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Jaguars castoffs have found greener pastures in Baltimore

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Jaguars castoffs have found greener pastures in Baltimore

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A year ago at this time, Justin Forsett had just been placed on injured reserve and knew his NFL career was at a crossroads after carrying the ball just six times in an injury-plagued season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

No one could have predicted how dramatically his career would change as the Ravens running back enters Sunday’s game against his old team ranked third in the NFL in rushing and leading all running backs with a 5.6 yards per carry average. His 14 runs of 20 or more yards lead the league and are more than the Jaguars have — along with 28 other teams — this season.

But the 29-year-old can’t help but think about how far he’s come from being an afterthought on one of the NFL’s worst franchises to becoming a standout performer for an 8-5 Ravens team targeting a playoff spot.

“The writing was kind of on the wall when I was at the bottom of the depth chart and on injured reserve,” said Forsett about his lone season in Jacksonville. “I wasn’t really surprised, but it was still a hard pill to swallow knowing that you’ve been cut and [you] didn’t know what the future was going to hold. But I just kept the faith, kept working, and this opportunity came up.”

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley doesn’t express regret — to be fair, not even the Ravens expected a 1,000-yard season from the journeyman back — but shared his admiration for a player who’s always been respected as a hard worker and good teammate. Those traits have drawn the Ravens to three Jacksonville castoffs in the last two years as Forsett only followed the 2013 additions of linebacker Daryl Smith, the Jaguars’ all-time leading tackler, and left tackle Eugene Monroe.

All three now start for the Ravens, who have a 2014 win total (eight) that matches the number of games the Jaguars have won in the last three seasons combined.

“Just because I know him so well, it’s more excitement for him,” said Bradley, who also spent time with Forsett when he was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. “He’s so deserving of it — what he brings to the locker room, what he brings to the team. I am just excited for what he’s brought to Baltimore.”

Bradley also spoke highly of Smith and Monroe as the former never played for the current Jaguars coach while Monroe was dealt to the Ravens last October, several months after Jacksonville had drafted offensive tackle Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick. The Jaguars received fourth- and fifth-round draft picks from Baltimore, which were then parlayed into three players this past May. The Jaguars decided to part ways with Smith as a result of desiring more youth at the linebacker position while Monroe was entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Smith and Monroe both received long-term deals from the Ravens this past offseason, showing how much general manager Ozzie Newsome thought of their play in their first season in Baltimore.

Though slowed by a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery earlier this season, Monroe has stabilized the left tackle spot and has acknowledged feeling revitalized with the Ravens after winning only 22 games in five seasons with Jacksonville. The winning atmosphere was a reason why he signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract to remain in Baltimore.

“I don’t know if [being in the playoff hunt] makes you a better player, but it certainly forces you to zero in on everything your job requires,” said Monroe, who downplayed the significance of facing his former team because of so much roster turnover in the last year or two. “It’s going to be crucial at this point of the year being fundamentally sound and being physical. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

Forsett, Smith, and Monroe escaped what many would describe as football purgatory to find greener pastures in Baltimore. The veteran running back’s emergence has received the national headlines while making Ray Rice’s on-field presence a distant memory. Smith has helped bridge the gap at the inside linebacker from the Ray Lewis era and has mentored rookie standout C.J. Mosley, and Monroe has effectively protected quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside to end unrest at his position that had existed for years.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars continue to try to find their way as an organization that hasn’t produced a winning season since 2007.

None of the three have offered any ill will over the Jaguars’ decision to move on, but their arrival has paid major dividends for the Ravens as they pursue their sixth postseason appearance in seven years.

“No resentment, because all of the pain and the hurt I may have felt during that time, it made me a better man,” Forsett said. “Those dark moments, those times of frustration — they happen for a reason. I’m definitely a better man today because of it. Those times really molded me.”

The Ravens have also been better for it.

