Last Sunday, the Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-20. Penalties and other mistakes were costly for the Ravens. The Steelers scored first, when K Jeff Reed made a 26-yard field goal. The Ravens quickly tied the game, on a 27-yard field goal by K Billy Cundiff. The score was 6-3 at the end of the first quarter after a 39-yard Reed field goal. The Steelers made it a two possession game on a 4-yard run by RB Rashard Mendenhall. But the Ravens responded again, with a 30-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to TE Todd Heap. To end the half, the Steelers scored on a 24-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Santonio Holmes. The Ravens made it a one possession game, when Flacco found Heap again, this time a 7-yard pass. Next, Billy Cundiff tied the game at 20 on a 35-yard field goal. The Ravens were rolling now, but that quickly stopped. On the Ravens next drive, they were denied a touchdown twice due to penalties. The Steelers final and winning score was on a 38-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.
Player of the Game: Steelers LB LaMarr Woodley-7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
Next week, the Ravens travel to Oakland to face the 5-10 Oakland Raiders. With a win, the Ravens clinch a playoff berth. Although they are not an overall good team, they have beaten many good teams including the Bengals, Steelers, Broncos, and Eagles. Raiders K Sebastian Janikowski made a 61-yard field goal last week, the 4th longest in NFL history. The Raiders will start either JaMarcus Russell or Charlie Frye at quarterback. The Raiders big offensive threats are TE Zach Miller and WR Louis Murphy. On defense, they are led by DEs Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis, and CB Nnamdi Asomugha. It's going to be a closer game than many people think, and I have the Ravens winning, 27-10.
Suggestion: The Raiders are not able to beat a good Ravens team. They are a team with some very talented players, but do not have the chemistry needed to make a winning football team. Therefore, only the Ravens can beat the Ravens. That means no dumb mistakes and/or penalties.
Key Matchups for Ravens at Raiders
Ravens Offensive Line vs. Raiders Defensive Line Edge: Raiders D-Line
Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Raiders LB Kirk Morrison Edge: Rice
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha Edge: Asomugha
Ravens LB Ray Lewis vs. Raiders RB Darren McFadden Edge: Lewis
T Oniel Cousins-Knee-QST
LB Tavares Gooden-Groin-QST
WR Derrick Mason-Knee-QST
S Ed Reed-Groin-QST
LB Terrell Suggs-Thigh-QST
CB Cary Williams-Thigh-QST
T Jared Gaither-Foot-PRB
LB Jarret Johnson-Back/Knee-PRB
DE Trevor Pryce-Illness-PRB
QB Bruce Gradkowski-Knee-OUT
RB Justin Fargas-Knee-DBT
T Langston Walker-Ankle-DBT
S Tayvon Branch-Hip-QST
DE Greg Ellis-Knee-QST
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey-Foot-QST
CB Chris Johnson-Hamstring-QST
DT Gerard Warren-Shoulder-PRB
Ravens Playoff Picture: The Ravens need a win to clinch a playoff berth. If we win and the Jets lose to the Bengals, we take the #1 Wild Card spot. If we win and the Jets win, we have the #2 Wild Card spot. Even if we lose, there is still a possibility of us making the playoffs.
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!