NEW YORK (RushPRnews) 01/05/09– With a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback heading into their first playoff game, you better have a strong defensive unit backing you up. Luckily, the Baltimore Ravens do and they showed up in Miami. Just ask Chad Pennington, who saw his Cinderella season come to an abrupt halt with a 27-9 loss.
Playing fast and hitâ€™em in the mouth are staples of the Ravensâ€™ ferocious D. So we all knew with that they were going to bring the heat and get after Miamiâ€™s quarterback. The Dolphins, known for not turning the ball over, failed to do so ion Sunday giving the ball away five times. Letâ€™s be clear. At this stage of the season, teams are simply too good for you to turn the ball over, let alone five times.
Baltimoreâ€™s safety Ed Reed got his paws on two interceptions and took one back 64 yards for the score, breaking a 3-3 tie in the second quarter. Reed the leagueâ€™s interception leader continues to be a ball hawk and come up with the big play when needed.
Ray Lewis is another one of those guys you want on your side. The man calls the defensive plays on the field and literally breathes and lives through the pulse of his defensive unit. Lewis was disruptive on practically every play and finished with a game high 9 tackles.
This is what Pennington had to face all day. He went 25-of-38 for 252 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. This was far form his best performance.
With the Ravenâ€™s defense making big plays, the rookie Joe Flacco had life easy. The running game flourished and he even got into the mix, scampering five yards and found the end zone. He only threw the ball when needed and finished 9-of 23 for 135 yards. The key, he did not turn the ball over. Derrick Mason was his go-to-guy in clutch situations. Mason has 4 receptions for 71 yards. Itâ€™s a mystery why he did not make the Pro Bowl this season with his veteran leadership and consistency.
Once again the Dolphins found absolutely no success on the ground as both Rickey Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for 36 yards. The Ravens were more triumphant Leâ€™Ron McClain and Willis McGahee combining for 137 yards. McClain got the most of the workload and racked up 75 yards and a touchdown.
The Ravens will face the Tennessee Titans next week.
In other news around the league the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 26-14 in the weekendâ€™s final wildcard game. Looks like the Eagles and the New York Giants will meet in the second round of the playoffs. Each team won on the others home turf in the previous two meetings this season.
The action continues Saturday.Â Look for our update, right here at RushPRnews.
Photo courtesy of the National Football League.
Sat., Jan. 10, 4:30 p.m.
Baltimore (11-5, 1-0)
at Tennessee (13-3)
Sat., Jan. 10, 8:15 p.m.
Arizona (9-7, 1-0)
at Carolina (12-4)
Sun., Jan. 11, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia (9-6-1, 1-0)
at N.Y. Giants (12-4)
Sun., Jan. 11, 4:45 p.m.
San Diego (8-8, 1-0)
at Pittsburgh (12-4)