What they're saying about the Ravens -- Jan. 10

Here's a look at what other media outlets are saying about the Ravens' 30-7 win over the Chiefs:

• SI.com's Peter King speaks highly of the Ravens' ability to win away from M&T Bank Stadium.


Six playoff games in the past three years, all on the road. Four wins, three by double digits. Baltimore's success is more than hit-or-miss. "I think a lot of it is just being on a good team that doesn't take any plays off,'' quarterback Joe Flacco told me after the 30-7 rout of the Chiefs in Kansas City. "We like coming into hostile territory knowing if we play the way we know we can we can take the crowd out of the game. There's something about that, as a player, that is really motivating."

• John P. Lopez of SI.com grades both teams on yesterday's game.


Baltimore Ravens -- Quarterback: Joe Flacco did what winning quarterbacks do. He never blinked. After a sharp start that wasn't rewarded with touchdowns, Flacco came up clutch and executed every part of the Ravens' offense nicely. Most important, he responded to his own error, after fumbling when Tamba Hali stripped him, and led the Ravens to a huge second half. Flacco worked the play action nicely, including on Anquan Boldin's key late third-quarter touchdown. Grade: B-plus

• SI.com's Ben Reiter notes the Ravens' adjustments in the second half.

Charles never got there. In fact, he went backward in the second half -- he received just two more carries, on which he lost five yards -- along with the rest of his team. What had seemed explosive in the first half was all of a sudden merely volatile, a contrast to the tested and playoff-seasoned Ravens' relentless slow burn. "We got into the second half," quarterback Matt Cassel would say, "and it was just a lot of bad football on our part."

• As ESPN.com's James Walker states, Ravens-Steelers III makes sense in the AFC playoffs.

As [Ravens coach John] Harbaugh alluded, it's only fitting that these rivals settle their differences in the playoffs with both of their seasons on the line. There has been a lot of debate all season about which division team is truly better. The teams split two regular-season meetings and each finished 12-4. Pittsburgh won the tiebreaker and a coveted bye because it had a better division record.

But Saturday at Heinz Field there will be no excuses. The top division team will advance to the AFC title game and a shot at Super Bowl XLV.

• In another entry, Walker breaks down the Ravens' victory.

The Ravens won a wild-card game for the third straight year and improved to 7-3 all time on the road in the playoffs, which is an NFL-best mark since 1960. Baltimore will play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday at Heinz Field -- the third meeting between these teams this season. The Ravens and Steelers split the first two games, with each team winning on the road.

Lately, Baltimore's defense is playing at a Super Bowl level. In the past two games, the Ravens have forced an astounding 10 turnovers and held their opponents to 14 total points. Of those 10 turnovers, Baltimore has forced five fumbles and five interceptions. The Ravens are very hard to beat when their defense is this dominant. That also takes pressure off the Ravens' offense, which has been up and down this season.

• Clark Judge of CBSSports.com references Ravens-Steelers frequently in his "Judgements" column this week.

1. I picked the Ravens to make it to the Super Bowl, but I don't know that they make it out of Pittsburgh. Reason: The Steelers have their number at Heinz Field. OK, so Baltimore pulled out a last-minute victory there this year. Ben Roethlisberger didn't play. With Roethlisberger, the Steelers are 6-1 at home, including a playoff victory. Plus, they won their last six overall vs. the Ravens with Big Ben.


2. Three reasons why Pittsburgh-Baltimore is one of the premier NFL rivalries: Competition, competition, competition. Five of the last six regular-season games were decided by three points each, while the sixth was decided by four.

• ESPN.com's John Clayton previews the Ravens-Steelers matchup.

Get ready for old-school, hard-hitting football. Also expect a low-scoring game. Since 2007, the Ravens and Steelers have met eight times in the regular season with the scores averaging out to 18-17 in favor of the Steelers. The most points scored by one team in any one game was 27, accomplished by the Ravens -- a 27-21 victory in 2007. This game is personal, though. "I've lost to Ben Roethlisberger seven times,'' Suggs said. "He's definitely my biggest problem I'm facing.'' The key to these games is turnovers. Both defenses are designed to force turnovers. With another low-scoring game expected, the defense that wreaks the most havoc will likely push its team over the top.

"There wasn't anything more he could do to help his family in Louisiana," Harbaugh explained late yesterday afternoon. "He could still help his other family here."

Reed did that most specifically with his team trailing 7-3 late in the first half, roaring up after Matt Cassel completed a short swing pass to Dexter McCluster on third-and-8 near midfield. McCluster took one step and went down as if he'd been hit by a freight train.

He had been. He'd been hit by the Ed Reed Express, and with predictable results. He went down like a scarecrow battered by a tornado, his arms and legs akimbo and his head snapping back as he spilled to the ground 4 yards short of a first down.

• CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco shares a post-game story about Reed.

Ed Reed pulled the black hood over his head, as if to shield him from the real world he was about to re-enter, one filled with heartache and pain that the previous three hours on the football field numbed for a brief time. He then slowly walked to the team bus late Sunday, stopping only for condolences from well-wishers.


As the Baltimore Ravens' Pro Bowl safety walked out of Arrowhead Stadium, a shiny football tucked in his left arm, gripping it so tight you would think an entire world was trying to poke it free, I asked him if that was the most important game ball he had ever received.


"It certainly is," he said quietly. "It certainly is."

• Chris Harry of FanHouse.com also discusses Reed's decision to play.

In the center of Sunday's postgame hoopla stood Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed. Despite a heavy heart, the Pro Bowl safety provided a heavy hand in his team's 30-7 road roughing of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

Now the Ravens had something for their grieving star and his family. A game ball.

[Compiled by Dean Jones Jr.]

Recommended on Baltimore Sun