lewis.

For the Steelers, fellow tackling machine James Farrior has made a name for himself since coming over from the Jets earlier in his career, Casey Hampton and DE Aaron Smith command so much attention in the middle when they play, and James Harrison and Troy Polamalu have garnered national attention as one of the best defenders in the league.

James Harrison

Since 2000, the Steelers rank first in total defense, allowing 280 yard per game, while the Ravens are right behind them with 283 yard allowed.

During that span, the Ravens have allowed a league-low 286 TDs, while the Steelers are right behind them with 309 scores against them.

The Ravens have allowed the fewest points per game (17 ppg.) while the Steelers again trail Baltimore (17.3). The Ravens also have the most takeaways since 2000 with 339 and interceptions (213).

The two teams have used each other as models as to how to play the game the right way, as both teams have won Super Bowls in this decade.

“If you see what Pittsburgh is doing now, you win with defense in this league. That has not changed,” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. ”

It’s all about stopping teams on defense…I think we can continue to do that, because those are the ingredients to winning, and that’s what we’re doing in Baltimore.”

And as the Ravens come into Pittsburgh on Sunday, Baltimore boasts the league’s top defense yet again, allowing 244 ypg. and also holding their opponents to a league low 30% conversion rate on third down.

Pittsburgh’s defense meanwhile has the most turnovers(10) on their resume as well as the best turnover ratio(+6).

With these two top defenses, Sunday’s Ravens-Steelers should be close as it always has been. In three of their last four meetings, the margin of victory has been a field goal.

Last season, both contests between the AFC North foes were decided by three points, with a Ravens win on November 29th in overtime(20-17) and a December 27th Steelers victory (23-20).

And in the contests between those teams, it has been much like it was last year. The Baltimore-Steelers rivalry has always been a see-saw, back-and-forth battle.

Only three times over the last 8 years has one of the teams swept the season series, with Baltimore winning twice against the Steelers in 2006, and the Steelers won a trio of games against the Ravens in 2008-2009, including the the AFC Championship game, and they won each contest in 2002.

In the overall series, the Steelers lead in wins 17-11, but those stats are a big slighted toward Pittsburgh as the Steelers often took advantage of a young expansion team in the late 90′s.

But the numbers do not look good in Pittsburgh for the Ravens. In Pittsburgh, the Ravens are 4-10 all-time-including 0-2 in the postseason-as opposed to when the Ravens host the Black and Gold, when the series is tied 7-7.

If anything, the Ravens are looking to leave an impression on the Steelers even if Pittsburgh should go on top Sunday at Heinz Field.

But with first place on the line in the AFC North, the Ravens would like the opportunity to grab that chance when they can on top of drawing some attention their way.

“Respect isn’t given. It’s earned,” LB Ray Lewis said. “We’re not here to be liked. But when we get off the field, we will be respected.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to track the Ravens as they play a huge divisional game against the rival Steelers on Sunday! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

Like the read? Get this and more with the WNST Morning Newspaper-delivered to your inbox every morning!

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to start the week out with the “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” The NEW version of TGSOATTW goes to Eric Church (the song is called “Guys Like Me”) because I saw the dude play Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion with my girl, you know her as “Boomer Sooner”. (Yes, I went to WPOC’s “Sunday in the Country”, live with it.) He’s pretty freaking good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7CsKVSDIcU[/youtube]

And the retro version is also “Sunday in the Country”-related, as it was covered by headliner Lady Antebellum. While they’re very talented and played a very enjoyable show-including a decent cover-Lady Antebellum certainly isn’t Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A[/youtube]

Before we move on-let it be said that the great Free Fallin’ cover of all time was done by John Mayer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20Ov0cDPZy8[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ravens WR Derrick Mason has happiness in own hands

I couldn’t agree more.

This isn’t about Cam Cameron finding a way to get the ball to Derrick Mason more. It isn’t about Joe Flacco making sure the ball ends up in Mason’s hands. It certainly isn’t about whether or not Anquan Boldin is showing the proper respect to Mason as far as leadership in the locker room.