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Torrey Smith, two others sit out Wednesday’s practice

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Torrey Smith, two others sit out Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Hitting the practice field for the first time since their crucial win in Miami, the Ravens were only missing one starter from Wednesday’s practice as they turn their attention toward the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith (right knee), tight end Crockett Gillmore (back), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) were not working during the portion of practice open to media. Smith and Taliaferro were not present as the Ravens practiced on the turf field in their field house, but Gillmore was observing from the sideline.

With Smith still recovering from a sprained knee suffered two weeks ago that limited him to just 15 snaps in the 28-13 win over the Dolphins, his status is up in the air as the Ravens face 2-11 Jacksonville at M&T Bank Stadium.

The good news was the presence of running back Justin Forsett (knee) and cornerback Anthony Levine (concussion) during Wednesday’s practice. Forsett only practiced one day last week leading into the Miami game while Levine left Sunday’s contest with a head injury in the first quarter. Levine was a limited participant on Wednesday, making it unclear if he’s yet been cleared after entering the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Newly-signed veteran cornerback Antoine Cason was present after signing with the Ravens on Tuesday. He will wear No. 23, a jersey number last worn by cornerback Chykie Brown earlier this season.

Wednesday brought much worse news for the Jaguars as starting running back Denard Robinson was ruled out for the rest of the season with sprained foot. Former Ravens wide receiver Tommy Streeter (abdominal) was a limited participant.

Below is Wednesday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Crockett Gilmore (back), WR Torrey Smith (knee), RB Lorenzo Talliaferro (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Anthony Levine (concussion)

JACKSONVILLE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Andre Branch (groin), LB Khairi Fortt (hamstring), RB Denard Robinson (foot)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Toby Gerhart (ankle), WR Tommy Streeter (abdominal)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Blake Bortles (right shoulder), DE Chris Clemons (knee), S Josh Evans (finger), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle)

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Dumervil named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

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Dumervil named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Luke Jones

Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his record-setting performance in the 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

His 3 1/2 sacks pushed his 2014 total to 16, giving him the franchise’s single-season record that had been held by Peter Boulware since 2001. The 30-year-old is currently tied with Kansas City’s Justin Houston for the NFL lead in sacks and is one shy of his career high of 17 set in 2009.

“It was one of the reasons I wanted to come here because of the proud defensive [tradition] that has been here – Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Peter Boulware, those guys,” Dumervil said. “To be a part of something like that, it’s humbling. It’s been very special, and I’m truly grateful for that.”

Not only is Dumervil turning in one of the finest defensive seasons in the 19-year history of the franchise, but his performance in 2014 has catapulted him into the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. With the Ravens ranked 31st in pass defense, there’s no understating how critical the pass rush has been to Baltimore’s success and Dumervil has been one of the biggest reasons why.

Dumervil is the first Raven to take home Defensive Player of the Week honors this season, but running back Justin Forsett (twice) and quarterback Joe Flacco have receive AFC Offensive Player of the Week recognition and kicker Justin Tucker has received AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Linebacker C.J. Mosley was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for October while Tucker was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November.

Signed two offseasons ago after being released by the Denver Broncos, Dumervil has collected 25 1/2 sacks in 28 games with Baltimore.

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Ravens nominate Torrey Smith for 2014 NFL Sportsmanship Award

Posted on 09 December 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The 32 player nominees for the first NFL Sportsmanship Award have been finalized, the NFL announced today. Each NFL team nominated one of its players for the award, which will recognize annually NFL players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.

The winner of the NFL Sportsmanship Award will be determined by a vote of current NFL players. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will select from the 32 nominees eight finalists (four in the AFC; four in the NFC). The panel is comprised of WARRICK DUNN, CURTIS MARTIN, KARL MECKLENBURG and LEONARD WHEELER.

The eight finalists will be listed on the Pro Bowl ballot under the NFL Sportsmanship Award when the players vote on December 19. From the eight finalists, each team’s players will submit a consensus vote of its choice for the winner. As in Pro Bowl voting, a team cannot vote for its own player.

