Tag Archive | "san diego"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Morgan begins LMU Holiday Classic play Thursday night

Posted on 26 December 2012 by WNST Staff

Game Dates: Dec. 27 & 29, 2012
Opponent: Loyola Marymount, San Diego
Site: Los Angeles, Calif./San Diego, Calif.
Game Time: LMU 7 p.m. (PT)/San Diego 7:30 p.m. (PT)
MSU Coach: Todd Bozeman (114-90 – 7th yr)
Websites: MorganStateBears.com/ LMULions.com/USDToreros.com

BALTIMORE, Md. — Morgan State men’s basketball team will play a pair of holiday games on the west coast just before the New Year. The Loyola Marymount Lions will host Morgan State in the 2nd Annual LMU Holiday Classic on Thursday, Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. in Los Angeles, Calif. The Bears will also face the San Diego Toreros on Saturday, Dec. 29 as part of the Classic.

Bear Bits:

• After opening the season with a 71 point effort in a win against UTSA, the Bears have gone 3-5 while averaging 68 points and 45 percent shooting.

• Morgan State, who shot 67.6 percent from the line last season, continues to have hard times from the stripe … through the first eight games the Bears are shooting 59 percent (120-203 FT).

• The Bears, who held VMI to 9 of 32 from 3-point range, have allowed an average of 74.5 points and opponents are shooting 33 percent from 3-point territory.

• Morgan State shot a season-high 52.8 percent at South Carolina and a season best 65.0 percent from the stripe, with 11 steals.

• DeWayne Jackson has scored 119 points in eight games and ranks among the MEAC’s scoring leaders ranked No. 5 (14.9 ppg).

• One area where the Bears haven’t been inconsistent is under the basket. Morgan State ranks No. 3 in the league in total rebounding at 34.9 per game, No. 3 in offensive rebounds at 36.6 and No. 1 in field goal percentage at 45.6.

• Justin Black was just shy of posting a triple-double at Liberty. The junior guard finished with a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with nine points and nine assists … he enters the LMU Holiday Classic game looking to bounce back from a 2 point effort at Virginia.

• DeWayne Jackson is ranked among the top theft artists in school history. Jackson has collected 136 steals with the Bears steals with the Bears and currently ranks No. 5. The school record for career steals is held by Terrence Wright (1992-96) with 186 career steals … Jackson is 52 steals away from becoming the school’s new leader.

MORGAN STATE VS. LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 
Morgan State hold a 2-0 record against Loyola Marymount in school history. The Bears defeated the Lions 81-79 in the 2010-11 season-opener at Gersten Pavilion, and dropped LMU 69-45 at Hill Feild House on Dec. 27, 2011.

MORGAN STATE VS. THE WCC
Morgan State is 2-0 vs. the West Coast Conference by posting two wins against Loyola Marymount.

SCOUTING THE LIONS
The Lions welcome back eight veterans — three starters — from a squad that posted a 21-13 overall record, finished 4th in the WAC with a 11-5 mark. Anthony Ireland leads LMU averaging 20.3 points and is shooting 40 percent from 3-point territory. Ashley Hamilton is also averaging double-figures (14.4 ppg) and leads the squad on the boards with 7.7 rebounds. Head coach Max Good (Eastern Kentucky ’69) enters his fifth season as the Lions head coach and he currently holds a 58-82 record.

MORGAN STATE VS. SAN DIEGO 

Morgan State will play San Diego for the first time in school history.

SCOUTING THE TOREROS

The Toreros welcome back nine veterans — five starters — from a squad that posted a 13-18 overall record, finished 6th in the WCC with a 7-9 ledger.  Sophomore guard Johnny Dee leads San Diego averaging 14.3 points and is shooting 41 percent from 3-point territory. Senior forward Ken Rancifer is also averaging double-figures (10.2 ppg) and is averaging 5.0 rebounds. Head coach Bill Grier (Oregon ’90) enters his sixth season as the Toreros head coach and he currently holds a 74-101 record.
MORGAN STATE TABBED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL
Morgan State was picked to finish third in the 2012-13 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s basketball preseason poll behind Savannah State and Delaware State.

JACKSON AND CHILES EARN PRESEASON HONORS
Morgan State senior DeWayne Jackson was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Junior center Ian Chiles was selected to the Second Team.

