Carroll County Times

Ravens notebook: Ravens rest big-name injured players as they ready for postseason

CINCINNATI - There were thousands of empty seats at Paul Brown Stadium. Two hours before game time, hundreds of fans in the streets surrounding the stadium seeking to unload their tickets. Many of them knew that lots of big names would be missing.

Six of the seven Baltimore Ravens inactives were boldface names. Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda, Anquan Boldin and Haloti Ngata joined Bernard Pollard, Ray Lewis and Tandon Doss on the sidelines.

Ngata (knee) and Yanda (shoulder/knee) did not practice all week, Boldin (shoulder) and Doss (ankle) were limited in practice. Suggs (biceps) and Pollard (chest) were listed as probable on Friday's injury report.

Lewis was activated from the Reserve/Injured list on Wednesday, but coach John Harbaugh announced he wouldn't play.

"The guys that we sat down were mostly injury situations," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh removed many of the starters on both offense and defense late in the first quarter.

"It's tough when you get taken out early in the game. That's not really what you want to do," Corey Graham said. "It would have been two games in a row that we would have been rolling. It's something that we all want to do, but we don't make those calls."

HERE COME CHUCK AND LUCK: It's always a big deal when the Colts come back to Baltimore. It will be a bigger deal this time because of Chuck Pagano's return and the first visit of Andrew Luck.

"Chuck is like a dad to me," Ed Reed said. Reed admitted to feeling emotional when seeing his onetime defensive coordinator and current Indianapolis coach return to the sidelines on Sunday.

For the Ravens who didn't play for Pagano, the thoughts turned to Luck.

"That's who we play?" Graham said. "He's done a great job this year. He's made a lot of plays for his team. To be in the playoffs, it shows how much he's added to the team. He's making all those throws, making all those plays out there."

LEACH HURT: Vonta Leach's afternoon was nearly as short as his teammates. Leach injured his ankle when he caught a two-yard pass on Baltimore's second play.

Late in the second quarter, offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele left late in the second quarter.

Harbaugh said both Leach and Osemele would be fine and ready to play next weekend.

RICE HURTS: With the Ravens at the Bengals 32 yard-line on their first drive, Ray Rice took them out of field goal range by taking a shot at Cincinnati's Vontaze Burflict.

Joe Flacco had just thrown an incompletion, and Justin Tucker would have attempted a field goal of about 50 yards. The drive had already been kept alive by Bengals' offside penalty when Sam Koch was set to punt and a fourth down run.

In the second quarter, Bobbie Williams was penalized for kneeing Burflict, who has a reputation for trash talking.

In the third quarter, Terrence Cody leveled Cincinnati backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski after an incompletion, and he was assessed a roughing the passer penalty, prolonging a Bengals drive that ended in a field goal.

PLAYING TIME: For many of the little-used Ravens, Sunday was their day to pad statistics. Tight end Billy Bajema, who had been inactive for eight games, defensive end Bryan Hall, who sat out 11and wide receiver Deonte Thompson was active for the first time since Oct. 7.

Bajema moved to fullback after Leach left the game.

"I definitely didn't expect him to go out so early," Bajema said. "We knew that I would be playing some fullback today with how the game was going."

STATS NO ONE CARES ABOUT: Rice ran three times for just five yards, the second lowest of his career. Flacco was 4-for-8 for 34 yards in his shortest outing as a pro.

"I'm used to scoring touchdowns in this stadium," Rice said. "Last year, we finished [the regular season] off here. We got the No. 2 seed, and I almost had 200 yards rushing. It was different this time around. We know where we're at in the playoffs."

The Ravens gained nearly twice as many yards as the Bengals (352-189). They had 206 rushing yards to 49 for Cincinnati and had 23 first downs to the Bengals' nine.

PIERCE RUNS: With Rice sitting, Bernard Pierce followed up his 123-yard game against the Giants with another strong on. He ran 22 times for 89 yards.