The award will be presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.

The winner selected by the vote of the players will be announced during the nationally televised “4th Annual NFL Honors” show on Saturday, January 31 on NBC, the night before Super Bowl XLIX. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice. He also will be presented with a trophy that will capture the important role that sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players that demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models for other players at all levels.

 

2014 NFL SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD NOMINEES

 

TEAM NOMINEE
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald
Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson
Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith
Buffalo Bills WR Chris Hogan
Cincinnati Bengals CB Terence Newman
Carolina Panthers LB Thomas Davis
Chicago Bears RB Matt Forté
Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden
Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten
Denver Broncos DE DeMarcus Ware
Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson
Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt
Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton
Jacksonville Jaguars DT Roy Miller III
Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith
Miami Dolphins DE Cameron Wake
Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway
New England Patriots WR/ST Matthew Slater
New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston
New York Giants LB Jameel McClain
New York Jets T D’Brickashaw Ferguson
Oakland Raiders S Charles Woodson
Philadelphia Eagles LB Connor Barwin
Pittsburgh Steelers S Troy Polamalu
San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates
San Francisco 49ers LB Patrick Willis
Seattle Seahawks LB K.J. Wright
St. Louis Rams DE Robert Quinn
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy
Tennessee Titans S George Wilson
Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark

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Ravens add veteran cornerback Cason for stretch run

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Ravens add veteran cornerback Cason for stretch run

Posted on 09 December 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens made their latest roster move in the secondary with the addition of veteran cornerback Antoine Cason on Tuesday.

Cason joins the Ravens a week after he was cut by the Carolina Panthers. The 2008 first-round pick out of Arizona will take the roster spot of cornerback Danny Gorrer, who was officially placed on season-ending injured reserve with two torn knee ligaments suffered in the Week 14 win over Miami.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound cornerback played in 12 games (11 starts) for the Panthers this season, collecting 58 tackles, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and six pass breakups. He spent his first five seasons with San Diego and the 2013 campaign with the Arizona Cardinals.

Cason played against the Ravens in Week 4, collecting two tackles as the Panthers fell 38-10 at M&T Bank Stadium.

In 108 career games, the 28-year-old Cason has accumulated 380 tackles, 16 interceptions, 64 pass breakups, and eight forced fumbles.

In other moves, the Ravens signed wide receiver Aldrick Robinson and tight end Allen Reisner to their practice squad and cut Baltimore native and wide receiver LaQuan Williams. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson was signed off the Ravens’ practice squad by the Buffalo Bills and will join their 53-man roster.

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Ravens cornerback Gorrer lost for season after suffering knee injury

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Ravens cornerback Gorrer lost for season after suffering knee injury

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens secondary has taken another hit with the season-ending knee injury suffered by cornerback Danny Gorrer in Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins.

Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Monday that the 28-year-old suffered tears to the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee that will require surgery. Gorrer will become the fourth Ravens cornerback to be placed on injured reserve this season, joining starter Jimmy Smith (foot), veteran Aaron Ross (Achilles tendon), and rookie Tramain Jacobs (thigh). Asa Jackson was activated from IR-designated to return on Saturday following a two-month absence due to a turf toe injury.

Gorrer was in the midst of his second tenure with the Ravens after being claimed off waivers from Detroit on Nov. 4. The 28-year-old played in four games with Baltimore, recording 17 tackles and an interception, while primarily playing in the nickel package.

“Danny came in there and just did a heck of a job, and your heart goes out to him,” Harbaugh said. “He’s playing better and better every week. He’s playing as a starter, and he played really well. He was only getting better.”

The Ravens are in better position to absorb Gorrer’s loss with Jackson returning to action after missing seven games. The 2012 fifth-round pick started against the Dolphins and played 40 of 57 defensive snaps.

Jackson recorded one tackle in his first game since Oct. 5.

