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Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

BALTIMORE — If there was a lone dark spot on the Ravens’ 42-21 win over the Jets, it was the special teams. 

From kickoff coverage to even Justin Tucker, each particular unit had its fair share of struggles. The Jets blocked a punt — and scored, had long returns on both kickoff and punt returns and Tucker missed an extra-point. 

“We played really well on special teams last week,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We played not well at all this week. So, that’s an area of concern right now. I give them credit. They played really well, but we didn’t.”

The trouble started from the get-go when the Jets had a good return on the opening kick. They carried that throughout the game, as Ty Montgomery and Vyncint Smith averaged kickoff returns of 23.3 and 28.7 yards, respectively. Smith had a long of 37 yards and Montgomery had a long of 34 yards.

Then on the Ravens second touchdown of the night, Tucker missed an extra point — a rarity for the league’s most consistent kicker. Before Thursday’s game, he’d missed just one extra point all season and one field goal. 

While it’s nothing to be concerned about, any miss for Tucker is certainly surprising. 

And finally, in the fourth quarter, the Jets bull-rushed up the middle through the Ravens’ punt team and blocked the kick for a score.

Baltimore’s special teams units have been stellar all season, so Thursday’s game isn’t something to fret over long-term. But it’s certainly something to monitor as the games tighten, leaving little room for error on the margins.  

“We just have to get better,” Harbaugh said of the returns. “They were basically blocking us. They blocked our guys on the kickoff return. They did a great job with it. They ran a little pick-stunt on the blocked punt that we should have picked up with no problem, and we didn’t. That’s an issue for us.”

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Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters backs out of Pro Bowl, replaced by Steelers' Joe Haden

Marcus Peters was named to his third career Pro Bowl in 2019, but the Ravens cornerback has decided to back out of the NFL's All-Star game.

Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden will be headed to Orlando in Peters' place, the Steelers announced on Wednesday.

Peters will not participate in the Pro Bowl due to injury, according to the Steelers' release. The terms of his injury have not been disclosed, but Peters did not miss a game for the Ravens since coming over in an October trade.

Upon his arrival in the Charm City, the cornerback made a huge impact in Baltimore. Peters was named to the NFL's All-Pro team, recording three interceptions and two touchdowns in 10 games with the Ravens. The 26-year-old corner re-signed with Baltimore for three years this past December.

But after Baltimore's season came to an unexpectedly early end this past Saturday against Tennessee, the cornerback has chosen not to participate in a relatively meaningless game. It's worth noting that Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his staff will be coaching the AFC in the Pro Bowl.

Baltimore had an NFL-high 12 players selected to the Pro Bowl this season, but at least one of them won't be in Orlando in two weeks.

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John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

John Harbaugh, Ravens staff to coach AFC in 2020 Pro Bowl

In addition to the 12 Pro Bowl selections for the Ravens, there will be some familiar faces in Orlando next weekend. 

Coach John Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens' staff will head to Florida to coach the AFC in the Pro Bowl, the team announced Wednesday. They’re awarded the chance by virtue of having the AFC's best record no longer in the playoffs. 

The NFC team will be coached by Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints staff after they finished the regular season 13-3 but were eliminated by the Vikings in the Wild-Card round. 

The Ravens' coaching staff has previously coached the Pro Bowl, once in 2014, and will have the opportunity to coach an NFL-best 12 Ravens during the game.

It still remains to be seen who will play in the Pro Bowl for the Ravens, but Mark Andrews has confirmed he would play. Lamar Jackson was non-committal on Saturday immediately after the loss to the Titans.

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