This is entirely up to Derrick Mason.

If Derrick Mason needs to be a #1 receiver for a good NFL team in order to be happy, he’s not going to be happy ever again. That time has come and gone. Frankly, he was only still the #1 receiver in Charm City by default in recent years-as there simply wasn’t anyone else in town.

Derrick has done a VERY good job over the years as the #1 receiver in Baltimore. Fans in this area will always be grateful for that. But he isn’t that guy anymore, nor will he be ever again barring some sort of terribly unfortunate injury.

If being a good receiver on a good team is enough for Derrick to be happy, he’ll be fine. If it isn’t, it could be a terribly long season.

But if Derrick thinks that by being a malcontent he’ll become the team’s top receiver again, he’s out of his mind.

I THINK he’s smarter than that.

2. The AP’s Alan Robinson says Pittsburgh Steelers will start QB Charlie Batch Sunday vs. Ravens at Heinz Field

And as I said yesterday on Twitter (follow us @WNST), if I’m the Ravens-I’m okay with that.

With no offense to Charlie Batch, but there’s nothing about him that would concern me if I was Greg Mattison. That doesn’t mean the Ravens don’t have to play good defense on Sunday, it just means he doesn’t present any sort of dynamic level that Ben Roethlisberger or Dennis Dixon could have.

Of course, Charlie Batch can still win football games-especially for a team as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers. We saw that Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s still capable even if he isn’t necessarily dynamic.

But he’s NOT the type of quarterback that should be beating the Baltimore Ravens. Doesn’t mean he won’t, just means he shouldn’t.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ray Rice took to Twitter to proclaim knee ‘better’

And since this clarifies absolutely nothing, let’s plan on discussing this again tomorrow.

In the meantime, you know who else has knees that look “better”? Sherri Tiara Lansang. (Thanks F-Listed via Busted Coverage!)

lansang

(Edit from GMC: I’m kidding. Who the hell knows if Sherri Tiara Lansang has any knees?!?!?)

4. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall ‘poses repeat threat’ for Ravens

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens return to the practice field today at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. We will be out there to report on Ray Rice, Cory Redding and EVERYTHING going on today. We’re expected to hear from John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco for sure; as well as conference calls with Mike Tomlin and Rashard Mendenhall. Make sure you’re tuned in to AM1570, following us on Twitter @WNST and checking WNST.net for updates.

-The Ravens HAVE terminated the contract of Trevor Pryce and re-signed safety Ken Hamlin. Stunning news despite the lack of production from Pryce this season. We’ll have more throughout the day on this developing story.

-Did you miss Jim Nantz (CBS) this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Jim and Phil Simms are calling Ravens/Steelers Sunday; and Jim told us they’ll have Ravens/Patriots in Foxborough as well. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today if you missed it! Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include:

  • Rob Ambrose (Towson Tigers football coach)-who previewed Saturday’s showdown against UMass with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Mike Bires (Beaver County Times)-who updated Drew on all things black and yellow from the Steel City
  • Leonard Garcia (WEC Fighter)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • Dario Franchitti & Will Power (IndyCar Series drivers)-who previewed Saturday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami with Thryl on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Tuesday
  • Gary Graves (USA Today) and Eric Edholm (Pro Football Weekly)-who talked Ravens and all things NFL with Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault-so enjoy your afternoon. Don’t ever say I haven’t done anything for you…

5. The AP’s Fred Goodall says David Price masterful as Tampa Bay Rays beat Orioles at Tropicana Field to clinch playoff spot

David Price HAS to win the Cy Young Award, right?

I know some folks are going to say “Felix Hernandez leads the American League in everything”…but I guess those people think 13-12 doesn’t matter. I think Hernandez belongs in the discussion, but I’m pretty sure his record would leave him third on my ballot behind Price and Jon Lester.

As far as the O’s are concerned, they got worked over by a really good pitcher last night. That’s going to happen to a lot of teams. If they win one more game this week they’ll avoid 100 losses. I think they’ll do that. Once they do, who cares what else happens?

