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NFL Playoffs Capsule: Ravens at Patriots

NFL Playoffs Capsule: Ravens at Patriots

BALTIMORE (12-6) At NEW ENGLAND (13-4)

Sunday, 6:30 p.m., CBS

OPENING LINE - Patriots by 9 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Baltimore 8-10; New England 10-7

SERIES RECORD - Patriots lead 7-2

AP PRO32 RANKING - Ravens No. 11; Patriots No. 2

LAST MEETING - Ravens beat Patriots 31-30, Sept. 23, 2012

LAST WEEK - Ravens beat Broncos 38-35, 2 OT; Patriots beat Texans 41-28

RAVENS OFFENSE - OVERALL (16), RUSH (11), PASS (15)

RAVENS DEFENSE - OVERALL (17), RUSH (20), PASS (17)

PATRIOTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (1), RUSH (7), PASS (4)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (25), RUSH (9), PASS (29)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Teams meet for second straight season in AFC championship game and third time in playoffs, all in Foxborough. Ravens won 33-14 in wild-card game Jan. 10, 2010. ... Ravens beat Patriots this season on last-play 27-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. ... Ravens lost AFC title game last year when Joe Flacco threw two incompletions from Patriots 14-yard line followed by Billy Cundiff's failed 32-yard field goal attempt on next to last play. ...Win sends Ravens to Super Bowl for second time, first since 34-7 win over New York Giants on Jan. 28, 2001. ... Ravens 8-5 postseason road record is best in NFL for teams with minimum of 10 road games. ... LB Ray Lewis retiring after this season, his 17th. He's 12-7 in postseason games and only Raven remaining from last championship team. He has 30 tackles in two playoff games this season. ... Ravens gained 503 yards in this season's win over Patriots. They averaged 459 in two playoff wins this year. ... With five postseason road wins, Flacco tied with Eli Manning for most in NFL history and only quarterback with postseason victory in each of first five seasons during Super Bowl era. Flacco 2-3 vs. Patriots in his career with nine TD passes, four INTs. He threw for postseason franchise record 331 yards in playoff win over Broncos. ... RB Ray Rice rushed for 131 yards against Broncos, his second playoff game with more than 100 yards rushing. First was 33-14 win over Patriots when he rushed for 159, starting with 83-yard TD run on Ravens first offensive play. Led AFC running backs this season with 61 receptions. ... WR Jacoby Jones had 70-yard TD catch with 31 seconds left in regulation against Broncos. He led NFL in kickoff return average with 30.7 yards and returned two kickoffs and one punt for TDs. ... WR Anquan Boldin averaging 108 yards receiving in playoffs with 10 of his 11 catches going for first downs. ... WR Torrey Smith has nine catches for 209 yards and three TDs in two career games vs. Patriots. ... LB Paul Kruger led Ravens in regular season with nine sacks. He had at least one in six of his last eight regular-season games and 2 1/2 in this year's playoffs. ... Patriots going for second straight Super Bowl appearance and third in six years, but lost previous two to New York Giants. Won three NFL titles in four years but none in seven full seasons since then. ... Win sends Patriots to eighth Super Bowl, tying Dallas and Pittsburgh for most all-time. ... Patriots 14-3 at home in postseason. ... Brady's 17th postseason win last Sunday broke tie with Joe Montana for most by NFL quarterback. ... Brady 7-6 in postseason after starting 10-0. ... His 78.4 passer rating in seven career games against Ravens lowest against any opponent. ... Bill Belichick's next win is his 18th as coach in postseason, one behind Don Shula and two behind NFL leader Tom Landry. ... TE Rob Gronkowski sidelined for season after breaking left arm on Patriots seventh offensive play vs. Texans, had missed five games with broken left forearm before returning for regular-season finale. ... Third-string RB Shane Vereen scored three TDs - two receiving, one running - last Sunday against Texans. His 124 yards from scrimmage were career high. Only other players with two TD receptions and a TD run in the same playoff game were Roger Craig and Ricky Watters. ... RB Danny Woodhead expected back after hurting thumb on Patriots first offensive play against Houston and missing rest of game. ... Patriots led NFL with 427.9 yards and 34.8 points per game. ... Patriots first in NFL with plus-25 turnover differential, got only turnover of game against Houston on INT by DE Rob Ninkovich. ... DT Vince Wilfork and Ninkovich tied for second in NFL during regular season with four fumble recoveries.

