By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
9:02 AM EST, January 8, 2013
It was an extremely turbulent week for the Ravens prior to being routed by the Denver Broncos in December.
Before a 34-17 loss to the AFC West champions, the Ravens fired longtime, oft-criticized offensive coordinator Cam Cameron one day after an overtime loss to the Washington Redskins and replaced him by elevating quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.
As the Ravens (11-6) prepare for Saturday's AFC divisional-round playoff game against the Broncos (13-3) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, free safety Ed Reed referenced the troubles surrounding the Ravens on Dec. 16 at M&T Bank Stadium.
"We had some internal stuff going on that definitely affected the way we played," Reed said following the Ravens' AFC wild-card playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts. "We were not a team that day at all."
That was apparent in terms of the Ravens' lackluster play.
Losing their third consecutive game, the Ravens trailed by 28 points heading into the fourth quarter. That followed quarterback Joe Flacco's pair of turnovers, including an interception returned the entire length of the field by cornerback Chris Harris, gave the Broncos 10 points.
The Ravens' offense was ineffective.
And the defense struggled as well with running back Knowshon Moreno running roughshod over Baltimore, hurdling a stationary Reed at one point as Manning exploited the secondary with his receivers' double-move patterns to strike deep with a touchdown pass to Eric Decker behind cornerback Cary Williams.
Will this game be different now that the Ravens get back several injured players who missed the first game against Denver? That includes offensive guard Marshal Yanda, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis, tight end Ed Dickson and strong safety Bernard Pollard with all set to play Saturday.
"It’s going to be a hard-fought game," Reed said. "This is the playoffs. We know what we got, they know what we got. We’re going down there with all of our weapons and all of our tools. And we’re coming to bang.”