By the way-spare me the “maybe it was good for the young players to see the Rays celebrate in front of them” stuff, MASN. Who freaking cares? Every player-old or young-wants to be able to pour champagne on their teammates. They don’t need to see it in front of them to understand that.

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Brad Bergesen had been pitching really well for awhile until that last night. 5IP, 5ER, 6H, 3BB, 2K. Not good. Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters doubled; but that was about it. Tough night for Adam Jones-he went 0-4 with a pair of K’s.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Trust me on that. Instead-look at Ancilla Tilia. We’ll still be here when you get back. (Thanks Macenstein!)

macenstein

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli & Bill Chastain say Andy MacPhail, Buck Showalter visited new Spring Training facility in Sarasota

Before we move on from the Birds, a couple of things…

-The Birds and Rays wrap up their 3 game series tonight in St. Petersburg. First pitch between Kevin Millwood and Jeff Niemann is at 7:10pm, the game can be seen on MASN2.

-Apparently they’re giving away 20,000 tickets at The Trop tonight. I’d settle for just having to ever see Dick Vitale again if I were a fan of the Rays.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland QB Jamarr Robinson “limited”, Danny O’Brien likely to start against Duke

My gut feeling is that this is for the best. The longer Jamarr Robinson can’t play because he’s still recovering, the easier it is for Ralph Friedgen to move Danny O’Brien into the starting QB role long term.

Really, I don’t care WHO plays quarterback. Just don’t lose to the Blue Devils. Not again anyway…

9. The Sun says Cincinnati Associate AD Mike Waddell to be named Athletic Director at Towson today

Here’s what former Bearcats LB Brad Jackson said about the news when we passed it along on Twitter yesterday…

“Towson will definately be better with Michael Waddell as A.D.! He was huge in taking Cincy to next level!”

I hope he’s right.

10. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Hegarty says 1998 Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner dead at 15

In other horse racing news, former Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra has been retired from racing and will be bred to another great champion in Curlin. Must be a nice life there-Curlin.

In other news that’s much more significant to me-here’s a picture of Selita Ebanks. (Thanks Guyism!)

ebanks

And finally, I leave you with this.

Here’s the Katy Perry SNL “Sesame Street” spoof everyone is talking about. Now I’ve passed it along…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qP81EElmWY[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Accomplishment of 2nd Straight Playoff Trip Can’t Go Unnoticed

Posted on 03 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

I understand why the excitement isn’t what it was a season ago.

A season ago, the Baltimore Ravens began the season with a rookie QB, a first year head coach and no expectations; which made a return to the playoffs particularly sweet for fans throughout Charm City.

But entering this season, last year’s run to the AFC Championship Game lead many fans to adopt a “Super Bowl or bust” type motto. Amazingly, the Ravens will be one of just 12 teams who will be alive in the race for the Vince Lombardi Trophy come Monday morning-despite the “I’m not sure they even belong” attitude a number of fans have adopted.

There’s reason for the less than enthusiastic emotions that fans in town have adopted. This Ravens team has been less than overwhelming this season-beating just one playoff team (San Diego in Week 2) en route to clinching a Wild Card berth against the Raiders Sunday in Oakland. The Ravens finished the season with 6 straight losses against teams who qualified for postseason play, and mixed in a loss to the Steelers-who will miss the playoffs despite posting a record equal to the 9-7 mark the Ravens posted this season. Joe Flacco appeared to regress in his 2nd season, and John Harbaugh made the type of mental mistakes that coaches probably SHOULDN’T make in their second season. The Ravens’ Wide Receivers have been troubling, and their secondary has been terrible at times.

The remarkable thing about all of this is that all of the problems the Ravens have been forced to overcome have happened during a season in which they reached the playoffs for a 2nd straight year for only the 2nd time in franchise history.

