What they're saying about the Ravens

Media roundup

December 20, 2010

Here's a look at what other media outlets are saying about the Ravens' 30-24 victory against the New Orleans Saints in Week 15:

• Yahoo Sports' Michael Silver discusses the statement made by the Ravens in Sunday's win over the defending Super Bowl champions.

To much of the outside world, it looked as though Baltimore had hit a wall.

Naturally, the Ravens put their heads down and smashed right through it, bullying their way to a 30-24 victory over the Saints at M&T Bank Stadium that re-established their credentials as legitimate championship contenders.

And then they reminded anyone in earshot that when they play the way they did on Sunday, they're a team no opponent will look forward to facing in the playoffs.

• James Walker of ESPN.com breaks down the Ravens' win over New Orleans.

What I liked: After struggling in the fourth quarter on defense this season, the Ravens got a big play by defensive lineman Cory Redding to seal the game. With the Saints attempting to tie or go for the win, Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata tipped a Drew Brees pass and Redding caught the first interception of his career. The AFC North blog also has been waiting for the Ravens to go back to Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice, and this was the game to do it. Rice rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries. He also caught five passes for another 80 yards, which was reminiscent of his production last season.

• ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas gives his instant analysis of the game, including one momentum-changing play.

Not a great idea department: With the Saints trying to shut down a Baltimore drive late and get the ball back, defensive end Will Smith got hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty for shoving a player from behind, long after the play was over.

• In a separate entry, Yasinskas talks about the Ravens' defensive pressure against the Saints.

Let's start with Baltimore's defensive pressure. In his postgame interview, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees admitted he wound up seeing more pressure than he expected from the Ravens. The numbers backed that up.

The Ravens sent five or more rushers on 25 of Brees' 49 drop backs. In other words, Baltimore blitzed 51 percent of the time. That's the highest percentage by the Ravens since Week Four of the 2009 season when they used the blitz on 56.8 percent of the drop backs by New England.

• SI.com's Peter King lists Ray Rice as one of his two offensive players of the week.

One of Rice's best games as a storied collegian or pro led the Ravens to a vital victory that tied them for the AFC North lead. He rushed 31 times for 153 yards and a touchdown, and caught five balls for 80 more yards and a second touchdown. The 233 yards wore down the New Orleans defense and his performance was one of the most important elements in beating a team on a six-game winning streak.

• Drew van Esselstyn of The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger picks Rice as his Player of the Week.

Sunday's was the type of performance Rice made commonplace a year ago &mash; and made fantasy owners salivate at the chance to draft him before this season. His 153 rushing yards represented just his second game of more than 100 this season, and his 80 receiving yards showcased how difficult the pride of Rutgers is to defend. The Ravens seem to have rediscovered Rice the past two weeks, just in time for the postseason.

• The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune's James Varney grades the Saints on their loss to the Ravens.

Coaching: 2 fleurs-de-lis -- The Saints didn't seem to lack imagination, but they seemed unprepared physically for a predictable opponent. Baltimore has made no secret of its reliance on the running game, particularly in the frigid closing weeks. Yet, knowing this, the Saints often gave up space that the Ravens exploited a few yards past the line of scrimmage. Finally, 27 yards gained on the ground is awful. While the Saints' execution in the running game was far from stellar, the game plan did not seem to offer a chance for the offense to establish the run, as evidenced by the six consecutive passes called to start the game and the myriad three-and-outs the Saints had that were dominated by incomplete passes.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]

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