The Ravens appeared to get some bulletin-board material from Mike Tomlin when the Pittsburgh Steelers coach told former Indianapolis Colts coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy that his team’s game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 17 is “going to be fireworks.”
But a few Ravens players said Wednesday that they don’t plan to spend much time considering whether Tomlin overlooked them and Sunday’s night’s game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
“It’s just talk at this point,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “Everybody’s probably creating all kinds of scenarios in their heads. It’s just one of the things you talk about as you’re preparing for AFC playoff time. Who knows how it was meant, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything crazy. So we’re not going to take offense to anything like that.”
Thanks to a seven-game winning streak, the Steelers (10-2) are neck-and-neck with the Patriots (10-2) for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Before his team’s game against the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 26, Tomlin said he is looking forward to tangling with New England at least once and perhaps a second time in the postseason.
Asked during a conference call with Baltimore media whether he was concerned that the Ravens might take umbrage to his comments, Tomlin replied: “I don’t care, to be honest with you. I’d imagine they’re going to be duly motivated, and they don’t need artificial stimuli such as things like that. I know how that group operates. This is a big-time game for them. They’re riding a three-game win streak. This is AFC North football. That’s stuff that you guys talk about. Both teams will be ready to play, I’m sure of it.”
Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr dismissed any notion of using Tomlin’s thoughts as motivation and said the players should be more worried about avenging their 26-9 loss to Pittsburgh on Oct. 1.
“They can do what they want to do,” Carr said. “We’re worried about this game right here. This is playoff football for us. We take care of business. We owe them something. So we’ll see them soon.”
NOTE: Flacco had no regrets about imitating Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston’s pregame routine of “eating a ‘W.’ ” “I think everybody thought it was pretty funny,” Flacco said with a smile. “I did. I had some people say, ‘What the hell were you doing?’ and some people saying, ‘OK’ and laughing at it. It was just all in good fun.”