There’s a slew of players and coaches around the NFL who aren’t going to be participating in a 2nd straight postseason. The list includes Matt Ryan, Mike Smith, Tony Sparano, Brett Favre, Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Marvin Lewis, Tony Romo, Wade Phillips, Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Jeff Fisher, Chris Johnson, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Drew Brees, Sean Payton and John Fox. (Others-like Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Singletary and more will fail to reach even a single postseason over the 24 month span.)

Get the point?

Reaching the postseason in back to back seasons is a MAJOR accomplishment. The Ravens will be able to make money, gain exposure and build on their franchise history over at least the next week if not the next month. It will be remarkably difficult for them to go to Foxborough and beat the Patriots, but they might. Whether or not they do, they will have had an outstanding season.

It doesn’t change the problems this team faces. They will still need to overhaul their receivers in the offseason-but they will be doing it in an offseason where they are coming off a 2nd straight trip to the playoffs. The Steelers can’t say the same thing about their secondary overhaul this offseason.

It’s a big deal.

It’ll be a bigger deal if they’re still alive in 7 days.

-G

(If you’d like to join us at Gillette Stadium next Saturday, click the “Trips” tab at WNST.net)

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Live from Owings Mills: Ravens Eyeing Major Showdown with “Arch Rivals”

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

5:51- INJURY REPORT – Ravens:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
OT Jared Gaither (foot)
LB Tavares Gooden (groin)
LS Matt Katula (forearm)
S Ed Reed (groin)

LIMITED:
C Matt Birk (neck)
WR Mark Clayton (knee)
S KJ Gerard (thigh)
TE Todd Heap (chest)
LB Jarret Johnson (knee)
DT Haloti Ngata (ankle)
DT Kelly Talavou (knee)
WR Kelley Washington (ankle)

FULL:
TE LJ Smith (ankle)

Steelers:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE:
DE Brett Keisel (neck)
CB Anthony Madison (illness)
RB Willie Parker (knee)
S Troy Polamalu (knee)
WR Hines Ward (hamstring)

LIMITED:
CB Keenan Lewis (back)
RB Rashard Mendenhall (hip)
WR Mike Wallace (knee)

Troy Polamalu reportedly told the media in Pittsburgh that he did not expect to play Sunday.

1:59-The one major thing I took away from media availability today was the way the players downplayed the significance of the fact that the Ravens were playing their biggest rivals-instead pointing out the significance of the game alone.

Ray Lewis even described the Steelers as the “next team on the schedule.”

Clearly the players were very willing to discuss their AFC North rivals at length, and didn’t hide from how well they knew each other-but they appeared to be much more focused on the fact that they feel like they need to win out to have a chance to make the playoffs.

1:35-The Ravens have confirmed that LS Nick Sundberg was signed to their practice squad. Clearly this is an insurance policy for a struggling Matt Katula.

Mark Clayton (hamstring/knee), Kelley Washington (ankle) and KJ Gerard (thigh) were all practicing today. Jared Gaither (foot) and Ed Reed (foot/groin/hip/etc.) were NOT-Harbs confirmed earlier today the story that Reed had gone back to Florida for further evaluation. I did not notice Tavares Gooden (groin) at practice either.

For the quickest updates, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST). I have quotes from Harbaugh, etc. coming up-and already posted quotes from Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin; who held conference calls with the local media.

1:13-Some quick stuff, as practice is coming up:

Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
OT Michael Oher
LB Ray Lewis
LB Terrell Suggs
CB Corey Ivy
CB Chris Carr

Also, John Harbaugh announced Domonique Foxworth was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

There is a Long Snapper in the locker room by the name of Nick Sundberg. He’s a rookie out of Cal who was with the Carolina Panthers earlier in the season. No word on whether he’s been signed to the practice squad or is just a tryout guy. As soon as I get an update, I will let you know. Matt Katula had another tough week against the Bears Sunday, but John Harbaugh defended him; and said he doesn’t believe his elbow is still hurt.

11:14-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Baltimore Ravens are back at work today in preparation for Sunday’s showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. We all know about the AFC Wild Card implications of the game, as the Ravens will actually have the chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday should other games around the AFC go their way.