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John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

Coach John Harbaugh, just six days after his team’s disappointing 28-12 loss to the Titans in the AFC playoffs, has already had to defend his quarterback.

Faced with some criticism after Jackson finished 31-of-59 passing, and three total turnovers, Harbaugh mentioned how far Jackson has come in the last year — which also ended in an early playoff loss at home.

“It’s really interesting to look at Lamar Jackson, because look at the progress he made in the last year,” Harbaugh said Friday. “Because the same question, I think you might have asked it last year, how is he going to get better going forward? And he did a good job, right? He’s 23 years old. He’s younger than Joe Burrow. So, he has a pretty good head start right now.”

Jackson is now 0-2 in the playoffs with a 19-3 regular season record. 



He’s likely the MVP this season after he passed for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards, setting the single-season rushing record for a quarterback along the way. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns and carried the most prolific offense in the league to a league-best 14-2. 

Harbaugh isn’t worried that his quarterback, who is just 23-years-old, hasn’t found his playoff success yet.

“The Manning brothers combined to, they had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won one,” Harbaugh explained. (Joe) Montana, (Steve) Young and (Brett) Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season, (Drew) Brees and (Troy) Aikman, until their fourth season, and (Aaron) Rodgers until his fifth season.”

After the season ended, Harbaugh added that Jackson went to his office to discuss the offseason and what he needed to do to improve. 

While Harbaugh and the offensive coaching staff had a plan for Jackson to improve, Jackson “nailed” each and every single critique that the coaches had laid out for him.

“I’m really confident in Lamar and his understanding the things he needs to do to get better, and that he’s going to work really hard to keep building himself up as a player,” Harbaugh said.

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Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

Harbaugh reflects on resting starters: 'I might go the other way' next year

If the Ravens can pull off winning the AFC North division title three years in a row, their starters might be on the hook for Week 17 next time around.

In head coach John Harbaugh's season-review press conference on Friday, the Ravens leader of 12 years was asked if resting his starters in Week 17 vs Pittsburgh contributed to their AFC Divisional Round loss to the Tennesse Titans. 

"I mean, we didn't play well," he said.

Harbaugh went on to explain how he dove into the numbers of football's past in order to make decisions ahead of hosting the Steelers in their regular-season finale. The Ravens ultimately won 28-10 before two weeks off and then losing to Tennessee, 28-12.

"You look at the history, and I did that, went back and looked at the history," Coach Harbaugh said. "And the history is about 50/50. You know, teams have held their guys out and won and then won the Super Bowl. Teams have held their guys out and lost. It's gone both ways. We held our guys out and won and we won the Super Bowl [in 2012]. I was probably leaning on that in all honesty."

"Going forward after this, I might go the other way, you know?" Harbaugh offered. "Right now, if I had to do it today, and it's next year and we're in this situation, God willing we're in the same situation, we'll probably go the other way in all honesty."

Analytics can only tell you what has happened in the past, not what will happen next. A predictive guide at best, resting starters is likely best exercised as a case-by-case, team-by-team situation.

Since coming to Baltimore in 2008, Harbaugh has only been faced with this specific decision twice, establishing a 50/50 track record himself. It worked for the Ravens in 2012 as they went on to beat the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.

It did not work in 2019. 

"The disappointment ... is that we didn't play our best football," Harbaugh continued. "That's the thing that really sticks to us. We're way better than what we played in both those games, and we're gonna have to grow from that." 

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