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News » Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-01-02

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-01-02

Baltimore Ravens Inside Slant 2009-01-02
The Ravens return to the place where they turned their season around.

Their 27-13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 19 propelled the Ravens to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

Before the Ravens went down to South Florida, they had lost three straight games and had a bad habit of turning the ball over.

The Ravens have since won nine of 11 games, growing on offense and dominating on defense.

"They're a different team right now, (and) we're a totally different team at this point," Ravens safety Ed Reed said. "I'm sure there's going to be a bunch of new things that they present."

The Ravens lost 12 turnovers in their first five games of the season behind rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. They've lost nine turnovers in the past 11 games, including one at Miami, when Flacco threw for 232 yards and had the first 100-plus passer rating of his NFL career.

Harbaugh wasn't buying the notion of an advantage for having played and won at Dolphin Stadium this year.

"We'll probably know the hotel, and we've been in the locker room before," he said. "Beyond that, I don't know what it means. We know they're a very good football team, and we know that they've done something that teams that make the playoffs do - they've gotten better every single week since that game.

"So it's going to be a playoff football game, and it's going to be a playoff atmosphere against a team that we respect very much."

In the first Miami game, Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington had 295 passing yards - and a costly interception that linebacker Terrell Suggs returned 44 yards for a touchdown.

Pennington, signed late in training camp after being cut by the New York Jets, has thrown only seven interceptions all season, against 19 touchdowns. He has been the key player behind Miami's rejuvenation.

"I guarantee you they're a much better team than they were earlier this season," said Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason. "Much better. They were a hard team (to beat) the first time; they're much better now."

Both teams enter the playoffs with momentum. The Dolphins have won five straight games and eight of nine. The Ravens have won two in a row and five of their past six.

Flacco said the Ravens won't be fazed by the fact that they'll be on the road the rest of the season - however long it lasts. They will take their inspiration from last year's Super Bowl champion, the New York Giants, who won three straight road games to reach the Super Bowl as a wild-card team.

"As long as you go in there and play your game, it's a football game," Flacco said. "It's not going to faze us to go on the road. I think everybody saw New York do it last year, and we believe we can go do the same thing."

SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. The Ravens trail in the regular-season series, 5-2. The Ravens won the only postseason game, beating the Dolphins, 20-3, in Miami on Jan. 13, 2002. Terry Allen rushed for 109 yards. Elvis Grbac hit Travis Taylor for a 4-yard touchdown pass that capped a 99-yard drive. The always-tough Ravens defense didn't allow a touchdown.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 2, 2009

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