We are scheduled to hear from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Derrick Mason and more today. The Ravens made two roster moves yesterday-signing CB Corey Ivy to replace Lardarius Webb (IR-ACL injury), and signing S Kevin Fitzhugh off the New York Jets’ practice squad to replace release CB Marcus Paschal.

Be back shortly.

-G

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As Things Fall in Place for Ravens, Defining Game Looms

Posted on 20 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

For the 2nd straight week, the Baltimore Ravens DOMINATED a NFC North opponent en route to an easy victory.

For the 2nd straight week, other teams in the AFC did what they could to help the Ravens improve their chances of clinching a Wild Card berth.

And for the 2nd straight week, the Ravens will know that a big win means only as much as what they do the following Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens were particularly impressive Sunday in routing the Chicago Bears 31-7 on a M&T Bank Stadium field that hardly appeared to have been ravaged by a blizzard just 24 hours earlier. The Ravens’ dominance was especially impressive via the air, as Joe Flacco was 21/29 for 234 yards and 4 TD’s while his counterpart Jay Cutler was 10/24 for 94 yards and 2 INT’s.

Combine that effort with losses by the Jaguars (Thursday night), Dolphins (in overtime to the Titans), Jets (thanks to a late Matt Ryan-Tony Gonzalez TD) and Broncos (Jamarcus Russell, really?); and the Ravens find themselves atop the race for the Wild Card spots in the AFC. They are remarkably still alive in the AFC North race, just a game (and a tiebreaker) behind the Bengals thanks to Cincinnati’s loss in San Diego.

And while the Ravens should certainly feel good about the position they find themselves in, they can’t afford to get overconfident. Taking another step towards a playoff berth now continues at Heinz Field, where John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco have never won.

Next Sunday’s trip to Pittsburgh is absolutely winnable for this Ravens team. This is a team that snapped a 3 game losing streak to the Steelers on November 29 with a 20-17 win. Of course, that was with Ben Roethlisberger sidelined and Dennis Dixon playing. They almost certainly won’t have the same luxury a week from now. But beyond that, the Steelers’ secondary has been awful, and their offensive line hasn’t been much better. If there were ever a time when the Ravens were primed to go to the Steel City and win, this would be pretty close to it. And they know it.

Todd Heap said the Ravens started talking about Pittsburgh while they were still in the locker room after the win over the Bears. John Harbaugh was quick to point out that “the players brought it up.” Although he added on that the Ravens knew the task they faced playing their “arch rival”, adding the Steelers will “be excited to play us.”

Derrick Mason mentioned the win Sunday was “all for nothing” without a win over the Steelers to back it up. He’s right. The Ravens are a loss to Pittsburgh away from finding themselves in such a muddled playoff picture that they may have needed Troy Smith to score some points at the end of the game to help improve their overall score differential. They’re a loss in Pittsburgh away from doing not only scoreboard watching, but calculator watching. They’re a loss in Pittsburgh away from needing rosaries and prayer as much as needing touchdowns as practice.

And while the Steelers are as beatable as most of us can remember, they’re equally as primed for a MAJOR win. Not that I have to explain that to you, as I’m sure you saw the end of their 37-36 victory over the Packers. They sit at 7-7, and they’re just one win over the Ravens away from entering the cluster of teams who could have real Wild Card chances entering the final week of the season. Not that Mike Tomlin would even need that to have them ready to face Ray Lewis and company.

It’s akin to Ohio State-Michigan with a BCS berth in the balance. Or Yankees-Red Sox in the final week with the AL East crown undecided. Duke-Carolina with the ACC still in the balance. Well, maybe not quite (since the AFC North is completely out of the picture for Pittsburgh and a long shot for Baltimore); but it will have that feeling.

It’s really everything you can ask for in the NFL.

Ravens players have been asked frequently this season “what kind of team are you?” Or “how would you define this team?”

In 7 days, they’ll have their answer.

