Sunday, January 18, 2009

The End

It was a battle right to the end. Unfortunately, Troy P0lamalu performed a near perfect Ed Reed impersonation to close out the Ravens 2008 season. The team had a chance. Despite being outplayed most of the game, just like last week, Baltimore was in it in the fourth quarter and was down just 2 with five minutes to play. But it was not to be.

More importantly, on the Ravens next possession, Willis McGahee took a pass down the middle and was immediately pummeled by the Steelers Ryan Clark.

The shoulder-to-helmet hit left Willis lying on his back for more than 5 minutes as Clark was walked off the field with the help of multiple teammates. With the Ravens huddling around McGahee, and Ray Lewis praying on the sidelines, Willis was lifted on to a stretcher and carried off the field. Phil Simms, Jim Nance and even most of Steeler Country were left speechless and you could even hear a few words of encouragement from the Pittsburgh fans as McGahee was wheeled into the tunnel.

The first words out of the team is that McGahee had movement in his arms and legs, but was experiencing 'significant neck pain'. Clark may have ended Willis' season a few minutes early, but Polamalu ended this magical season for Baltimore two weeks too soon.

Numerous Light Snow Showers

Not sure what that means, but that's what they're predicting.

It's going to be an epic battle, snow or snow, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. I won't mind watching out west, where its close to 80 today, but I wouldn't mind running the sidelines in that weather one more time. It should be a classic and hopefully will deliver another classic moment like this hit on Big Ben.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thank You Sports Illustrated

These are two of the three images Sports Illustrated choose to put on their cover for their January 19th issue. (There was also a third cover featuring Tim Tebow, but that's not what is important here).

What is important is the fact that despite the fact that Arizona was on one of their regional covers last week, the Steelers have been on the cover this season already (side note - the cover in question was a photo taken from the last Ravens-Steelers battle and pictured Joe Flacco flat on his back after a sack, talk about rubbing it in), and Ray Lewis delivered a made-for-the-cover-of-any-magazine-poster-billboard-bus shelter-screensaver hit on Titans Fullback Ahmad Hall last weekend - Pittsburgh and the Cardinals are on the cover this week. What does it all mean? Here's hoping the SI Cover Jinx makes its triumphant return and delivers an Eagles-Ravens Super Bowl in Tampa.

PS - Since SI felt the Ray Lewis hit wasn't cover-worthy, I wanted to make sure to point out that it is absolutely blog-worthy. Enjoy:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's Go....Chargers!

The Ravens won again!

Despite being out-played, the defense stepped up and not only forced 3 key turnovers, but they came as the Titans were on the verge of scoring, with one fumble recovered on the one yard line! The result was the second playoff win for Joe Flacco as a rookie - an NFL record - and a trip either San Diego or Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship game. You can probably tell who I'm rooting for, but only because I hope to be in attendance. Of course Ravens-Steelers III would make for some good TV.

It was a tense game today and watching from afar made Lauryn and I long a little for the cold air and honky-tonk of Nashville. The city has treated us well in past years, including an exciting come from behind victory during the 2006 season, which also included a tremendous steak dinner at The Stockyard the night before.

We wish all our feathred friends luck next Sunday and a week's worth of soaking in the excitement of still being in the playoffs - and just one win from the Super Bowl. That's ridiculous to even write, but it's the truth and hopefully we'll be in the stands for the celebration.

For now, lets root for San Diego and a warm weather war on the left coast.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dolphins for Breakfast

No, Mike and I aren't cooking Dolphin on the BBQ, but the Ravens made a meal of the Miami offense this morning as Baltimore advanced into the next round of the playoffs. (We did use the barbecue, however, in true tailgating/balcony-gating fashion....and the eggs and sausage tasted even better than normal with the taste of the open flame).

Now on the West Coast, we watched the playoffs over breakfast as Ed Reed and Joe Flacco led the Ravens to their first playoff win in 8 years. The game started with a scare, as LeRon McClain fumbled at the fifty to set the Dolphins up for an early field goal. However, the rest of the game belonged to the black birds with 4 interceptions, including one returned by #20 for 6!

As the game winded down, we did see a few of our former feathered friends on the sidelines as they attempted to catch the traditional Gatorade shower on film. Jeff, Tim - you guys looked like you were in perfect position. Unfortunately, FOX seemed to miss the celebratory shot, so I'm not sure how that worked out - did Harbaugh get wet? FOX did manage to interview Ed, Joe and T-Sizzle after the victory and all seemed set on the challenge ahead as the Ravens now travel to Tennessee to face the Titans.

Baltimore lost to the AFC South champs earlier this year on a late TD pass from Kerry Collins. It was a typical defensive struggle, but the Ravens were still finding themselves in late September and should be ready to battle in Nashville Saturday afternoon. We'll be watching, although this time we get to get loud over lunch.