The Ravens are one of the few teams that have not allowed New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker to enjoy too much success when they meet on the field. Prior to a 31-30 win on Sept. 23, the defense had surrendered just 22 receptions for 172 yards and zero touchdowns to Welker in four meetings.
But Welker erupted for eight catches for 142 yards in that regular-season contest in Week 3, and he grabbed another eight balls for 131 yards in the Patriots’ 41-28 dusting of the Houston Texans in Sunday’s AFC Divisional round.
The task of containing Welker – who lines up in the slot in New England’s three-receiver set –could be assigned to cornerback Corey Graham, who usually slides inside in the Ravens’ nickel package. It could be an interesting matchup between Welker and Graham, who is rated as the second-best cornerback in the postseason by Pro Football Focus.
Graham, who has intercepted two passes and broken up two more, said the defense is fully aware of the potential damage that can be done by Welker, who is the first player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons and is the league leader in yards after catch since 2007.
“He can do it all,” Graham said of Welker. “Everybody saw the game last week. I believe in the first half he had 100-some yards receiving. He is a very quick guy. He catches the ball well. [Quarterback Tom] Brady is looking for him a lot, and he makes a lot of guys miss with fakes and things like that, so he is a complete receiver. I have my hands full in the slot, but I am up to the challenge.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun