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Ravens Insider
The latest Baltimore Ravens news, notes and analysis
Ravens cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin, Lardarius Webb praised by John Harbaugh

Ravens cornerback Rashaan Melvin doesn’t lack for boldness. 

During his first NFL start Sunday, Melvin played with a visible swagger as he challenged Houston Texans wide receivers Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins in press coverage.

Although that confidence backfired a bit when Johnson got behind him for a 35-yard reception to start the game, Melvin allowed just two receptions for 42 yards on 10 passes thrown in his direction.

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson finished the game with six receptions for 65 yards on 13 targets. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins caught no passes on three targets while covered by Melvin.

“Very, very pleased. Rashaan played really well,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “I thought our whole secondary played very well. Rashaan was right there. He shadowed both No. 80 [Johnson] and No. 10 [Hopkins] all over the field."

Veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb allowed just three catches for 21 yards on six passes thrown in his direction.

“I thought Webb...

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Ravens went with undrafted rookie Fitz Toussaint instead of Bernard Pierce in relief of Justin Forsett

When running back Justin Forsett turned his ankle in the fourth quarter Sunday, the Ravens didn't turn to backup Bernard Pierce.

Instead, undrafted rookie running back Fitz Toussaint relieved Forsett and rushed for 11 yards on four carries in the during 23-15 loss to the Houston Texans. Toussaint had a long run of 12 yards. He also caught two passes for 20 yards on five targets.

It was something of a surprise to not have Pierce in the game considering that he was a third-round draft pick and entered the season as the starter. However, Pierce hasn't had a very productive season with 358 yards and two touchdowns on 87 carries.

Pass protection skills may have been a factor in the decision, as well.

"I'm not going to make a comparison like you're trying to lead me into," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when asked why Toussaint got the nod ahead of Pierce. "We like Fitzgerald Toussaint as a player, gave him a chance to play. We like Pierce, too.

"You only get so many carries and so many...

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Johnny Manziel out for season; Ravens to face Brian Hoyer or rookie Connor Shaw

Johnny Football won't be be lining up against the Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel was ruled out for the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury, coach Mike Pettine announced.

So, the Browns could start rookie quarterback Connor Shaw against the Ravens. Shaw is an undrafted free agent who excelled at South Carolina with a 27-5 all-time record and flashed some potential during the preseason.

There's also a chance that veteran quarterback and former starter Brian Hoyer could play despite a shoulder injury. The Ravens need to beat the Browns and have the San Diego Chargers lose to the Kansas City Chiefs to earn the sixth AFC playoff spot.

The news about Manziel broke at the start of Ravens coach John Harbaugh's Monday news conference at team headquarters.

"I didn't know that. That's good," Harbaugh said. "It's Hoyer or Shaw? Is Hoyer hurt? I mean, not good that he has a shoulder injury. For all those policing out there, I'm...

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NFL playoff scenarios for final week of regular season

As the Ravens head into their regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns, here's a look at all of their playoff scenarios as well as the rest of the NFL in a release from the league.

If the Denver Broncos beat the Cincinnati Bengals tonight, the Ravens can clinch a playoff berth in one of three ways: a win over the Browns on Sunday plus a loss by the Bengals to the Pittsburgh Steelers; a win over the Browns plus the San Diego Chargers losing or tying the Kansas City Chiefs; or a tie with the Browns plus a loss by the Chargers.

If the Bengals win tonight, only the last two scenarios are possible.

The New England Patriots already have clinched the AFC East division title and a first-round bye, the Denver Broncos have clinched the AFC West and the Indianapolis Colts have clinched the AFC South. The Pittsburgh Steelers have clinched a playoff berth, but it's still possible that the Bengals can win the AFC North by winning their final two games.

The Patriots clinch home-field...

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Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 25-13 loss to the Houston Texans

As he does each week, Childs Walker shares his five biggest takeaways from the Ravens' 25-13 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.

1. The Ravens still might make the playoffs, but it's hard to feel they deserve it.

It was easy to shrug last week when the Ravens struggled to put away the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars at home. Almost every playoff team has to survive a few clunkers, after all.

But this performance in Houston was different and not merely because the Ravens lost. They had a chance to maintain control of their fate against a quarterback, Case Keenum, who was on another team’s practice squad seven days earlier. You couldn’t tee up a much better scenario.

Not only couldn’t the Ravens take advantage; they never seemed competitive. It was their emptiest, most dispiriting performance of an erratic season.

It’s hard to find words to sum up how terribly the Ravens played on offense Sunday.

For much of the season, I thought I might be watching the best, most balanced...

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Steve Smith expects 'fat, lazy, sorry couch quarterbacks' to criticize Ravens after loss

Wide receiver Steve Smith anticipates plenty of criticism for the Ravens after their 23-15 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday that damaged their chances of making the playoffs.

In colorful and feisty fashion, the veteran took aim at anyone who rips the team.

"We expect and understand and anticipate all of the negative feedback and all of the fat, lazy, sorry couch quarterbacks are going to come out," Smith said. "We expect that and understand that. We’re not going to pay attention to it."

Smith, who got angry with reporters after the game in the Ravens' locker room, was easily the most visibly frustrated player after a loss in which he was limited to five receptions for 49 yards while being targeted 12 times.

When asked how much he was concerned about the Ravens’ offensive problems, Smith replied testily: “Won’t you write it and then I can tell you how much [BS] it is. All right? OK?”

Smith had few words to say about a postgame jersey exchange with Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson....

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