Posts Tagged ‘NFL

20
Dec
10

Ravens End Saints’ Streak

Ray Rice Had a Total of 233 Yards and 3 Touchdowns Against the Saints

By Jesse Jones

The defending champions New Orleans Saints had won six straight games coming into Sunday’s matchup in Baltimore, while the Baltimore Ravens are coming off a win in Houston that saw them blow a huge lead late in the game and had to win it in overtime.  So with a pass-heavy team going against an average secondary, as many like to say, it was no wonder that the Ravens were underdogs.

The scoring started early, as the Saints scored on their second possession on a Drew Brees touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham to give them a 7-0 lead.  Baltimore responded on their next possession with a 35-yard catch and run from Joe Flacco to rookie tight end Ed Dickson to tie the game.

After a defensive stop, Baltimore drove the ball again and Ray Rice found the endzone on a 10-yard run to give Baltimore the 14-7 lead.  A few plays later, Flacco found Rice in the endzone thanks to a perfect 17-yard throw to give the Ravens a 21-7 lead.  The Saints scored at the end of the half on another Brees-Graham play to cut the lead to 21-14.

The third quarter saw only two field goals, thanks to Le’Ron McClain dropping an easy pass from Flacco that would have given the Ravens a 28-17 lead.  Instead, after three, the score was 24-17 Ravens.

The Saints tied it up early in the fourth, on an incredible tipped ball caught by Lance Moore.  The Ravens responded with a field goal.  With just over two minutes left and pinned in their endzone, the Saints were down only three.  It came down to a fourth down, where Haloti Ngata tipped a pass and Cory Redding intercepted the ball.  Baltimore added a field goal with nine seconds left, and won the game 30-24.

It was very nice to see the Ravens win a game thanks to their defense (even though the game was a shootout).  Flacco played very well, not turning over the ball and throwing for two touchdowns.  The Ravens got back to the running game, as Ray Rice ran the ball 31 times for 153 yards (including a long of 50 yards) and 1 touchdown, and Willis McGahee ran the ball 7 times for 53 yards with a long of 28.  The special teams played well again, setting the Ravens up with great field position and pinning the Saints back.

The Ravens are now 10-4, and thanks to the Jets beating the Steelers, are tied for first in the AFC North.  Baltimore will travel to Cleveland this weekend before hosting the Bengals next weekend.  The Steelers host the Panthers Thursday night before going to Cleveland next weekend.

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09
Dec
10

Ravens Update

By Jesse Jones

Sorry for not blogging recently, but with finals and everything, life has been very stressful.

The Baltimore Ravens are going into their Monday night matchup against the Houston Texans with an 8-4 record.  Let’s take a look at how they got there.

The Ravens entered Week 12 against the Buccaneers with the same records, standing at 7-3.  The game was a fairly dominating game for the Ravens, as they cruised to a 17-10 win (score did not indicate what the game was like) to improve to 8-3.  However, Le’Ron McClain sprained his ankle and his status for the next game was uncertain.

The following Sunday night, the Ravens hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with Le’Ron McClain injured, they had no fullback on the roster.  As you would expect, it was a defensive game.  Heading into the fourth quarter, the Ravens held a 10-3 lead, but as in previous games this season, the Ravens blew it.  The offense became very conservative and stopped taking shots down the field, after converting two plays over 60 yards in the first half.  The poor offensive play hurt them, as a strip by Troy Polamalu on Joe Flacco set the Steelers up at the 10-yard line, leading to their 13-10 lead.  On a fourth-and-two from the Steelers’ 31-yard line, the Ravens opted out of a 48-yard field goal because of the wind and went for it.  The result was a pass into the ground from Flacco that was intended for an open Ed Dickson, which would have been a first down.  Pittsburgh won the game 13-10, and dropped the Ravens to 8-4, and one game out of the lead for first place in the AFC North.

Now the Ravens have to travel to Houston, who has struggled of late.  The defense has allowed 13 or fewer points in their last three games, and now have to face a high-potent offense led by Matt Shaub and Andre Johnson, who is arguably one of the best receivers in the game.  However, the Texans have the worst pass defense in the league, so look for the offense to take full advantage of that.

02
Dec
10

Loss To Vikings Puts Redskins in Precarious Position

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins just made their road to the playoffs a lot more difficult and treacherous when they lost at home to the previously 3-7 Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. Even with Adrian Peterson sidelined for much of the game, the Vikings beat up the Redskins by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Redskins, who were already previously banged up heading into the contest, allowed 137 yards to Peterson and Toby Gerhart combined, while only gaining 29 yards rushing themselves. Donovan McNabb was sacked four times and pressured throughout the contest.

Key Play:

Down 17-13 with 7:15 left in the game, Redskins Punt Returner Brandon Banks had an electrifying 77-yard punt return to put the Redskins up 20-17. However, rookie Linebacker Perry Riley was called for an illegal block in the back that nullified Banks’ return. I don’t question the call at all; it was a clear penalty, but it was away from the play and Banks had already passed the defender Riley hit. Just a dumb mistake by a rookie that cost the Redskins the game. Washington would go on to stall the next possession, and the Vikings ran the rest of the clock out. Simply put, if Riley doesn’t try to light someone up and look good the Redskins win the game.