UNFAMILIAR FOES
Morgan State will face six teams this season that the program has never met in its basketball history. The first time opponents are: UTSA, Old Dominion, Holy Cross, South Carolina, Illinois State and San Diego. The Bears do not see a familiar foe until the Nov. 29 matchup at Liberty (MSU leads, 1-0), their fifth game of the season. The other five opponents MSU previously has played are University of Virginia (trails, 0-1), Loyola Marymount (leads, 2-0), and Saint Joseph’s (trails, 0-1).

ROAD WARRIORS
Morgan State, which played its first eight games on the road, has won 17 of its past 30 games held away from Hill Field House, including a 1-2 mark on neutral courts. The Bears finished 5-10 in true road contests and 0-3 on neutral floors in 2011-12 and posted a 4-4 road conference ledger, which was its worst mark since Todd Bozeman took over the program in 2006. This season’s schedule will send MSU on the road for 10 of its first 11 games, including a six-game road trip from Nov. 29-Dec. 29 that features contests in three different time zones. The Bears are guaranteed at least 19 games away from home this season.

JACKSON SET TO LEAD
DeWayne Jackson is the lone returning senior who saw action for Morgan State last year. There are seven (7) juniors, four (4) sophomores and two (2) freshmen on the Bears roster.

RECOVERING THE SWAG
The Bears will look to rebound from last year’s dismal season in which the Bears recorded a 9-20 finish. It marked Todd Bozeman‘s worst season as a head coach, and it was Morgan State’s worst season since going 4-26 in 2005-06.

JACKSON AND CHILES EARN PRESEASON HONORS
Morgan State senior DeWayne Jackson was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Junior center Ian Chiles was selected to the Second Team.

JACKSON CLIMBING THE MSU RECORD BOOK
DeWayne Jackson (1,275, 422 rebs., 133 asts) needs just 18 points to surpass Jason McCoy (1,292 points – 1987-91) to become the school’s No. 12 all-time leading scorer. Jackson is one of three Bears on MSU’s all-time scoring list who have been coached by Todd BozemanKevin Thompson (2009-12) ranks No. 9 (1,487 points) and Reggie Holmes (2007-10) is the school’s all-time scoring leader with 2,051 points.

HOME GROWN
Morgan State has eight players from the Metropolitan-D.C. area, including one from Baltimore. Senior DeWayne Jackson (Bowie High) and sophomore Blake Bozeman (Solebury Prep) are both from Bowie. Transfer guard Daryl Traynham is from Melwood (Wise High), walk-on Daon Riley is from Severn (Old Mill High), and Cedric Blossom is from Columbia (Montrose Christian). Anthony Hubbard is a product of Woodbridge (Va.), while junior Justin Black attended DeMatha High and Donte Pretlow was a standout at Dunbar High in Baltimore.

BOZEMAN WIN PERCENTAGE AT MSU
Todd Bozeman, now in his seventh season as head coach of the Bears, has an overall win percentage of .561 (114-89) after 202 games at Morgan State. That winning mean is the second highest among 15 head coaches in the history of the Morgan State men’s basketball program. Nathaniel Frazier’s winning percentage of .578 (166-121) is the highest percentage in Morgan State history.
.
ALL-CONFERENCE SELECTIONS UNDER BOZEMAN
During his tenure in Baltimore, Todd Bozeman has coached seven (7) different players to All-Conference honors, including four Players of the Year selections: Ron Timus (2007 2nd Team), Boubacar Coly (2008 Defensive POTY, 1st Team), Jamar Smith (2008 Offensive POTY, 1st Team), Marquise Kately (2008 & 2009 2nd Team), Reggie Holmes (2007 All-Rookie, 2008 2nd Team, 2009 Offensive POTY, 2009 & 2010 1st Team), Kevin Thompson (2009 All-Rookie, 2010 Defensive POTY, 2010 1st Team, 2011 2nd Team), DeWayne Jackson (Rookie of the Year, 2011 1st Team).

THREE IN DOUBLE FIGURES
n the first eight games of the season, three Bears average more than 12 points a game. DeWayne Jackson leads the squad in offensively with 14.9 points per game and in steals with 2.5 rpg. Anthony Hubbard is contributing 13.9 ppg and Justin Black is averaging 12.1 ppg.

JACKSON DOING A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING EARLY ON
Senior DeWayne Jackson is filling the stat sheet in the early season, averaging 14.9 points (ranked No. 5), 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals (ranked No. 2) per game. Jackson has also registered three blocks. He has recorded seven double-digit scoring games, including a 32-point effort at Virginia (Dec. 19).