-G

———————————–

CB/KR Lardarius Webb suffered what appeared to be a season-ending leg injury. John Harbaugh said the team won’t know for sure until Monday, but he’s “not optimistic.” Mutiple players (including Ray Lewis) spoke as if Lardarius was done for the year.
Chris Carr and Frank Walker would be the players who would have the most pressure placed on them with Webb out. John Harbaugh eliminated the chances of the Ravens signing Chris McAlister earlier in the season, but there is no doubt his name will come up again this week.

Jay Cutler’s passer rating (7.9) was the lowest EVER for an opposing QB against the Ravens.

Hear from the following NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net:
Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
WR Demetrius Williams
TE Todd Heap
LB Ray Lewis
CB Domonique Foxworth
CB Chris Carr

Domonique Foxworth is scheduled to join Drew Forrester tomorrow morning at 9:40am on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 WNST.

Ray Rice reached 100 yards of offense for the 11th time this season. (87 rushing, 17 receiving, 104 overall.)

Joe Flacco’s 4 passing TD’s were the most he’s thrown in a single game in his young career.

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With Big Ben & Polamalu out, no excuses for Ravens tonight

Posted on 29 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As we all now know, the Steelers will play tonight’s game here in Baltimore without their two best players, with the late subtraction of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger joining safety Troy Polamalu in the black and gold infirmary.

It is not lost on any Ravens fan that tonight it’s clearly: advantage Baltimore.

Big Ben, as ‘yins from ‘donton affectionately call him, has been poison for anything in purple since he entered the league. He is the Ravens kryptonite. Polamalu’s interception of Joe Flacco in Pittsburgh last January must be considered the most heartbreaking play in the history of the franchise.

I don’t think I need to remind you that the Ravens are on a three-game losing streak to our friendly neighbors from the northwest.

Or that this is their first appearance on Baltimore turf since hoisting a second Lombardi Trophy to the Tampa skies last Febuary.

Or that, at 5-5, a loss to the Steelers tonight will effectively end the Ravens season.

I hate the Steelers. You hate the Steelers.

Let’s hope that attitude — and a few first downs and quarterback pressures along with some goofy white towels we’ll all be waving — are enough to keep the Ravens season alive tonight.

I get the feeling we’ll be feeling the loss of Fabian Washington more than we realize — just like when Chris McAlister went away two years ago — but there are no excuses for a Ravens loss tonight.

We can’t cry about Terrell Suggs not suiting up (of course, John Harbaugh has played the cat and mouse injury report game all week with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.)

Flacco needs to be crisp and sharp. Billy Cundiff can’t miss field goals. Matt Katula needs to snap straight. The offensive line can’t create pre-snap penalties. The defensive front seven must make Dennis Dixon run for his life like the rookie quarterback he is tonight.

The game is on national television. It can’t be a coming out party for some guy from Oregon we’ve never heard of.

The only thing worse than losing to the Steelers at home to effectively end our season with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving would be the thought that it happened at the hands of some guy named Dennis Dixon putting on a black and gold cape.

A disturbing thought.

Let’s hope we don’t go there…

The Ravens must win tonight.

My updated prediction: Ravens 34, Steelers 9

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Blog & Tackle: Roethlisberger may sit out Sunday

Posted on 27 November 2009 by Chris Pika

According to Jason LaCanfora of NFL Network, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger may sit out Sunday night’s game vs. the Ravens as a precaution coming off a concussion suffered last Sunday at Kansas City.

According to LaCanfora’s report, Roethlisberger told Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin he fears taking another blow to the head so soon after being knocked from a game, and will make a final decision on his playing status on Saturday morning.

If Roethlisberger can’t go, the Steelers could be in a bind since backup Charlie Batch injured his left wrist and is listed as out for Sunday’s game. The only other QB on Pittsburgh’s roster is Tyler Palko, signed to the practice squad this week. The Steelers did try out a couple of veteran QBs – Todd Bouman and Patrick Ramsey – late this week.

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