This loss truly stings for the Redskins. Four of their last five opponents currently hold winning records and are fighting for playoff position. The Skins will likely have to go 5-0 or 4-1 in these games in order to make the playoffs, saying that this would be a stretch would be an understatement. But Washington still has two games against the New York Giants and a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two teams that they are chasing right now. There is no better way to catch up to these teams by beating them head-to-head, but the Redskins will need a better performance than this in order to win against those opponents.

25
Nov
10

Redskins Limp Out Of Tennessee With a Win

 

By Ben Linton

The Washington Redskins, who were already banged up heading into Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, overcame eight more key injuries to escape the Titans 19-16 in Overtime. After missing a 47-yard field goal at the end of regulation that would have won the game, Kicker Graham Gano redeemed himself with a 48-yard game winner in overtime to give the Skins a win. Had the game gone any longer, the Redskins entire offensive line may have been injured, because they were dropping like flies at LP Field.

Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Redskins were already down two key players in the secondary, LaRon Landry (achilles) and Carlos Rogers (hamstring). This was not a good sign for the Redskins, whose 31st ranked pass defense had to rely on Reed Doughty and Kevin Barnes to somehow contain Randy Moss. Surprisingly, the Redskins did not do a good job, but a great job, as Moss was held without a catch and the Titans only racked up 222 passing yards.

The running back situation was also a concern when Clinton Portis went down with a groin injury. With Ryan Torain out and Chad Simpson injuring himself in warmups, the Redskins were left with only Keiland Williams, who handled the rushing duties, going for 68 yards on 23 carries.

There were a few bright spots in this game, however.

  • The Redskins defense, who gave up 59 points and 592 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles a week earlier, stifled the Titans offense, only giving up 373 yards and did not allow a touchdown (the Titans scored on a punt return.)
  • Remember all that talk about Donovan McNabb running the two-minute offense? Well, with 1:37 remaining McNabb beautifully manuevered the Redskins into field goal range to win the game. Unfortunately, Gano missed the kick, but it was nice to see McNabb prove his doubters and possibly even his coaches wrong. He had one of his best performances of the season, throwing for 376 yards with 1 td and 1 int.
  • The Redskins came into the game last in the NFL in 3rd down conversions at 22%, and were 0 for 10 against the Eagles on Monday Night. But the Skins were very effecient on third down against the Titans, converting 8 of 16 plays for a 50% conversion rate.

The Redskins may not have won this game as convincingly as they should have, but when was the last time we’ve seen that? I’m sure they will be satisfied with benefiting from the Titans’ self destruction with the whole Vince Young-Jeff Fisher controversy. With the win the Redskins improve to 5-5 on the year and are on the cusp of the playoff conversation. The Skins are currently 8th in the NFC standings, but with a win next week against the Minnesota Vikings (3-7), they will find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt. Funny for a team that was so thoroughly embarrassed just a week ago.

23
Nov
10

Ravens Claw Panthers

Ray Lewis and the D celebrate Ray Ray's pick 6

By Jesse Jones

Coming off a heart-breaking loss, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to Carolina to face the 1-8 Panthers. The Panthers were down to their fourth-string quarterback, Brian St. Pierre, and their third string running back, Mike Goodson. Enough said.

The Ravens started the game to a great start, with a 56-yard touchdown bomb from Flacco to TJ Houshmandzadeh on Baltimore’s second offensive play of the game. Baltimore would add a field goal to close out the first quarter with a 10-0 lead.

Carolina would add a field goal at the beginning of the second quarter before the Ravens increased their lead 17-3 heading into half, thanks to a Ray Rice touchdown.

In the beginning of the third quarter, the Ravens increased their lead to 20-3, before giving up a Carolina field goal a few minutes later. After three, the Ravens held a comfortable 20-6 lead.

However, the Panthers scored an 88-yard touchdown from Brian St. Pierre to David Gettis to cut the lead to a touchdown. This is when the defense stepped up. After a field goal that increased the Ravens’ lead to 23-13, Ed Reed intercepted St. Pierre and lateraled the ball to Dawan Landry, who ran the ball into the end zone to give the Ravens a 30-13 lead. The very next play, the same thing occurred. Ray Lewis grabbed his 30th career interception and ran it to the house to give the Ravens a 37-13 lead, the score they would win by. Ray Lewis is now the second player, along with Rodney Harrison, to have atleast 30 career sacks and 30 career interceptions.

The win kept the Ravens atop the AFC North at 7-3 and still remain second in the AFC. Baltimore’s run defense was shaky, giving up 120 yards to Goodson, but they stepped it up and sealed the game like the Ravens of-old. Joe Flacco had another very good day, going 24-33 for 301 yards and 1 touchdown, with a rating of 110.8.

Baltimore host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, who are a surprising 7-3. After that, the Steelers come to town for a Sunday night showdown. In order to improve to 9-3, Baltimore needs to tighten up the run defense and limit fumbles (6 in the past 2 games, 4 lost).