BLACK & DUNCAN ACTIVE OFF THE BENCH
Junior Justin Black and sophomore Shaquille Duncan are key contributors off the Bears bench. Both are high-energy players with the ability to ignite the team. Black played a big role in Morgan State’s win over Liberty by almost posting a triple-double. He finished the game with 12 rebounds, nine points and nine assists. He currently ranks third on the team in scoring (12.1) and is averaging 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 31.6 minutes per game.
Duncan has played in every game, averaging 23.5 minutes per game. He led the Bears to an overtime victory at VMI where he posted a career-high 17 points and 14 rebounds with three blocks. He’s averaging 6.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and ranks No. 4 in the MEAC by averaging 2.3 blocks per game.

Comments (0)

Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 12

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 12

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 16-13 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 12. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2012 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

To hear the full explanation for the respective lists, click HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Justin Tucker
Tucker

6) Brendon Ayanbadejo
BA

5) Corey Graham
Graham

4) Arthur Jones
Jones

3) Joe Flacco
Flacco

2) Torrey Smith
Smith

1) Ray Rice
Rice

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

7) Brendon Ayanbadejo
BA

6) Anquan Boldin
Boldin

5) Arthur Jones
Jones

4) Justin Tucker
Tucker

3) Joe Flacco
Flacco

2) Torrey Smith
Smith

1) Ray Rice
Rice

SEASON TO DATE:
Luke Jones:
1. Ray Rice (44 points)
2. Joe Flacco (40 points)
3. Torrey Smith (26 points)
4. Justin Tucker (20 points)
5. Anquan Boldin (19 points)
6. Jacoby Jones (18 points)
7. Dennis Pitta (17 points)
8. Paul Kruger (15 points)
9. Cary Williams (12 points)
9. Dannell Ellerbe (12 points)
11. Corey Graham (9 points)
12. Bernard Pollard (8 points)
13. Terrell Suggs (7 points)
14. Sam Koch (5 points)
14. Lardarius Webb (5 points)
14. Haloti Ngata (5 points)
17. Arthur Jones (5 points)
18. Michael Oher (4 points)
18. Albert McClellan (4 points)
18. Tandon Doss (4 points)
21. Ramon Harewood (3 points)
21. Vonta Leach (3 points)
23. Kelechi Osemele (2 points)
24. Courtney Upshaw (2 points)
24. Marshal Yanda (2 points)
24. Bernard Pierce (2 points)
24. James Ihedigbo (2 points)
24. Brendon Ayanbadejo (2 points)
29. Ed Reed (1 point)
29. Ray Lewis (1 point)
29. DeAngelo Tyson (1 point)

Drew Forrester:
1. Joe Flacco (43 points)
2. Ray Rice (33 points)
3. Torrey Smith (26 points)
4. Justin Tucker (25 points)
5. Anquan Boldin (15 points)
6. Bernard Pollard (14 points)
6. Dennis Pitta (14 points)
8. Dannell Ellerbe (13 points)
8. Cary Williams (13 points)
10. Michael Oher (12 points)
12. Lardarius Webb (11 points)
12. Jacoby Jones (11 points)
13. Sam Koch (10 points)
14. Terrell Suggs (7 points)
14. Corey Graham (7 points)
14. Ed Reed (7 points)
14. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett (7 points)
18. Paul Kruger (6 points)
18. Kelechi Osemele (6 points)
18. Houston post-game pilot (6 points)
21. Ramon Harewood (5 points)
22. Ray Lewis (4 points)
23. Courtney Upshaw (3 points)
23. Arthur Jones (3 points)
25. Vonta Leach (1 point)
25. Morgan Cox (1 point)
25. Tandon Doss (1 point)
25. Bernard Pierece (1 point)
25. Marshal Yanda (1 point)
25. James Ihedigbo (1 point)
25. Brendon Ayanbadejo (1 point)

Comments (0)

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Chargers

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Five Plays That Determined The Game-Ravens/Chargers

Posted on 27 November 2012 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’ 16-13 OT win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium…

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

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Dennis Pitta 11 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 4 (Overtime)

4. Cary Williams breaks up Philip Rivers pass intended for Danario Alexander on 3rd & 4 (Overtime)

3. Brendon Ayanbadejo breaks up Philip Rivers pass intended for Danario Alexander on 3rd & 3 (Overtime)

2. Torrey Smith 31 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (Overtime)

1. Ray Rice 29 yard completion from Joe Flacco on 4th & 29 (4th quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Sizing up The Miracle at The Murph

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sizing up The Miracle at The Murph

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Comments (0)

Our Ravens/Chargers “Pats on the Ass”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Ravens/Chargers “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple 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’ 16-13 win over San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Brendon Ayanbadejo

4. Cary Williams

3. Dennis Pitta

2. Justin Tucker

1. Ray Rice (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

Comments (0)

Ray Rice has a name for his miracle 4th & 29 grab

Tags: , ,

Ray Rice has a name for his miracle 4th & 29 grab

Posted on 25 November 2012 by WNSTV

Comments (0)

Ravens-Chargers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens-Chargers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Looking to make last season’s ugly defeat in San Diego a distant memory, the Ravens take on the Chargers for the ninth time in franchise history.

