Monday Morning Quarterback: Miami Twice, Nice!

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Beating a team twice on the road in the same season is tough, unless Ed ReedRay Lewis and friends are on your side.

The 2000 Ravens did it to Tennessee and went on to win a Super Bowl in Tampa. The 2008 Ravens completed a Dolphins' sweep with a 27-9 win and are moving in the direction of a Super Bowl you know where.

John Harbaugh, Cam Cameron's innovative offense, Joe Flacco's rapid development, and the Ravens' running game behind a young line are all part of the story line that has Baltimore headed to Tennessee for round 2 of the playoffs.

But let's not kid ourselves - the prize in this purple Cracker Jack box is still D-E-F-E-N-S-E! Chad Pennington, runnerup in the NFL's MVP voting knows that. Pennington, who threw only 7 interceptions in 16 games, threw 4 to the Ravens in 22 minutes.

The Ravens defense not only stuffs opponents, it can get down-right offensive. The Ravens offense was sputtering; it was a 3-3 game with less than 3 minutes left in the first half when Ed Reed made another in his long list of game-changing plays.

Reed picked off Pennington and was lateral free on a zigzagging 64-yard TD return that gave the Ravens the lead for good. Ed Reed has 4 touchdowns this year, that's one less than Derrick Mason, as many as Mark Clayton and one more than Todd Heap.

Reed now has 10 interceptions in his last 7 games, despite teams trying to stay away from him. This was Reed's 1st-ever playoff win and the Ravens' first in 7 years.

Owners, coaches, quarterbacks and a lot of other things have changed with the Ravens in the last 10 years, but the one constant has been a Ray Lewis-led defense that attacks, creates turnovers and wins games.

At the start of the season, next to nobody had the Ravens making the playoffs; but this was a game they were expected to win, and they did. If Cinderella (Miami was 1-15 last year) is a slipper or two short, I think I know where the Ravens defense stuck it.

EXTRA POINTS

  • Suspect Series: 2nd quarter tied 3-3, after Jim Leonhard's interception; quick-hit strike? Hardly. McClain for 2, McClain for 4 and Troy Smith up the middle for 2 - three and out.
  • Speaking of Leonhard, his day included the interception, a shared sack, 7 tackles and 2 punt returns. What a return he's given the Ravens on their investment.
  • I wonder if Frank Walker's personal foul penalty had John Harbaugh mad enough to spit?
  • The Ravens defense needed a breather after Ed Reed's long return, and they got it when Yamon Figurs went down on the next kickoff. Just a coincidence, I guess.
  • Why would Bill Cowher be so coveted? What does he know; he picked the Dolphins to beat the Ravens, safe to say The Chin took it on the chin.

3 and not out!

Scott

Long-time and respected broadcast journalist Scott Garceau has covered Baltimore sports, including all of its pro football teams, for the last 30 years. Scott, who was the radio voice of Ravens football for the team's first 10 seasons (1996-2005), is a seven-time Maryland Sportscaster of the Year. Garceau is also honored as Baltimore's Pro Football Hall of Fame selector/voter. A native of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, where he is a member of the area Hall of Fame, Scott has covered the NFL since 1971.

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