“He was good and solid,” Harbaugh said. “He’d get a little over-reactive at times. He jumped a few thing and got a little overanxious — he’d be the first to tell you that — but that’s a good thing because he was moving around so well. He’ll slow himself down a little bit this next game, but he played well.”

Cornerback Anthony Levine remains in the concussion protocol after suffering a head injury early in Sunday’s game and not returning. With his status uncertain, the Ravens will likely offer more reps to young cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who was signed last month but has yet to be active for a game.

Harbaugh said a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed no structural damage to rookie Crockett Gillmore’s back, calling the injury “muscular” after the third-round pick missed his first game of the season in Miami.

The head coach also said starting running back Justin Forsett “seemed good” after being slowed by a knee injury last week and carrying 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown. However, rookie back Lorenzo Taliaferro is dealing with a sprain in the foot and ankle area and is considered “day-to-day” in Harbaugh’s words.

 

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Torrey Smith’s status uncertain for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville

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Torrey Smith’s status uncertain for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Perhaps the most concerning development to arise from the Ravens’ critical 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins was the status of wide receiver Torrey Smith.

After his right knee swelled up during pre-game warmups on Sunday, the fourth-year wideout was limited to just 15 snaps and failed to record a reception while younger wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown picked up the slack in his absence. With the 8-5 Ravens now preparing to play 2-11 Jacksonville on Sunday, it’s possible that the medical staff will be cautious with Smith with an eye toward him being closer to 100 percent for the final two games of the regular season and a potential trip to the postseason.

“Torrey does not have any torn things in his knee. He’s got a sprain,” head coach John Harbaugh said on Monday. “We’ll just have to monitor that day to day and see if he makes it to the game. He made it to the last game — he didn’t damage it any further — but he just wasn’t able to be 100 percent. I think we all appreciate him gutting it out and giving us what he had. He showed a lot of toughness there in that situation.”

Of course, medical experts will tell you a sprain is a tear, but it’s believed that the 25-year-old isn’t dealing with a significant injury since the Ravens cleared him to play against the Dolphins before the knee flared up during warmups. Taking a more conservative approach against the Jaguars would make sense considering the Ravens will be facing one of the worst teams in the NFL at M&T Bank Stadium.

Smith has never missed a game in his career, but it was the second time this season he’s failed to record a reception with the first coming in a loss at Cincinnati on Oct. 26. It was clear from the early going Sunday that he was going to be used as little more than a decoy against one of the league’s better pass defenses entering Week 14.

Against the Dolphins, second-year receiver Kamar Aiken played 46 of 65 offensive snaps and caught six passes for 65 yards and a 13-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The Ravens also turned more frequently to 6-foot-5 target Marlon Brown, who played 33 snaps and caught three passes for 30 yards. Veteran Steve Smith led all Ravens targets with seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.

In the final year of his rookie contract, Torrey Smith leads the Ravens with eight touchdown catches and has collected 38 receptions for 609 yards after a slow start to the 2014 campaign.

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Ravens control own path in returning to playoffs

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Ravens control own path in returning to playoffs

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Luke Jones

After securing their biggest win of the season to prevent their playoff hopes from becoming a faint dream, the Ravens now have their path to the postseason staring them directly in the face.

The 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins puts Baltimore in a position where three consecutive wins to close the regular season will guarantee a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. The Ravens currently stand seventh in the AFC playoff hunt, but the Week 17 rematch between current No. 4 seed Cincinnati and No. 5 seed Pittsburgh — who owns a better division record than the Ravens — guarantees they would leapfrog one of their AFC North foes should they handle their own business over the final three weeks of December.

“We’re pleased with the fact we’re in the hunt, that we control our own destiny,” head coach John Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. “You can ask for more, but boy, it’s a great accomplishment to be in that position right now. It’s just our job to make the most of it, and our guys are very aware of that. They really are. Our guys are really tuned into the fact that it’s in their hands, and it’s our responsibility to get the job done.”