The teams are tied 4-4 in the all-time series as Baltimore tries to improve to 3-4 in games played at Qualcomm Stadium. Sunday marks the Ravens’ third visit to San Diego in four years.

Despite being listed as questionable and practicing all week on a limited basis, defensive end Pernell McPhee is inactive for the fourth straight game and hasn’t played since before the Week 8 bye. His last action came in Baltimore’s 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Oct. 21.

Veteran cornerback Chris Johnson joined second-year defensive back Jimmy Smith on the inactive list, leaving the Ravens thin in the secondary. As a result, rookie Asa Jackson is active for the first time this season.

Guard Bobbie Williams is also inactive for the second straight week, eliminating any small doubt over who would start at left guard. Second-year offensive lineman Jah Reid will make his second straight start at the position. Williams wasn’t listed on this week’s injury report.

As expected, tight end Dennis Pitta is active after he passed his baseline neurological test on Friday, which cleared him for contact after suffering a concussion in Pittsburgh last Sunday.

For San Diego, starting left guard Tyronne Green is inactive as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. He will be replaced by Rex Hadnot in the starting lineup.

The Ravens are wearing white jerseys and black pants while San Diego wears its popular powder blue jerseys.

Here are the inactive lists for Sunday …

BALTIMORE
CB Jimmy Smith
CB Chris Johnson
G Bobbie Williams
OL Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
DE Pernell McPhee
DT Bryan Hall

SAN DIEGO
WR Eddie Royal
LB Larry English
LB Jonas Mouton
TE Dante Rosario
S Brandon Taylor
WR Curtis Brinkley
G Tyronne Green

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Nestor Aparicio brings live updates and analysis from Qualcomm Stadium.

Comments (0)

Ravens-Chargers: Five predictions for Sunday

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens-Chargers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 24 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Still chasing the Houston Texans for the top seed in the AFC, the Ravens travel to San Diego for the third time in four years to take on the struggling Chargers.

Here’s what to expect as Baltimore tries to improve to 5-4 all-time against the Chargers and avenge a 34-14 beating suffered last December …

1. The Baltimore defense will force a turnover against quarterback Philip Rivers to set up a touchdown. Pressuring Rivers will be critical as the San Diego offensive line has been porous all season, allowing 26 sacks and contributing to his league-leading 14 interceptions entering Week 12. I’m not sure the Ravens will be able to get to him consistently, but they’ll bait Rivers into throwing a pick to set up the offense on a short field. After dealing with the drama of initially being handed a one-game suspension before winning his appeal, safety Ed Reed will come to play on Sunday and is the likeliest candidate to pull off a theft in what will be a pass-happy day for Rivers and the Chargers.

2. Neither running game will be a major factor at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Chargers have struggled to run the ball and will try to exploit an injury-plagued secondary with their passing game. The Ravens haven’t run the ball effectively in recent weeks and will be facing the league’s third-ranked rush defense. Favorable conditions and San Diego’s 19th-ranked pass defense will coax the Ravens into putting the game in the hands of quarterback Joe Flacco as the running game will solely be used to keep the Chargers honest. Neither Ryan Mathews nor Ray Rice will sniff the 100-yard rushing mark in this one.

3. Tall receiving target Malcom Floyd will give the Ravens’ depleted secondary fits for the second year in a row. The recent emergence of 6-foot-5 target Danario Alexander on the other side gives Rivers two gigantic targets on the outside to go along with tight end Antonio Gates and has helped offset the departure of Vincent Jackson and the disappointing production from free-agent bust Robert Meachem. The absence of Jimmy Smith and newly-signed veteran Chris Johnson will leave smaller corners in Corey Graham and Chykie Brown on the field in the nickel package while a taller Cary Williams doesn’t play with much of a physical presence anyway. Floyd burned the Ravens last year to the tune of five catches, 96 yards, and a touchdown. Floyd will post similar numbers on Sunday and will catch a touchdown pass against Baltimore for the second year in a row.

4. Torrey Smith will bounce back from a rough outing last week to catch a touchdown. Pittsburgh was able to make Smith a non-factor as he was held to only one catch for seven yards after he had caught three touchdown passes in the two previous games. The Ravens will go with three-wide sets early in the game to make Jacoby Jones’ presence felt and detract some safety attention from Smith. The second-year wide receiver may not catch a long bomb for a score, but he’ll show off his improved route-running ability against the Chargers and utilize his speed to score his eighth touchdown of the season in a bounce-back performance.

5. The Ravens are clearly the better team, but a Pittsburgh hangover, an inconsistent offense, and an unfavorable matchup in the passing game result in a 24-20 loss to the Chargers. A physical and emotionally-draining game with Pittsburgh always leaves both teams weary the following week as the Ravens dropped both games last season immediately following wins over the Steelers. Until they prove otherwise away from M&T Bank Stadium, Flacco and the Baltimore offense cannot be trusted to score enough points to overcome a defense that’s depleted in the secondary and matching up with big receiving targets all over the field. There won’t be much room in the running game, meaning Flacco will need to win this one for the Ravens. The offense won’t be as brutally bad as it was in Pittsburgh, but it won’t be able to save the day by fending off an upset in a difficult West Coast trip.

Comments (1)

Pitta, Cody probable; McPhee questionable for San Diego game

Tags: , , , ,

Pitta, Cody probable; McPhee questionable for San Diego game

Posted on 23 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Finishing a week of practice before traveling to San Diego for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, the Ravens turned in a favorable final injury report.

Defensive end Pernell McPhee is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis all week while veteran cornerback Chris Johnson was labeled as doubtful after missing practice for the third straight day with a hamstring injury.

Listed as probable, Dennis Pitta is expected to play against the Chargers after he passed a baseline neurological test on Friday, which cleared him for contact. The third-year tight end practiced on a limited basis all week.

Coach John Harbaugh was encouraged to see McPhee, Pitta, and nose tackle Terrence Cody practice all week but would not offer much on their respective statuses for Sunday prior to the release of Friday’s injury report.

“I feel confident that they have a chance to play,” Harbaugh said.

Pitta left in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game against the Steelers after sustaining a big hit from the combination of linebacker Lawrence Timmons and safety Ryan Clark. He also temporarily left the game the week before after taking another hit against the Oakland Raiders before returning to action later that day.

“It’s nothing that you can worry about, because it’s part of the risk of playing football,” Pitta said. “I’ve taken a couple big hits the last couple weeks and had they been worse, I might be a little bit more concerned about it. I felt good all week and really have no issues.”

McPhee hasn’t played since the Ravens’ 43-13 loss in Houston in Week 7 as he’s rested knee and thigh injuries. The second-year defensive end practiced two days on a limited basis last week, but Harbaugh said earlier this week it was never realistic for McPhee to play in Pittsburgh.

The defensive lineman declared himself close to 100 percent last week before missing his third straight game.

“I feel like I could go out and compete, but it’s all [Harbaugh's] decision,” McPhee said. “He’s going to make the best decision. He knows where I’m at and he knows the right decision to make. I feel better about my chances.”

Meanwhile, the Chargers have ruled out linebacker Larry English, wide receiver Eddie Royal, and former Ravens offensive tackle Jared Gaither for Sunday’s game.

Hampered by a groin injury that’s limited him to just four games this season, Gaither was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

Former Ravens defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin was listed as questionable with a knee injury.

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (abs)
DOUBTFUL: CB Chris Johnson (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh)
PROBABLE: LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (shoulder), NT Terrence Cody (arm), TE Ed Dickson (neck), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe/finger), S James Ihedigbo (neck), WR/RS Jacoby Jones (ankle), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), TE Dennis Pitta (head), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (shoulder/ankle), OLB Courtney Upshaw (shoulder), G Marshal Yanda (ankle)

SAN DIEGO
OUT: LB Larry English (calf), T Jared Gaither (groin)*, WR Eddie Royal (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: G Tyronne Green (hamstring), TE Dante Rosario (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Aubrayo Franklin (knee)
PROBABLE: S Atari Bigby (shoulder), P Mike Scifres (right ankle), G Louis Vasquez (ankle)

Comments (0)

Ravens hope lightning doesn’t strike twice in San Diego

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens hope lightning doesn’t strike twice in San Diego

Posted on 23 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It didn’t happen in the blink of an eye, but there was no sugarcoating the Ravens’ humbling 34-14 defeat to quarterback Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers last December.

The prime-time thrashing not only handed Baltimore its fourth and final loss of the regular season, but it stripped the Ravens of their grip on the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They won their final two games of the regular season but finished a game behind New England, which resulted in the Ravens traveling to Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship instead of the Patriots potentially coming to Baltimore for a championship showdown.

We know what happened after that, and you can’t help but wonder how events might have played out differently had the Ravens not been on the losing end of that contest against Rivers and the erratic Chargers, who enter Sunday’s meeting with a 4-6 record and their playoff hopes on life support.

“Last year, it wasn’t that pleasant,” linebacker Terrel Suggs said. “Before I could look up, it was 31-7. It was like raining touchdowns out there. He’s a good quarterback. We definitely can’t make it a seven-on-seven contest.”

The Chargers have looked just plain bad more than erratic this season as Rivers has thrown a league-high 14 interceptions to go along with 2,461 yards and 17 touchdowns. San Diego has two wins since Week 2 — both coming against the doormat Kansas City Chiefs — but a victory over the Ravens could be viewed as a long-shot to change the season for Norv Turner, who appears on his way out as Chargers coach.

The Ravens have been down this road before in preparing for San Diego. Their margin for error is slim as they continue to chase the 10-1 Houston Texans for the AFC’s top spot while trying to hold off New England and Denver, who both trail Baltimore by one game in the loss column of the conference standings.

Unlike last season’s San Diego game when the Ravens’ path to the No. 1 seed was completely in their hands, Baltimore still needs help, but a loss on Sunday would be a major blow to their hopes for home-field advantage throughout January. A measure of revenge might be healthy for the Ravens’ psyche as well as they travel to San Diego for the third time in the last four seasons.

“[I am] thankful for another opportunity to go against Philip after he sliced us and diced us last year,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It will be a big challenge. He’s a great player. Between the quarterback and their receivers, they’re maybe the most talented passing group in the league.”

That talent hasn’t translated to success on the field as the Chargers lost former No. 1 receiver Vincent Jackson in free agency this past March and currently rank 23rd in total offense, 17th in passing offense, and 16th in points per game.

Despite his struggles with taking care of the football this season, Rivers’ talents aren’t lost on the Ravens as he still has two dangerous targets in tight end Antonio Gates and tall wide receiver Malcom Floyd, who burned the Baltimore defense to the tune of five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown last season. This, coupled with a secondary depleted by injuries, has Harbaugh and the Ravens looking beyond the underwhelming statistics.

“You look at what they are capable of accomplishing,” Harbaugh said. “For the most part, it has been turnovers on offense for them. I’m sure they feel if they can clean that up, they can play really well. We’ve got to take that into account.”

Even if the Baltimore defense can build upon its impressive performance in Pittsburgh and hold Rivers and the San Diego offense in check, the great equalizer on Sunday might be the Chargers defense, which entered Week 12 ranked eighth in yards allowed and tied for 13th in points surrendered. Managing to win consecutive road games for the first time since 2010, the Ravens offense certainly didn’t do much at Heinz Field last week as they continued their chronic struggles away from M&T Bank Stadium.

In five road contests this season, the Ravens are only averaging 16.6 points per game as quarterback Joe Flacco has completed only 54.2 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and four interceptions away from M&T Bank Stadium. In the San Diego secondary, Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle provides a serious challenge as the versatile defensive back will sometimes play close to the line of scrimmage in run support while other times dropping deep into coverage, making him difficult to find at times.

Perhaps a bigger hurdle than the Chargers for the Ravens on Sunday could be themselves after an emotionally-draining and physical win over their bitter rivals last Sunday night. Baltimore could be vulnerable to a lackluster showing after following both wins against Pittsburgh last season with ugly road defeats to inferior opponents (Tennessee and Seattle).

The Ravens have practiced later in the afternoon all week — after doing research on sleep cycles and energy cycles, according to Harbaugh — and traveled to San Diego on Friday to adjust to the change in time zone and climate. With so much to lose in the event of another defeat to the Chargers, the Ravens hope the changes will be enough to return home with a victory late Sunday night.

“I always appreciate the Friday trips, but you’ve got to get out there and understand it’s a business trip,” running back Ray Rice said. “It’s not out there for leisure. You’ve got to try to do that out there with a different time change. But we do a pretty good job of adjusting. Now we’ve got to go ahead and take it to the field and just adjust a little faster.”

The Ravens will need to if they want to avoid another misstep in San Diego with so much to play for down the final stretch of the season.

Comments (1)