baltimoresun.com

« Vasquez breaks out a new move -- unfortunately | Main | McGwire on juicing: too little, too late »

Whose play will be key for the Ravens to beat the Colts on Saturday?


Football is a team game. I understand that.

You are only good as the unit as a whole – or something like that.

But one player’s performance can make a major difference, especially if that player is in a key “skill” position.

Ray Rice set the tone on Sunday with his spirit-crushing touchdown in the game’s first minute. Terrell Suggs and Chris Carr also stepped up at the right times and certainly were big reasons why the Ravens embarrassed the Patriots.

Now, Saturday evening it will be a new game, a new stage, a new opportunity.

And I am wondering whom will have the biggest influence on whether the Ravens’ win or lose – on the Ravens’ side that is.

If Peyton Manning is at the top of his game, the Ravens are likely packing up and going home next week. We all understand that.

But what about on Baltimore’s end?

Is there a Ravens’ player whose performance will best dictate how the team does against the Colts?

The easy answer is quarterback Joe Flacco, but he was non-existent against the Patriots and it didn’t matter. And I don’t see the game plan changing dramatically in Indianapolis (although I am sure there will be an attempt at better offensive balance).

So here’s my call: safety Ed Reed. A healthy Reed makes the cornerbacks and the entire secondary better. And Reed swarming around might just make the unflappable Manning hold the ball an extra nanosecond. And that could – just saying could, mind you -- give the Ravens’ pass rush the opening they need to be disruptive.

Again, I realize one man may not change the entire fate of Saturday’s football game. But one player could go a long way into determining it.

Daily Think Special: Whose play will be key for the Ravens to beat the Colts on Saturday?

Comments

I don't think it will be a player who will dictate how the team does, but which officiating crew gets assigned to the game. If the Ravens could draw the Gene Steratore crew every game, I think they would be Super Bowl-bound. That crew understands only the most flagrant penalties should be called and generally allows the players to decide the game on the field. Unfortunately, there are too many other NFL officiating crews who influence the outcomes of games with ticky-tack illegal contact and pass interference calls. That works against aggressive, physical defensive teams like the Ravens, especially when trying to contain a Peyton Manning-led offense. Once the secondary gets flagged a couple of times early, it influences how they play the rest of the game. I'm nervous that we may not get lucky two weeks in a row with the officiating assignment.

The offense. Like on Sunday they need to score TDs not FGs. If the 2nd and 3rd TDs had been FGs on Sunday, it would have been a very different game. Five FGs won't beat the Mayflowers.

Flacco has to do better you will see a need for a passing attack. From what I have been able to see he is not getting it done

I'm going out on a limb here. I'm not the biggest fan, and I think at times, he was almost hated as much as Bob Irsay. I think Frank Walker comes up huge in this game, redeems himself for the penalties during the season with a monster-play in the 4th quarter.

ED REED AND THE SECONDARY WILL HAVE TO PLAY GOOD

O.K. I predicted we'd beat the Pats 24-21. Not in my wildest dreams did I think we would beat them to a pulp. Now the Colts are going to be a true test. We (the Ravens), must keep the pigskin out of Peyton's hands as much as possible. I'm sure his daddy, bro and himself are going over game tapes as I write this. If we keep pretty much the same game plan we WILL beat the Irsay's team. Ravens 31-27. The whole team must play with the same intensity as they did Sunday. As I said before. I look forward to Raven fans going down I-95 enroute to Land Shark Stadium next month. Good Luck my Baltimore Ravens.

I think it may fall on Foxworth. If he can neutralize R Wayne w/o needing to double team him it will free up the safties to rotate over and give yellow flag Frank more support. It also would mean that we could potentially cover D Clark with C Carr which would be more effective than counting on a LB or saftey. Also, Ray Ray needs to shift the D around to counter Mannings audibles and keep him off balance.

The play of Terrell Suggs will be key to beat the Colts. If Terrell Suggs can get a consistant pass rush or even sack Peyton Manning, then the Colts will have to double team him, leaving one-on-one situations with Pryce, Ngata, Edwards, and others. Getting the passrush will also rattle manning and get him outside the pocket, where he is not as comfortable throwing, leading to a less successful day for him. This, in turn, could lead for better chances to win the game.

Rice doesn't make that run without the offensive lineman opening a hole wide enough for a tank to go through. The interceptions don't happen without pressure on the Q-B. We had no stupid penalties on either side of the ball. We have some great players, but we need all the Ravens to be 100% ready to give there best effort to be successful. Remember last year in the championship game with the Steelers. We get the ball in great position for 1 final drive to win the game when one of our 4th stringers was called for a personal foul on a wonderful return. End of game, end of season. We lost our chance to go to the Super Bowl because of that 4th stringer. It's a team game. There is no one person that's going to win this game for us. The Ravens are going to win as a TEAM.

Does anyone else think it's interesting that not a single writer mentioned Ed Reed's lateral during Sunday's game?? As soon as I saw it I thought the writers would be going nuts, since after the last one there was such an uproar. Funny how winning cures what ails ya.

I am so pumped for this game. Just watched the replay of the regular season narrow loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and MAN...wh had them right where we needed to have them; cannot wait for this rematch!

