Classic Moment: Check The Scoreboard Bro
Of all the highlights in the Ravens' 55-20 thumping of the Oakland Raiders – and there were many – the one that might be most amusing unexpectedly came from gritty, hard-working, shine-the-spotlight-elsewhere Anquan Boldin.
Ahead 41-17 in the third quarter, Baltimore was threatening to score again from the 7-yard line. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw to Boldin in the end zone, but the receiver got tripped up and fell down before the ball had arrived. Cornerback Joselio Hanson was in coverage, but as shown by the video below, he hardly did much to prevent the score.
That didn't stop Hanson from emphatically waving his arms to signify the incomplete pass while smack talking to Boldin.
But all Boldin had to do was kindly point Hanson's attention to the scoreboard to show the 24-point deficit his team was in. Bleacher Report put together a fantastic poster capturing the moment.
"There is a classic, 'In your face,'" said CBS broadcaster Dan Dierdorf.
Don Banks was thoroughly amused.
"I think my favorite moment of Week 10 was the reality check Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin administered to Oakland cornerback Joselio Hanson," the SI.com columnist wrote. "After breaking up a pass in the end zone intended for Boldin, Hanson did a little chest-thumping routine, as if he had just made the game's pivotal play. …
"Hanson, an eight-year veteran, really should know better by now. If you're going to preen, it's best to not be down 24 points when you do it."
The Ravens ended up scoring on the next play, which leads us to what might be the second-best moment of the afternoon …
Punters Are People Too
There are few things the Ravens could be criticized for in Sunday's blowout win – but media tried hard with questions about the possibility of Baltimore running up the score with the fake field goal and subsequent touchdown run by punter/holder Sam Koch.
Asked if the Raiders seemed upset with his score that put the Ravens up by 31, Koch replied, "Oh, not that I know of. I was too busy doing high-fives and spiking the ball." (For the record, the Raiders weren't upset.)
And that leads us to one of the most-talked about topics after the game – Koch's emphatic and colossal celebration spike.
It was Koch's first touchdown since high school, so to remember the moment, he gave the ball to his wife for safe keeping.
Some Ravens players are known for their touchdown dances – like Jacoby Jones and his old school Cabbage Patch dance after his 105-yard kickoff return – but Koch admitted to CSNBaltimore.com that he definitely has no dance moves.
Still, his teammates were impressed with his rushing and spiking abilities.
"It was better than mine!" running back Ray Rice said of Koch getting to the end zone untouched. "He set up his blocks. I'm going to have to take a few lessons out of his book."
Said Ed Reed on the celebration, "Hey, punters are people, too."
"@RobGronkowski is always good for a solid spike, but I think my man #SamKoch got him beat w/ this one!" tweeted kicker Justin Tucker.
Reed: I Just Had A Bad Day
For a moment, Reed looked severely injured when he was rolling around on the field holding his shoulder after a hard hit on Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Reed bounced off and missed the tackle, and Heyward-Bey then sprinted to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.
Reed briefly returned to the game, but was later seen on the sideline in his sweatpants during the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
The 11-year veteran declared himself fine after the game, saying he only suffered a minor shoulder stinger.
But should Ravens fans be concerned?
Reed told his followers on Twitter that you can chalk his performance up to "a bad day."
"Thanks for support!" he wrote to his fans. "I'm good for next week. Just had a bad day. Not perfect, though we try!"
Given the game scenario and his poor play, Reed said he agreed with Head Coach John Harbaugh's decision to bench him.
"Yeah, the game was, we thought, out of reach," Reed told reporters. "The offense was playing well, and I was having a pretty bad game as an individual, and I really didn't want to go back out there as a competitor playing the way I was playing today. … But coach just pulled me out, which was good."
Somebody Please Explain
The Ravens scored a franchise record 55 points, but Rice rushed for only 35 yards.
CBSSports.com's Clark Judge is confused.
"Somebody please explain," he wrote, wondering how the dichotomy was possible.
Gladly, Clark. It's actually an easy explanation: Joe Flacco.
And more specifically, Joe Flacco at home.
While nobody can argue that Flacco is the NFL's most consistent quarterback, why is it still surprising when he carries the offense? Can somebody please explain that to me?
Home Field A Necessity
It really is a night and day difference to see the Ravens at home versus the road.
The Ravens can't explain it. Harbaugh, Flacco, Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta all said they don't have an answer for the disparity.
If that's the case, and Baltimore isn't able to replicate at least half of what it does at home, ESPN's Jamison Hensley believes that winning the AFC North and securing home-field advantage in the playoffs is a necessity if they want to go far.
"The Ravens look like Super Bowl contenders when they play in front of sellout crowds at M&T Bank Stadium. When they go on the road, they look like a team searching for confidence and an identity," the AFC North blogger wrote.
"There's no question that the Ravens' focus has to be on the resurgent Steelers and winning the AFC North. But, based on how the season has unfolded, it also has become a necessity for Baltimore to beat out Houston for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs."
Baltimore is still in control of the first scenario – simply splitting the next two matchups against the Steelers over the next three weeks could be enough to win the division. But Houston would have to lose two games with Baltimore playing next to perfect football during the second half of the season to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Houston had a tough challenge on the road in Chicago last night, but won, 13-6.
Already Thinking Steelers …
Believe me, when the Ravens woke up this morning, the Raiders were already a distant memory.
Asked minutes after the game if the Steelers were already on his team's mind, Harbaugh told CSNBaltimore.com, "Absolutely."
"We talked about it in the locker room right after the game," he said. "We're in position now to play this game. This is where we wanted to be in position to play this game, against that team, in that stadium."
Even while Baltimore was prepping for Oakland, Michael Oher was already seeing black and gold.
"We focused all week on the Raiders, but in the back of our minds, we knew the Steelers were coming," Oher said. "They have been having a lot of success of late."
Added Cary Williams: "We don't like them, they don't like us. It's going to be hell out there."
- Steelers receiver Antonio Brown – who has given the Ravens fits in recent games – will reportedly miss Sunday's AFC North showdown. According to a "source with knowledge of the situation," Brown's ankle injury is enough to cause him to miss both Ravens matchups over the next three weeks. [ProFootballTalk.com]
- After a surprise visit to Owings Mills and giving the pre-game speech yesterday, linebacker Ray Lewis is headed back to Florida to continue his rehab on his triceps tear. [ESPN]
- @ravens: Sizzle is looking pretty hardcore with the full facemask today. Wonder if that's a permanent change... [Twitter]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: For all talk about Ravens struggles, they are 7-2 for just second time in franchise history. [Twitter]
- This trend continued through the end of the game: Raiders 422 yards, Ravens 419 … @jasonbuttcbs: In absurd statistics news, the Raiders are currently outgaining the Ravens 414-412 in yardage. [Twitter]
- @rosstuckernfl: Where's the "Ravens are done" crew hanging out today?
- @ravensinsider: James ihedigbo singing on way into locker room 'another one bites the dust' [Twitter]
- @pkruger99: Thanks for all the love.. It was a great game for the whole team.. easy to ball in M&T best fans in the NFL no question. [Twitter]
- @crushboy31 [Bernard Pollard]: S/O to all the fans, you guys are amazing and we're nothing without all of you!!! Enjoy the rest of your day... I'm starving! [Twitter]