Media roundup: What they're saying about the Ravens

Here's a collection of articles from around the Web about the Ravens' 23-20 loss to New England in the AFC championship

January 24, 2012|The Baltimore Sun

• FoxSports.com's Greg Couch believes the Ravens squandered the final opportunity to win a Super Bowl for aging defenders Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

Joe Flacco should be a star quarterback now. The defense of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed should be in the Super Bowl, but they're not going. Not now. Not in the future. This was the last chance for a legendary combo.

• Chris Burke of SI.com grades the Ravens' performance in the loss, including lots of praise for the secondary.

Ed Reed made a couple of real nice plays in pass coverage, highlighted by a huge break-up of a third-down play late to get Baltimore the ball back. Bernard Pollard may have been the best Ravens player on Sunday, aside from Flacco. He led the team with 10 tackles (including one that nearly broke Rob Gronkowski's ankle) and turned in a dazzling tip on a Brady deep ball that led to an interception by Jimmy Smith. Lardarius Webb had a ridiculous pick of his own, reading a pass to Julian Edelman and making a leaping grab. Grade: A-

• ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley notes the historical significance of Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff's missed field goal in the final minute of Sunday's loss to the Patriots.

Cundiff's 32-yard missed field goal was the third-shortest in the final 30 seconds of regulation or at any point in overtime of a postseason game in which the kick could tie the game, or give his team the lead, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• James Walker of ESPN.com shares Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski's comments about Cundiff's miss.

Most people won't understand how a kicker can miss a chip shot to end the game. But Gostkowski said it's not as easy as it looks.

"I definitely have an appreciation for every [kicker] in the league," Gostkowski said after the game. "I know how hard it is. I know that if one little thing goes wrong you can easily miss the kick. Everybody is different and has a different mentality. I try to treat every kick the same, but it's impossible to replicate that kind of situation."

• Slate.com's Stefan Fatsis talks about why Cundiff appeared to be rushed before his failed attempt.

Cundiff told me he initially thought he was at fault, that he had looked at the scoreboard too early, before the down number had been changed. In fact, the Gillette Stadium scoreboard was off by a down. On Monday, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs told ESPN that Ravens players thought the team had made a first down after receiver Anquan Boldin fumbled out of bounds on first-and-10 from the Patriots' 23-yard line. Instead, the ball was marked where Boldin had lost it, a yard short of a first down. On second and third downs--which the scoreboard said were first and second -- the Ravens threw unsuccessfully into the end zone. Ravens P.R. director Kevin Byrne told me--and Cundiff later learned -- that team officials watched the All-22 video of the game on Monday and confirmed the scoreboard malfunction.

The Ravens, of course, could have made all this confusion moot by calling a timeout. Instead, coach John Harbaugh decided to let Cundiff run on the field and kick.

But back to the scoreboard. Was the error on the Gillette Stadium board an honest mistake made by a confused Patriots employee? Or were there darker forces at work here -- a little Belichickian Machiavellianism to confuse the opposition with a Super Bowl berth on the line? Cundiff blames no one but himself for the miss. But he's relieved to know he wasn't seeing things on the stadium scoreboard.

• Yahoo Sports' Shutdown Corner blog lists Championship Sunday's least valuable players. Not surprisingly, Cundiff is included. But, somewhat surprisingly, so is Joe Flacco.

It's not because of his play -- Flacco, even in a losing effort, was close to making the list of MVPs on Sunday. I'm worried about the guy's mental state. Not because he's got a bad attitude, or because he's doing something harmful to the team or anything of that nature, but after the game, he got all touchy again about what people think of him and how much credit he gets.

He pretty clearly does care, or he wouldn't keep bringing it up. The fact is that he plays in Baltimore, a city whose football heart is owned by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He may never be the show in Baltimore. And if that is what he wants, then focusing on what he needs to prove to people instead of focusing on how well he can play isn't going to help him get there.

• In his critique of officials' calls from Sunday's games, Mike Pereira of FoxSports.com explains why the pass to Lee Evans in the end zone wasn't a catch.

It was clearly not a catch as the ball was coming out before Evans' second foot was on the ground. Besides that, even if both of Evans' feet were on the ground, you have to maintain control long enough to perform an act common to the game of football. A lot of my Twitter followers questioned why the call wasn't reviewed, but there was no need to review it because on this play, it wasn't close to being a catch.

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