Of course, the Ravens still have a chance to take the division if they win out and both the Bengals and the Steelers lose at least one game down the stretch. So, how realistic is that outcome?

It’s very difficult envisioning 2-11 Jacksonville giving the Ravens too much trouble in Baltimore this Sunday, but a Week 16 trip to Houston won’t be easy as the Texans are currently in the best shape of the 7-6 teams due to a superior conference record and have won three of their last four games. Should Baltimore get by Houston, a Week 17 meeting with the Browns is never one to overlook, but the game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, giving the Ravens a distinct edge.

As for the Bengals, a road trip to Cleveland on Sunday and a Monday night home game against Denver in Week 16 will be dangerous to navigate before their regular-season finale in Pittsburgh. The Steelers travel to Atlanta — who will be coming off a short week following a Monday night road game — this Sunday and host Kansas City in Week 16 before welcoming the Bengals to Heinz Field for the season finale. Pittsburgh would win the division by winning its final three games.

It’s nearly impossible trying to predict the fate of these three AFC North teams who have been up and down at various times this season, but the Ravens’ ability to take care of business in Miami makes their objective clear.

Win out and they’re in the playoffs.

Another loss and they again find themselves looking around to see how others are faring.

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Cornerbacks Levine, Gorrer leave Sunday’s game with injuries

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Cornerbacks Levine, Gorrer leave Sunday’s game with injuries

Posted on 07 December 2014 by Luke Jones

On a day when cornerback Asa Jackson returned following a two-month absence from a toe injury, the Ravens lost two more cornerbacks in their 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Anthony Levine left in the first quarter with a concussion while Danny Gorrer was carted off the field with a knee injury in the fourth quarter. Neither backup cornerback returned as the Ravens finished the game with just two active cornerbacks who were healthy — Jackson and veteran Lardarius Webb.

The injuries forced defensive coordinator Dean Pees to use safety Matt Elam extensively at the nickel against the Dolphins.

Head coach John Harbaugh had no update on either player’s status after the game. Young cornerback Rashaan Melvin was deactivated prior to the game, and rookie free agent Tramain Jacobs was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Saturday.

The Ravens were also without starting wide receiver Torrey Smith for most of the game after his knee swelled up during pre-game warmups. Listed as probable on the final injury report after practicing fully on Friday, the fourth-year wideout limped through his pre-game routine and played sparingly, finishing without a catch.

“We worked him out pre-game and he looked pretty good,” Harbaugh told reporters in Miami after the game. “Then we came out for pre-game right before the game and his knee swelled up and it really tightened up on him. We had already activated him, and he really couldn’t go.”

With Smith essentially out of the picture, the Ravens primarily turned to Kamar Aiken, who turned in a career day with six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Marlon Brown added three catches for 30 yards in his return from last week’s concussion.

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Harbaugh’s bold move sets attitude for Ravens’ season-saving win

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Harbaugh’s bold move sets attitude for Ravens’ season-saving win

Posted on 07 December 2014 by Luke Jones

John Harbaugh may not be a prophet, but he offered a glimpse into a head coach’s mindset for making difficult in-game choices six days prior to the Ravens’ season-saving 28-13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

That decision-making process played out again early in the third quarter Sunday as the Ravens trailed 10-7 and faced fourth-and-1 at their own 35-yard line. Instead of sending his punting unit onto the field as most coaches would do in such a spot, Harbaugh decided the Ravens would go for it and threw caution to the wind.

And that’s where his response last Monday when questioned about using a timeout before kicking a late field goal in the disappointing loss to San Diego rang loud and clear.

“‘In retrospect,’ you’d always like to do something different if it doesn’t work out,” Harbaugh said. “But in the heat of battle, you do the best you can, you make the decision that you make — the one that you think is best at the time.

