Notes: Defense Stands Tall at Home


With their playoff hopes on the line, the Ravens racked up 27 points Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Jacksonville Jaguars could only muster seven.

Such a defensive stand has become a standard at home for Baltimore, as the Ravens became the first team since the 1962 Green Bay Packers without allowing more than 13 points a game in Charm City.

The Ravens surrendered a miniscule 80 points over eight home games all season.

"The bottom line for us is the same motto all year - just step on the field and play 60 minutes and let's see if we can play our best football," said linebacker Ray Lewis. "Let's see what comes out at the end of the game."

What came out of the Jaguars contest was a postseason meeting with the Miami Dolphins next weekend and yet another reminder why the Ravens boast the NFL's second-best defense.

And what adds to the impressive mark is the fact that Baltimore has done it after sustaining multiple injuries to their defense throughout the year.

Not only have the Ravens lost first-team cornerback Chris McAlister, safety Dawan Landry and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg this year, it seems there is another injury to deal with each week.

Sunday, the Ravens were without starting cornerback Fabian Washington, who was battling a toe injury.

Instead, free agent acquisition Frank Walker stepped up to offer a critical performance, totaling six tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble that Lewis recovered in the first quarter.

"We had some big pickups in the offseason to add to the guys we had," defensive coordinator Rex Ryan explained. "We really feel like a team, and I feel that we can do a lot of damage in the playoffs. Once a starter goes down, we feel like we can compete against anybody, and that's a credit to our scouting department."

Reed Does It Again

Safety Ed Reed's two interceptions gave him the fourth multi-pick showing this season. And not only did he take the league lead with his eight and ninth thefts, Reed also tied his career high, which was originally set when he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.

Reed continued to excel during a campaign that began with uncertainty because of a nerve impingement in his neck was discovered before training camp.

"I never doubted my ability, it was just a matter of playing with my injury," Reed said. "It's still there. It's not gone, I've just been doing a lot of treatment this year and staying focused and keeping my eyes out for any feeling that I had in training camp that would put me out, and I haven't had that, so, just moving forward with it, taking it day by day, just feeling it out."

Since Reed was a first-round draft pick in 2002, the Ravens are 8-0 when the Miami product tallies two interceptions.

His first of the day came in the second quarter, when he snared Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard's short pass to Reggie Williams over the middle. Baltimore took possession on its own 29-yard line and marched 71 yards to fullback Le'Ron McClain's 1-yard touchdown run, which put the Ravens up 24-7.

Later, Reed effectively ended the Jaguars hopes when he caught a Garrard attempts to Dennis Northcutt in the end zone.

Reed sprinted out and ran 38 yards before losing the football by trying to lateral to trailing linebacker Terrell Suggs, who recovered the fumble with 1:42 remaining on the clock.

"I've gotta be smarter going forward, in the postseason, those plays will cost you," Reed stated.

Mason Tops 10,000

With 77 yards on six receptions, wideout Derrick Mason went over the 10,000-yard mark for his 12-year career.

Mason has totaled 1,037 yards this year, the seventh season where he's passed 1,000 yards and the seventh-most in team history.

His 80 catches in 2008 are also third most in franchise annals.

"It feels great," Mason said. "Not too many people get to 10,000 yards, not even many greats. You put yourself in an elite class when you eclipse 10,000 yards. [Jerry] Rice, [Marvin] Harrison, [Chris] Carter, people like that. You put yourself in a class that not too many are in right now.

"But we've still got four games left, and I'll deal with the 10,000 yards after the season. I'll look back and realize how great it was."

One of Mason's protégés, Mark Clayton, also notched an impressive performance with four grabs for 128 yards.

Clayton was appreciative of Mason's effort.

"He's meant so much to me," Clayton said of his fellow receiver. "He's a class guy. Nobody deserves it more. That felt good."


The Ravens set franchise records on offense by totaling 20 rushing touchdowns, 132 rushing first downs and committing only 21 turnovers. Defensively, team records were set by holding opposing quarterbacks to a tiny 60.4 passer rating, while only allowing four rushing touchdowns and 58 rushing first downs. … Quarterback Troy Smith made an impact in the "Suggs Package" with a 36-yard run off a pass from Joe Flacco in the third quarter. But, Smith was quick to note that he should have scored after being tripped up on the Jacksonville 29-yard line. "See, that's the difference between me being a quarterback and something else," Smith said. "A quarterback gets tripped up, but a tailback or a receiver or somebody who knows how to run after the catch would have scored right there." … A capacity crowd of 71,366 roared when members of the 1958 Baltimore Colts championship team were introduced at halftime. The Ravens players and coaches met with some of the participants during a team meeting Saturday night. "It was neat to get a chance to visit with those guys and see the kind of people they are," said head coach John Harbaugh. "We had a chance to talk about it in our meeting, because it's a bunch of guys on a team just like we're a bunch of guys on a team. That transcends time a little bit. That's one of the great things about sports and one of the great things about football." … The Ravens have won seven of their last nine season finales, including three in a row. Baltimore is 8-1 in season finales at home.

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