I forgot the Ravens had it first and goal inside the 2 yard line, yet had to settle for a field goal. I forgot Billy Cundiff missed a field goal that would have given us a lead midway through the fourth quarter. I forgot Fabian Washington got injured in that game and was placed on season-ending IR.

Wow, so much happened in that game and it was so close. I'm giddy going into this game and I have the feeling Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Derick Mason and Billy Cundiff will be the stars for the AFC Championship bound Ravens!

GO RAVENS!

Cundiff..If he had made that kick the final score would have been Ravens 18 Dolts 17

They were 17-15, and Ravens gave away several freebee points in 3rd critical plays. Imagine what can happen w/o those penalties. Colts are overrated and you know it. They barely scrapped off close wins to get the record they have. Ravens can win them, it'll be 23-20.

Still no baseball? I guess we are just SOOO over McGwire and steroids. I wonder how many of us are shocked, shocked to learn that Big Mac used steroids? Besides LaRussa, that is. Thank the Ravens that we have playoff football to discuss.

While Reed is very important to the secondary and is most likely to make a big play, if the front line doesn't get pressure on Peyton he's not going to make mistakes. For that reason I am picking Suggs as the key guy. Really, it will be the whole defense, but T-Sizzle is the one I'm singling out.

I have to go with Joe Flacco as we know the Defense will be there-They always are! This game will be decided with Joe's play period as we won't be able to do the same thing against the colts plus their cornerbacks are worse than ours and worse than the Pats so we will have to try to expose them. I think this will be a game about balance so while I don't see just one guy having a monster game, I think it will be spread around, a few to heap, a few to clayton and a TD to Mason, a running TD for Rice and a running TD to Willis oh and he actually makes a feild goal with game on line to win it Cundiff gives us the lead with a few ticks left on the clock. Then story line of Rex Ryan(best coach in football this year) against the Ravens will play full tilt. Go Ravens!

I think this place is going to be so packed on Saturday we might have to open up the back room (poker room).....especially with that 3 for 1 drinks special I'm hearing about.

Wow, so many kep players will influence. Good point on Reed barkeep. I also agree with the guy re: Foxworth. If he shuts down Bruce Wayne's half brother (from another mother) then Reed can double up on the French cook, Pierre Garcon. Let me toss another out there: I think the key might be Johnson & Landry neutralizing Peyton's security blanket, Dallas Clark. Let him catch the 3 yard passes but don't let him get deep over the middle.

Wow, this is going to be a great game/atmosphere. Better double up on security this weekend Dan.

I am surprised and at the same time happy to see that no one said Matt Stover. That's a wicked thought. Maybe T-sizzle or someone else could be the hero by blocking a attempted game winning field goal by Stover as the clock runs out.wnoclaw man Now that would be C O O L.

the play of our d line will be the key. if we can keep pressure on
manning than that will help the secondary greatly just like in the pats game
Mad Dog Barnes,Suggs, Pryce, Edwards,McClain hopefully these guys can keep the pressure on

Hey Nick P- My heart sank when he thre the lateral, I screamed just go down( as exciting as he is he worries me the way he carries the ball) I also know I would rather take the risk with him as he is one of the few players that by himself can change the outcome of a game. Explosive smart field vision But Ed tuck the darn ball as your going to give me a heart attack!

Suggs & Johnson play will be critical. Manning is the king of audibling into the right play but if Ray Ray can line em up again like he did against the Pats we will keep Manning uncomfortable but Suggs & Johnson will have to keep the pressure on him.

Ray Rice will get his yards but the Colts will force the Ravens into too many 3rd & long situations. Additionally, everyone knows that the Colts defense is better than the Patriots defense. The Colts will swarm to the ball. Flacco will throw two int's and be sacked as well. Ravens may keep it close until the 4th quarter when Manning & Co. pull away.

Carl Cheffers has been assigned referee duties. Ravens will be permitted to win this one.

I agree with Ray, it would be nice to have Gene Steratore's crew in back-to-back weeks.

Hey, why not? Did you notice that Bill Leavy's crew did the back-to-back Jets-Bengals games?

Just read the note that Carl Cheffers' crew has been assigned the game. That is a hopeful sign that we will not see a deluge of yellow flags.

Hey Purple! I actually yelled the same exact thing! Then again, our reactions remind me of that old clip of Billick yelling for Reed to just go down when he set that record breaking interception return for 108(?) yards...I guess with Ed Reed you GOTTA take the good with the gut wrenching...

Dan, Manning is going to find a bird to throw the ball to,rather than take a sack.It's up to our defensive line to pressure this dude to throw to the birds and maybe we should grind his rumpus into the turf a few times to remind him who's he's playing against; Ravens are football players who want the ball.That's what this game is about-take the rock and score more points,period.

Ray Rice
Willis McGahee
Joe Flacco
Todd Heap
Demetrius Williams
Derrick Mason
Ed Reed
Terrell Suggs
Ray Lewis

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

ADVERTISEMENT

Most Recent Comments
The Burning Question
ADVERTISEMENT

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Baltimore Sun blog updates

 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected