How About Them Ravens?

     Here is a cool stat to consider: The Ravens have reached the postseason four out of five times they have won their season opener.  The one time they missed the mark was in their rookie campaign in 1996.  But before we start booking reservations to Miami… 

     It might not have been the blowout that some expected, but it was a win in week one, baby!  And they covered the spread thank you very much.  Accentuate the positive: 501 yards of total offense to be exact.  How about that?  501 yards of offense in Baltimore. 

     Sure the Chiefs got to hang around entirely too long in the 38-24 victory, but this is why they play the game.  Don’t hit the panic button just yet, see New England versus Buffalo game Monday night okay? 

     It was a record-breaker for our Sergeant of Arms, Joe Flacco who came out swinging. Flacco was 26-for-43 for 307 yards with three TDs.  Everyone in purple was a target it seemed as Flacco hit up seven different receivers (game plan that!) with fan fave Todd Heap being one of them.  Heap was resurrected, so to speak, reeling in 5 catches for 74 yards and one TD. Mark Clayton, who didn’t see a single snap in preseason, also got in on the act— five catches for 77 yards and one TD.  

     The Ravens running game, fourth best last year, was put on hold in the first half of the game.  In the end,  we still had Ray Rice top out with 108 yards on 19 touches. Willis McGahee managed to get in the end zone twice as well, one on a rush and another in the air.  Le’Ron McClain had six touches for 19 yards and one TD.  How sweet it was!    

    Not all was pretty.  It was an ugly display for special teams: blocked punt, missed field goal, penalties that crippled, allowing KC opportunities to be in the game. Late in the game. Too close for comfort.  But head coach John Harbaugh has it under control:  

“It was very identifiable and very easily corrected,” Harbaugh said. “[It was] disappointing in the sense that there was no look that we hadn’t seen hundreds of times. We just got a little bit, I guess, frozen for a second. Give [No.] 47- Their guy, he’s a really good player. He’s been around for a long time, and he went and got it.”  

    Play like a Raven=Finish… Good, competitive teams finish and the Ravens did just that.  They’ve got their work cut out for them but they are on it.

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Willis McGahee Home Resting

     Football fans got more than they bargained for last night when witnessing that ferocious head-on collision between Baltimore’s rnning back Willis McGahee and Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark during the AFC Championship.  

     Clark managed to get up and walk on his own within minutes. However,  McGahee didn’t fare as well. He appeared to be moving his limbs while being looked at and the commentators reported that he was talking and lucid.  All good signs.  But he was strapped down and mobilized and carted off to a respectful and cheering crowd.  McGahee was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital and stayed over night. 

     Earlier this morning, McGahee was released from the hospital, returned to Baltimore and is home resting, according to the Baltimore Ravens official site.  McGahee is expected to have a full recovery.

     I don’ know about anybody else, but for those few minutes of that game, I was sick with worry about it.  And I’m not even a big McGahee supporter- except that he is a Raven.  I cannot imagine what his family was going through. 

     It was a sobering reminder to me of what exactly these guys do for a living.  All too often, when reporting about this adrenaline-packed game, it’s easy to forget that these athletes terrorize their bodies in such unbelievable ways.  And for at least 60 minutes a week they put themselves in harm’s way that I cannot even phathom.  I am relieved that McGahee has been cleared and is home.

Ravens Run Like Deja Vu: First Wildcard To Post

     Can you belive that game?  Pennington made it interesting in the last quarter but the Ravens D stood strong: not this time, Dolphins, this is ours.  Phew!  What a sweet, sweet victory. 

     Some ditties on the game:

     Yet again, Ed Reed razzle-dazzles us.  Two interceptions, one pick 6.  This guy continues to amaze.  So glad he wears purple.  Picked up fourth and fifth carreer post-season INT’s.  Rock on Reed. 

     Jim Leonhard, now I know how to spell his last name, Key interception and big return for 20 yards. 

     Joe “not been nervous about a game since seventh grade” Flacco didn’t have his best stuff but he had enough. No turnovers, 1 huge rushing TD.  Did you see his on-field interview after the game? First, T-Sizzle is right- Flacco needs to do something about the unibrow and second, this guy is as cool as a ice truck. 

     Derrick Mason, will you marry me? Ha-ha. Pivotal catch in 2Q, another great showing. 4 catches for 71 yards.

     Willis McGahee…what you talking about Willis?  (Neil’s line- not mine.)  He was on, and then off but he made us shout anyway. 

     T-Sizzle first career post-season sack.  Excellent!  However, in the fourth quarter you escaped an egregious penalty.  Keep that ferocity in check to make the plays!  Those types of penalty calls tend to knock you guys  down a notch or two (I’m thinking about week 5 against Tennessee- it was not a good call but it was a game-changer).  No way can we afford to give away positive yardage or downs…

     Can’t help but feel this run is sooo reminiscant of the SuperBowl run of 2000.  We played Tennessee in the Divisional playoff game.  We won.  The SuperBowl was in Tampa Bay. Same place this year.  Since Neil and me went to that SuperBowl game (best day ever) should we start planning our trip?  Yes, no… I’m not about to jinx anything.  One week at a time… 

    Today we celebrate, tomorrow we Remember The Titans….and unlike the movie’s end, these Titans are *knock on wood* going down.  We know it’s going to be a great game!