Reporting Jerry Coleman
The Ravens advance to the A-F-C Championship game for the second straight year, and again they will be playing the Patriots. This is a fitting circumstance for the Ravens because of the outcome of last year. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said, “I think we, personally, kind of wanted to play the Patriots again. If we were to go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxborough and win there. So, it’s another match up that I think that we’re excited about, and hopefully, we can get it done this time.” This team certainly wants to prove to the rest of world that they can beat New England in the playoffs- at their place , again . While everybody on the team deserves credit for the victory in Denver , Joe Flacco set a foundation for a “ legacy in the making “, and new contract . He’s been in the NFL five seasons, and his 7-4 playoff record is unmatched. Even for Peyton Manning , who will be a Future Hall a Famer after his career is over- but just 9-11 in the postseason. Flacco is making a 3rd trip to the conference title game in five years, playing again next week, while Manning is out. That’s very … wait for it … elite.
Adversity has been the topic of conversation throughout the media with the Ravens and being the underdog once again, but not in the Castle. “They are irrelevant. None of you all thought we were going to be right here this week anyways. (laughter) It doesn’t really matter. People say things. You can say whatever – whether we are trash-talking or they are trash-talking. Even during the game, you still have to go out there and play. The plays need to be made, regardless of who is out there. You have to play football for 60 minutes, so words don’t mean a thing,” Those were the words of wide receiver Torrey Smith. And that is the type of mind set that they will have to carry on the road to New England. The game is shaping up like a “Hollywood script” , Ravens and Patriots facing each other again, for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.
The team advances to the Championship round of the playoffs, which extends linebacker Ray Lewis’ career one more week. Ngata explained how the impact of him not returning to the team next season, has driven them to succeed in the playoffs, “I think, for me personally, when he announced it, I just thought that Ray Lewis has been in the league for so many years, 17 years, and he only went to the Super Bowl once. I looked at it as, ‘I’ve never been to the Super Bowl in seven years, and times like this never come around.’ So, you definitely have to make the most out of it and work real hard to try to get there. I think every individual has worked a little bit harder just to know that we probably will never be in this situation again.” That is the key everybody talks about it, momentum, the Ravens have it right now, if I were the Patriots I would be very sacred to face to Ravens. They are motivated and prepared mentally for the challenge, having battled a lot of on – and – off the field issues, to be where they are currently , is something very special.
Ravens TE Dennis Pita is defiantly up for the that battle, because he knows how hard everybody has worked to get back in this spot, “I think the things you go through, through the course of a season, really mold you as a football team, define you and help you learn and grow. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and through all that we’ve learned a lot and we feel better prepared now than we ever have in this position.” Since the Ravens defeated the top seed last week, the Broncos (13-4) became the latest No. 1 to lose in the divisional round. Since 2005, nine top-seeded teams lost their first game in the playoffs. Now the Ravens can take down another top seed -in the Patriots.