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No Ravens Ruled Out For Game At Cincinnati

December 23, 2013


OWINGS MILLS -- After the Ravens' flat performance during a 41-7 loss to the Patriots Dec. 22, the worst home defeat margin in team history, head coach John Harbaugh could have taken on the demeanor of the title character in Dr. Seuss' "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."

But Harbaugh isn't a mean one.

With Christmas approaching this week, Harbaugh changed up the normal weekly routine, breaking up the usual Wednesday-Thursday-Friday practice cycle into one that will instead run on a Tuesday-Thursday-Friday schedule.

Wednesday is Christmas Day, so the normal Tuesday off day will be moved back 24 hours to allow everyone in the organization to spend time with loved ones.

It's a time of year to celebrate happiness and health, and although the loss to New England wasn't a happy moment, Harbaugh did not rule anyone out for the regular-season finale.

That would include players who were injured against the Patriots, such as defensive end Arthur Jones (concussion), linebacker Daryl Smith (Achilles) and wideout Marlon Brown (hip).

As for quarterback Joe Flacco's knee sprain and his subpar performance while wearing a knee brace, Harbaugh acknowledged that the time of year had played a role.

"He's not 100 percent with that knee," Harbaugh said. "But every single player is not 100 percent at this stage of the season. How much did it affect him? It's impossible to say."

Another possible factor during the blowout loss was the Ravens' Dec. 16 game in Detroit and the short turnaround.

In 2007, Baltimore lost a hotly contested Monday home game to New England and were blown out by Indianapolis six days later. But in 2009, they followed up a road Monday-night loss in Green Bay with a big home win against Detroit, 48-3.

"We had to fight through it," Harbaugh said. "The effort was there, but we didn't have enough juice to pull it off."


JOEY P'S TRIVIA TIME: Today's question:

Baltimore's 41-7 Week 16 loss to New England was the biggest home defeat margin in team history, with the second largest being a 35-8 loss to Kansas City in 1999.

Brian Billick was the head coach at that time, so when did the second-largest home defeat margin under John Harbaugh take place?

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's column.


MEDIA AWARDS: Later during the week, a ceremony will be held for the winners of the 11th-annual Ravens Media Awards.

This year, kicker Justin Tucker was named the Most Valuable Player and Flacco took the Good Guy Award.

Tucker beat a field of nominees that included Flacco, linebacker Daryl Smith, cornerback Jimmy Smith and wideout Torrey Smith.

For the Good Guy honor, Flacco bested a quartet of teammates -- Torrey Smith, tight end Ed Dickson, defensive end Chris Canty and strong safety James Ihedigbo.

Here is a list of the previous winners of the two awards. The Team MVP for each year is listed first, followed by the Good Guy honoree.

2003 -- Jamal Lewis, Gary Baxter
2004 -- Ed Reed, Anthony Weaver
2005 -- Adalius Thomas, Jamal Lewis
2006 -- Steve McNair, Bart Scott
2007 -- Willis McGahee, Derrick Mason
2008 -- Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs 
2009 -- Ray Rice, Jarret Johnson 
2010 -- Haloti Ngata, Chris Carr
2011 -- Ray Rice, Bernard Pollard
2012 -- Ray Rice, Arthur Jones
2013 -- Justin Tucker, Joe Flacco


GREEN TO REF: For the third time this season, veteran referee Scott Green will be the man in charge at a Ravens game when he takes the field in Cincinnati Dec. 29.

Green, a Delaware graduate, worked the preseason opener between the Ravens and Buccaneers, during which a thunderstorm hit Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

When the Ravens came off their bye to close the season's first half at Cleveland, Green was again the referee.

Green has worked one Super Bowl as the lead official, wearing the white hat at Super Bowl XLIV at SunLife Stadium north of Miami.

It was Green who had to untangle the pile of bodies in front of the New Orleans Saints' bench when they began the second half with a surprise onside kick that they recovered. 

The Saints went on to win, defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.


QUOTE OF THE DAY: Torrey Smith said it as succinctly as anyone could have:

"We played the games. We are where we are because we earned it."


JOEY P'S TRIVIA TIME ANSWER: Here's the question we asked earlier in this column:

Baltimore's 41-7 Week 16 loss to New England was the biggest home defeat margin in team history, with the second largest being a 35-8 loss to Kansas City in 1999.

Brian Billick was the head coach at that time, so when did the second-largest home defeat margin under John Harbaugh take place?


The Ravens haven't lost at home often under Harbaugh. Two of the nine home defeats during his tenure have been by more than four points.

One of them was the loss to the Patriots, and one wouldn't have to look too far back to find the other.

It was the nadir of last December's three-game losing streak, a 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos, which raised questions about whether the team could go on any kind of playoff run once it got there.

The Ravens looked flat against Denver, falling behind, 17-0, in part because of Broncos cornerback Chris Harris' 98-yard interception return for a touchdown just before halftime.

One bright spot for the Ravens that day came in the form of tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught seven passes, two of them for touchdowns.

Joe Platania is in his 20th season covering professional football.