15
Nov
10

Ravens Come Back, Only To Lose

By Jesse Jones

Sorry for the late post, but it was my birthday weekend so I was quite busy.

Last Thursday the Baltimore Ravens faced off in Atlanta against the Falcons for the season’s first Thursday night football game.  It was the first time the first two quarterbacks drafted in the 2008 draft took the field against one another.

After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta scored a touchdown thrown by Matt Ryan to Jason Snelling and a field goal and took a 10-0 lead into the half.  The Falcons added another field goal before Baltimore scored it’s first touchdown of the game from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin to cut the deficit to 13-7.  The Falcons started off the fourth quarter with a Roddy White touchdown grab, increasing their lead to 20-7.

This is where things get interesting.

Baltimore responded with two touchdowns, both thrown by Flacco to Mason and Heap, to take a 21-20 lead with 65 seconds remaining.  However, the game was not over.  Matt Ryan pulled out his college nickname, Matty Ice (yeah, sorry ACC fans), and orchestrated a game-winning touchdown drive in 40 seconds.  The final touchdown was a 33-yard pass to Roddy White, who pushed Josh Wilson to the ground before the pass to get open but was not called for interference.  The result was a wide open run to victory.  Baltimore would lose the game 26-21 after a failed 2-point conversion.

Many fans will be quick to say the controversial no-call was the reason the Ravens lost the game. And it does not help that Roddy White was quoted saying, “It was one-on-one coverage with one guy. But he was kind of flat-footed, and he tried to grab me, so I just pushed him down”.  But I will not.  The Falcons still would have had a chance to get into field goal range.  The reason the Ravens lost was because they simply could not stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons on third down.  Ryan went 32-50 for 316 yards and three touchdowns, and Atlanta converted 12 of 20 third downs.

Joe Flacco had another very good game, as he went 22-34 for 215 yards and three touchdowns, but also had one interception.  Ray Rice would only rush the ball 12 times for 59 yards, a 4.9 average (should have ran him more in the first half).

Baltimore is now 6-3, but still first in the AFC North thanks the Steelers getting blown out at home by the Patriots.  The team travels to Carolina this week before coming home to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend.  Atlanta is now 7-2 and first in the NFC.

08
Nov
10

Ravens Handle Dolphins, Improve to 6-2

By Jesse Jones

The Miami Dolphins came into Baltimore Sunday with a perfect 4-0 record on the road. The Ravens were a perfect 3-0 at home. So who would give? Miami.

The scoring started early, as Baltimore scored on their opening drive with a 32-yard screen pass to Willis McGahee, who broke some tackles and ran it into the end zone. Miami responded on their next drive with a 12-yard Ronnie Brown run for a touchdown.

The second quarter was rather sloppy for both teams. The Ravens failed to convert great field position into touchdowns three times (including a Lardarius Webb interception), and had to settle for two field goals, the third field goal attempt resulted in a botched snap. The Dolphins looked very sloppy, turning the ball over and playing ineffectively on offense. However, they added a field goal with 15 seconds left to cut the Ravens lead to 13-10 heading into half.

This is when the game became dominated by Baltimore.

After stopping the Dolphins on their first drive of the half, Joe Flacco found Derrick Mason for a 12-yard touchdown pass that increased the Ravens’ lead to 20-10. Baltimore once again stopped Miami and drove the ball down the field, only to miss the field goal which would have increased the lead to 23-10.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Ravens held a 10 point lead on Miami. The past two games the Ravens blew 10 point leads in the fourth and ended up in overtime. Would this happen for a third straight game? No.

In the beginning of the fourth, Miami missed a field goal that would have cut the lead to seven and possibly given them momentum. Baltimore drove the ball once again and added a field goal that gave them a 23-10 lead. On Miami’s next drive, Chad Henne was intercepted once again by Ed Reed, who got his third interception in only two games this season. Baltimore added a field goal which put them up 26-10, and intercepted Henne again, this time by Josh Wilson, to end the game.

Baltimore’s offense looked sharp again, and it seems to be clicking on all cylinders. Joe Flacco played nearly perfect once again, as he went 20-27 for 266 yards and three touchdowns with a QB rating of 129.6. He holds the best quarterback rating in the NFL since week 2. Ray Rice had a solid game, carrying the ball 22 times for 83 yards and catching 7 balls for 97 yards.

The Ravens defense also played very well, forcing three turnovers, holding Ronnie Brown to 59 yards (albeit on 9 carries), and limiting Miami to 289 yards of offense. Ed Reed showed once again why he is so important to this Baltimore Ravens’ defense, as he grabbed another interception.

The win improves the Ravens to 6-2 and in first place in the AFC North, even if the Steelers win thanks to the win in week 4. And because the Cleveland Browns whooped the New England Patriots (crazy, right?), and the Eagles beat the Colts, the Ravens sit atop the AFC standings.

Baltimore has a short week to prepare for their next game, as they travel to Atlanta Thursday to play the Falcons who are also 6-2.




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