A Giant Sized Win
When it comes to playing NFC teams, the Ravens make it seem like it is a walk in park .With their 33-14 victory over the Giants, the Ravens clinched the AFC division title for the second straight year. This will be the third time in history they have won the division. They are now 10-0 under John Harbaugh when facing an NFC team at home. With players coming back for the postseason they will be getting healthier, and stronger.
Joe Flacco, who has been criticized for so much this season, defiantly proved why he can be great. He threw for 309 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. He said after the game, “When you lose three straight people look at the quarterback, and that’s part of our job. We lost a game to the Steelers where we didn’t play too bad; we lost a game to the Redskins where we didn’t play too bad, and we lost a game to the Broncos where we probably played pretty bad. But the bottom line is we lost three, so people aren’t going to look at that in a favorable light. Like I said last week, we’re going to see what kind of team we are. We believe we’re this kind of team, and we’re really going to see if we are. I think that we showed ourselves and we showed people today that we are that kind of team. We’re here to stay, and we just have to do all we can to get better, to play like this, and even get better than this throughout the remaining weeks.” Flacco had a stellar performance, he was so good early in the game threw a -six yard pass to Torrey Smith who beat out by the Giants Corey Webster for the first TD of the day. Then Flacco did it with legs, scoring from the 1-yard line. That was set up after the 43- yard completion by Smith.
The offense was clicking on all cylinders. Ray Rice went over 107 total yards and caught his 1st TD of the season. He then backed his quarterback up after the game and said, “Joe’s athletic, I’m just glad he got it out to me. It’s a really good play. It was something we worked on, but obviously, you know, that’s another play where I just talked about the execution. We’ve had it, and it’s just great that, with Jim Caldwell [as offensive coordinator], we’ve been running things that we’ve been running all year. Plays haven’t changed so we get back to the fundamentals, and we just got to work.” Entering Week 16, the Giants as a team had given up the most 30-plus passing-yard plays in the NFL this season, with 25, according to ESPN Stats & Information. If a team gives up multiple “explosive” plays it will eventually cost them- and it certainly did for the Giants.
Ed Reed was pleased with the win, but not content because there is still one more to go, and they want to win that as well to be hot for the playoffs. Reed commented on clinching the AFC North, “Huge, man. It’s huge to get it this way after going through. What we’ve been fighting. We know this was a journey – this season is a journey. We still have a game left. Congrats for today. Hays off to Giants, but we just have to build on this.” The Ravens know that there are much bigger aspirations and goals to accomplish. That’s why they are not so content, and do not want to get to high off a win- or low when they were losing three straight. That is the “make” of a championship team, right now they are the AFC North division winners and Flacco looked like the QB he was supposed to be , that all there is to it.
When a team wins, they silence the critics and it makes it sweeter for the team and what they have fought through this season.
Follow Jerry Coleman: @sportswcoleman