Baltimore Sun reporters, columnists and editors share their immediate thoughts about the Ravens' game against the Houston Texans in Week 16 of the NFL season.
Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The Ravens now will need help to get into the playoffs, and they have nobody to blame but themselves. To have that wretched of a performance with so much on the line spurs so many questions about the makeup and talent on the team, along with the coaching. All the strides that Joe Flacco and Gary Kubiak’s offense have made this season now seem rather insignificant. Given the circumstances, it truly was one of the worst performances during John Harbaugh’s tenure, and the Ravens are going to have a long time to lament it unless they get some help over the next week and make it to the postseason.
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens earned this loss, and they haven't shown in the past two weeks that they are playoff sharp.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Joe Flacco picked a very bad time to have one of the worst...Read more
Ravens veteran defensive end Chris Canty is active for Sunday's road game against the Houston Texans despite an ankle injury that sidelined him in practice all week.
Although Canty didn't practice, he was expected to play after making progress throughout the week and resting his ankle. Canty has 30 tackles, a half-sack and one forced fumble this season. He had four tackles last Sunday in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Meanwhile, the Ravens scratched rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro (River Hill), nose tackle Terrence Cody, cornerback Chris Greenwood, inside linebacker Arthur Brown, center Gino Gradkowski, center-guard Ryan Jensen and defensive tackle Casey Walker.
Texans starting wide receivers Andre Johnson (concussion) and DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) are both active.
The Texans deactivated quarterback Tom Savage, linebacker Mike Mohamed, offensive lineman Xavier Sua-Filo, tight end Garrett Graham, wide receiver DeVier Posey, safety Josh Aubrey and linebacker Jason Ankrah.
The San Diego Chargers' comeback victory at M&T Bank Stadium three weeks ago was viewed as a significant hit to the Ravens' playoff hopes, but the Ravens overcame the setback to get into wild-card position.
Now, the Ravens are dealing with the ramifications of another Chargers' comeback, this one against John Harbaugh's brother, Jim, and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Chargers rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit last night to beat the host 49ers, 38-35, in overtime. The victory improved San Diego's record to 9-6, and means that the Ravens will not be able to clinch a postseason berth Sunday.
Entering the weekend, the Ravens (9-5) knew that they could clinch at least a wild-card spot with a victory this afternoon against the Houston Texans (7-7) and losses by the Chargers against the 49ers, and the Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) against the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-4).
However, that scenario no longer is in play because of San Diego's win last night.
Now, the Ravens' only chance to clinch a...Read more
As the Ravens (9-5) square off with the Houston Texans (7-7) at 1 p.m. Sunday at NRG Stadium, here’s Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson’s checklist of things to keep an eye on:
1. Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs
The Ravens’ formidable outside linebacker tandem has combined for 28 sacks this season, with Dumervil's 17 tied with Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston for most in the NFL. Between Dumervil, Suggs and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, the Ravens have built an extremely dangerous pass rush. That should pay dividends against relatively inexperienced quarterback Case Keenum, who is expected to start Sunday. He lost all eight of his starts last season for the Texans but has not played in 2014, having been on the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad. Keenum has a live arm and doesn’t lack for confidence, but could be overwhelmed by Dumervil and Suggs. The Texans rank 25th in passing offense despite the presence of two capable wide receivers in Andre Johnson and...Read more
The late Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton was nicknamed "Sweetness."
That was a nod of respect to the Hall of Fame running back's moves on the football field as well as his good-natured personality and generosity off the field.
Those qualities were recognized in wide receiver Torrey Smith by the Ravens on Friday when he was named the franchise's nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Smith is one of 32 NFL players nominated for an award that will be presented Jan. 31 during the NFL Honors program.
The former Maryland standout emphasized that the award is nice, but it's not why he and his wife, Chanel, are so involved in the community. That includes mentoring and reading programs for children.
“I feel like you’re getting rewarded for what you’re supposed to do," Smith said. "I don’t think it’s really anything special that I’m doing. We’re in a position where we all know what it’s like on the outside looking in. We looked up to athletes or entertainers or whoever...Read more