“We did the best we could; it wasn’t good enough. I didn’t do well enough making those decisions enough to win the game in the end. And that’s the reality — just take responsibility for it and move on.”

There’s no doubt that Harbaugh would have been facing a mountain of criticism had quarterback Joe Flacco been stuffed at the line of scrimmage and the Ravens not moved down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown and eventually win the game. Numbers-savvy fans and statistical analysts will tell you going for it in such a situation isn’t the risk it seems, but they’re not the ones on the sideline and potentially facing the wrath of the owner, general manager, media, and fans if the decision blows up in their face.

It’s a risk many wouldn’t have taken — especially when Baltimore was stuffed on two short-yardage situations in the first half — but no one knows the Ravens’ pulse in Week 14 better than Harbaugh following a difficult defeat to the Chargers last Sunday and this week’s news of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata being suspended for the rest of the regular season. After weathering a miserable start in the first half and his Ravens only trailing by three, Harbaugh’s bold move made it clear he didn’t want to surrender the momentum gained with a touchdown late in the second quarter and the Dolphins punting on the opening possession of the third quarter.

In a game the Ravens described all week as a must-win affair, Harbaugh’s decision illustrated the desperation of the day. And perhaps it was the lift his team needed to put a trying first half in the rear-view mirror.

The fourth-down conversion to continue the drive that culminated with Flacco’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Kamar Aiken set the attitude for a dominating finish and a crucial victory in Miami.

Of course, the Ravens had begun to awaken before Harbaugh’s fourth-down gamble as Flacco bounced back from throwing one of his worst interceptions of the season to lead the Ravens down the field for a 97-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown to Steve Smith with two seconds left in the first half. That connection came after Smith had dropped a perfectly-thrown pass in the end zone a play before Flacco’s ugly turnover.

The Baltimore signal-caller was superb after his end-zone miscue midway through the second quarter, completing 18 of 23 passes for 200 yards and two touchdown passes the rest of the way as he finished with 269 yards.

But Flacco wasn’t alone as a running game playing with a hobbled Justin Forsett came alive in the fourth quarter, rushing 14 times for 107 yards in the final 15 minutes. Forsett finished with 71 yards, Bernard Pierce chipped in three carries for 50 yards in the fourth quarter, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro added 35 more yards on the day.

A Baltimore defense that surrendered 10 points in its first two series settled down and began swarming Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the pocket to the tune of six sacks and nine quarterback hits, much of that pressure coming in the second half when Miami managed just three points. Elvis Dumervil collected 3 1/2 sacks to set the Ravens’ single-season record with 16 through 13 games, eclipsing Peter Boulware’s mark set in 2001.

Despite some leaky run defense early, the Ravens hardly seemed to miss Ngata as the Dolphins ran for only 63 yards on 16 carries.

A secondary that lost reserve cornerbacks Anthony Levine and Danny Gorrer to injuries will remain a concern for the rest of the season, but the unit wasn’t nearly the same liability with the Ravens consistently collapsing the pocket and harassing Tannehill.

The Ravens answered the bell without the services of a healthy Torrey Smith, who was held without a catch in limited action. With the fourth-year wideout’s knee swelling up during pre-game warmups, Aiken contributed six receptions for 65 yards, Marlon Brown caught three passes for 30 yards, and even the recently-promoted tight end Phillip Supernaw added a 29-yard reception to set up a Forsett touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

It was a team effort as the Ravens awoke from a painfully slow start to dispose of the Dolphins and move just a half-game behind first-place Cincinnati in the AFC North.

There’s no way of knowing whether the Ravens would have won had Harbaugh elected to punt early in the third quarter or if they’d failed to convert on fourth-and-1, but Baltimore didn’t look back from the point Flacco surged forward to move the chains.

Whether you viewed it as the prudent choice or a foolish risk, Harbaugh’s bold move worked out and set the tone for the remainder of the game.

The Ravens responded by dominating the rest of the way to earn a critical win in the AFC playoff landscape.

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