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Ravens crave rematch with Pats


Ravens crave rematch with Pats

The Ravens were there first. They'd clinched a berth in the AFC championship game a day earlier.

They waited until Sunday night to find out they’d have a rematch with the New England Patriots, who defeated them 23-20 in last year’s title match to advance to the Super Bowl.

While no player admitted they had a preference of opponent after their 38-35 upset victory at the Denver Broncos on Saturday, deep down they did.

“I think we kind of wanted to play the Patriots again,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said of watching the Patriots beat the Houston Texans. “If we were to go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxborough and win there. ... Hopefully, we can get it done this time."

Tight end Dennis Pitta started out well. He had a major lull near mid-season that lasted until recently. He 3 catches for 55 yards in the divisional playoff win in Denver, but no catch he has had all season may be bigger than his one in the first overtime.

With the Ravens facing 3rd-and-13 from their own 6 and in danger of punting the ball back to the Broncos and giving Peyton Manning the ball around midfield, Pitta rose up and snatched a 24-yard reception as he crashed to the ground.

Even though the drive later stalled, it allowed the Ravens to get out of that jam. Sam Koch had a 52-yard punt that buried the Broncos at their own 7.  Corey Graham then would intercept Manning and set the stage for the Ravens to win on a field goal in double-overtime. 

Pitta had 5 catches for 41 yards, including a 6-yard TD pass that tied the score at 10 in last year's AFC title game. He had 5 catches for 40 yards and 1 TD in the Ravens' 31-30 comeback victory vs. the Patriots in Week 3 this season. Pitta hurdled Steve Gregory en route to a 20-yard TD in that game. 

At one point, it didn't appear the Ravens could get back to the AFC title game. They'd lost Ray Lewis (triceps), Terrell Suggs (biceps), Marshal Yanda (ankle), Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) and Ngata (knee/shoulder) at various points. They limped into the playoffs at 10-6, losing four of their last five games, but have gotten healthy again just in time. 

"It's been a little longer road for us. We've had to play two games already, and last year we had the bye and got a little more rest," said Pitta, noting the Ravens finished two games better at 12-4 and had a first-round bye in last year's playoffs. "But we really feel good about the road that we've taken, and we're sitting here as a confident football team and excited for this game."

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NFL analyst Warren Sharp bullish on Lamar Jackson headed into season

NFL analyst Warren Sharp bullish on Lamar Jackson headed into season

Warren Sharp held nothing back when discussing Lamar Jackson’s 2018 season. 

In a blog post on his website, Sharp posted an article titled ‘You’re Wrong About Lamar Jackson’ that detailed why he thinks Jackson isn’t only underrated but poised for a breakout year. 

Sharp, a former engineer, is a football analyst who specializes in advanced statistics in relation to football. And when it comes to the Ravens second-year quarterback, he’s as high as ever. 

On The Daily Line, Sharp said, “I just think he’s severely underestimated with what people saw last season. What people don’t realize is that out of the 11 rookie quarterbacks in the NFL who started when they were 21-years older or less, Lamar Jackson had the best passer rating in NFL history.”

Jackson, who started the last seven games of the Ravens season last year, finished 6-1 as a starter, but left some doubting his ability to sustain that success. Notably, it was his passing touch that left analysts and fans questioning whether or not he was the right quarterback for the Ravens.

But Sharp is one analyst who is confident in what Jackson’s skillset can do for the Ravens, who are expected to run the ball more than any team in the league. 

Jackson also posted a snippet of the blog to his Instagram story on Tuesday, too. 

The Ravens open up the season on Sept. 8 against the Dolphins, where Jackson will begin his quest to prove his doubters wrong — and Sharp right. 


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Ray Lewis is bringing his swagger and creativity to Dancing with the Stars

Ray Lewis is bringing his swagger and creativity to Dancing with the Stars

Evacuate the dance floor. Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis will be taking his talents to ABC's Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America announced Wednesday.

After two Super Bowl, Vince Lombardi trophies, Lewis has his eyes set on winning the coveted Mirror Ball trophy, awarded to the winning dance duo on DWTS.

New York Giants Hall of Famer and now GMA host contributor Michael Strahan, set the bar high for Lewis, who was known for his creative touchdown celebration dances during his 17-year career with the Ravens.

"I know you're going to bring some swagger to the ballroom man, because you brought it on the field," Strahan said.

Lewis is not the only DMV football player to join the DWTS cast, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was one of three finalists last year.

Lewis joins other notable cast members such as The Bachelorette's Hannah Brown and NBA's Lamar Odom.

You can watch Lewis compete on DWTS season 28 beginning Monday, Sept. 16 on ABC.