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Pollard on scrambling QBs: 'I swear to you, I'm going to kill 'em'

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Pollard on scrambling QBs: 'I swear to you, I'm going to kill 'em'

The fallout from Ed Reed’s overturned one-game suspension continues Wednesday, with fellow Ravens safety Bernard Pollard making the most poignant remarks about the NFL’s punitive system towards defenders and vowing to have no mercy on quarterbacks who run to the sideline from now on.

Reed was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty in a 13-10 win vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, his third in three seasons, that resulted in him being banned from the Ravens’ facilities all week and missing Sunday’s game at the San Diego Chargers. But the appeals process reduced the penalty to a $50,000 fine Tuesday and he'll be allowed to play.

Pollard was still ticked about his missed the tackle on Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich, and blamed it in large part on the NFL’s rules that have especially made hard hits near the sideline taboo.

Leftwich ran toward the sideline and appeared to be heading out of bounds. He then turned up field to complete a 31-yard touchdown run to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead.

The Ravens were able to come back to win, but the play was a microcosm of the difficulty defensive players. The rules are slanted toward offenses, and Pollard, who has had a few unnecessary roughness penalties this season, tried to pull up as he anticipated a flag.

"I don’t want to make an excuse, but it is getting tougher for us as defensive players. Anytime we play this game and think (too much) that’s when all kind of bad things are going to happen. I thought he honestly was going out of bounds," Pollard said. "He started going that way and then he turned upfield. …

"We laughed at it because obviously we got the win. Those are things where now if a quarterback’s going to the sideline and I got a chance I swear to you I’m going to kill 'em."

Of course, Pollard was speaking figuratively. But Reed’s penalty came on a hit after Emmanuel Sanders made a 20-yard catch in Ravens territory. Sanders was going toward the sideline, too, but he was still inbounds.

Pollard took aim at Commissioner Roger Goodell, who he contends has boxed himself into a corner with so many rules that don’t take into account such predicaments for defenders, or when an offensive player ducks his head to avoid contact and actually creates the helmet-to-helmet hits.

"You want bigger, faster, stronger, quicker guys every single year…but then you set up these rules that say, ‘We’re not going to allow that.’ You can’t do anything. You honestly can’t," Pollard said. "He knows and understands that he controls this. He has more power than is needed. I understand that it might be a tough position for him to be in at times but he signed up for it. He knew the potential problems he could face.

"We got to stand up as defensive players because we’re at a disadvantage from the get-go. …When they’re reacting and ducking their heads, you can’t blame us for that. There needs to be a fine line. … It needs to be another person’s decision to say, ‘That wasn’t an illegal hit.’ You’re putting doctors on the sideline, you got review officials and everything else."

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

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4 must-see moments from the Ravens' Week 15 win over the Bucs, including Marlon Humphrey's big day

It was a wet and dreary day in Baltimore as the Ravens earned a 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winning four of their last five games, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens extended their run to the postseason in a total team effort.

Here are four must-see moments from the Week 15 win.

1. Humphrey's big day

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey further cemented he's worthy of a Pro Bowl nomination during Sunday's game. The 2017 first-round draft pick laid a huge hit on Bucs running back Ronald Jones in the first quarter for a loss.

Then Humphrey picked off quarterback Jameis Winston early in the fourth quarter to earn his first interception of the season and a career-high four passes defensed on the day. 

2. Chris Moore puts Ravens on the board

After a slow start, the Ravens finally got on the board late in the second quarter thanks to a five-yard touchdown by wide receiver Chris Moore.

Jackson ran to the left to throw off the Bucs defense before shovel passing that ball to Moore who ran it into the endzone from the right. Simple yet effective.

3. Gus 'the bus' drives to the endzone

Running back Gus Edwards has taken the Ravens' running game to new levels. Ranked 27th in the league heading into Week 11, the teams run game is now ranked second in the NFL after Sunday's performance. 

This 10-yard touchdown run gave the Ravens some breathing room early in the third quarter as they took a 17-9 lead. An introvert in the locker room but an extrovert on the field, Edwards has 100 consecutive rushes without a loss of a yard marking the longest active streak in the NFL.

Edwards finished the day with a game-high 104 yards on 19 carries and his third 100-yard game this season.

4. Jackson in action...again

Five games as the starter and we know for certain that Jackson can, and will, run the ball down the field.

Facing 3rd-and-seven, the QB magically avoided a sack and ran for 11 yards to pick up the first down.

Even though Jackson's effort was offset by a 15-yard unecessary roughness penalty against running back Kenneth Dixon, the play was still impressive.

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

Most NFL teams would fear putting their season in the hands of two rookies, but quarterback Lamar Jackson and undrafted free agent Gus Edwards have taken the Baltimore Ravens' confidence to a new level.

You can feel the effects on both sides of the ball as the offense and defense have been working cohesively since their Week 10 bye. Jackson and the offense have dominated time of possession over those four weeks, which in hand allows the defense to have fresh legs each time they take the field as they remain the No.1 total defense in the league.

With two games to go and the postseason in sight, the respect among teammates is apparent.

"We appreciate it so much, the way our offense is playing," linebacker C.J. Mosley said following the team's 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "It's keeping their offense off the field. It allows us to take care of our business, get us rest when we need it, and that is huge."

Heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday's win, Jackson had already hit 100 yards rushing on 13 carries and kept his offense on the field for 37:10 compared to the Buccaneers' 22:50. Plus with the help of Edwards' 104 rushing yards on 19 attempts, the Ravens have rushed for at least 190 yards in five-consecutive games. The last team to do this was the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Then there is the defense. In eight of their 14 games in 2018, the Ravens have held their opponent to under 300 yards, and on Sunday held the Bucs to a season low 241 total yards and 156 net passing yards. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had his first interception of the year and a career-high four passes defensed while dealing with a groin injury in a standout performance.

"We're playing great team football right now to a T," safety Eric Weddle added. "We're playing well off each other— running the ball, controlling the clock, third-down conversions. We just know, as a defense, we just need to continue playing at a high level to give our offense more opportunities. Who knows what's going to happen."

Total team effort has put the Ravens in control of the sixth and final AFC playoff spot and half a game back of the Steelers for the AFC North. As they head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in Week 16 and then back to Baltimore to face the dynamic Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, it appears the offense and defense have together found what works for them in a style of play that pundits deemed unattainable just weeks ago. 

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