|John Harbaugh: No issues with footballs in divisional game against Patriots||01.21.15 at 3:38 pm ET|
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he didn’t notice anything odd about the state of the footballs in their divisional playoff loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium earlier this month.
“We did not notice anything,” Harbaugh told reporters. “We never had a ball that they used or anything like that on offense, so we don’t know anything about that in our game. We didn’t have a chance to handle any of their offensive footballs.”
The Patriots are reportedly under investigation for under inflating footballs in last Sunday’s AFC title game against the Colts.
Earlier in the week, CBS Sports reported some Ravens were questioning the kicking balls used in the game after Baltimore’s kicks and punts did not travel as far as usual. Harbaugh said there was an explanation for it.
“As far as the kicking balls, it was 20 degrees out, so the balls were softer,” Harbaugh said. “Our guys told us during the game, and I just chalked that up to the fact that it was cold and that both teams were kicking the same kicking balls, so I didn’t think really anything of it during the game. Other than that, it’s not something we’ve really given any thought to at all.”
|Tom Brady refuses to get down and dirty with Ray Lewis over tuck rule||01.15.15 at 12:57 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just four days before his record ninth appearance in the AFC championship, Tom Brady isn’t about to get distracted by anyone, not even old friend Ray Lewis. That’s why Brady would not fire back at the former Ravens linebacker and self-proclaimed “football historian” for saying Brady would be a nobody without the “tuck rule” helping him win his first career playoff game in Jan. 2002.
Brady, informed of the comments by Patriots spokesman Stacey James, took the high road Thursday at his press conference.
“Everyone has an opinion,” Brady said. “I think Ray is a great player. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I was fortunate enough to play against him.”
Brady has a bloodshot right eye, courtesy the eye gouge from Ravens defensive end Timmy Jernigan Saturday night. Did Lewis ever try the eye gouge maneuver?
“No maybe worse than that, maybe worse. He was a pretty tough player,” said Brady.
Lewis, appearing Monday on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio, was asked about the fourth-quarter reception by Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant against the Packers last Sunday that was overturned on appeal because he didn’t complete the process of the catch as he went to the ground.
“There are so many rules in this game that is a very simple game,” Lewis said. “My argument, If you want to make this game and keep this game pure so where integrity drives this game, leave all these man-made lawyer rules out of the game.
“The only reason we know who Tom Brady is, [it’s] because of the tuck rule. There’s no such thing as the tuck rule! If the ball is in your hand, and I knock it out of your hand — whether it’s going backwards, forwards, lateral, sideways, however it’s coming out – that’s a freaking fumble,” Lewis said. “But guess what we created? We created a freaking tuck rule!”
The tuck rule was eventually eliminated by NFL owners in 2013, but to this day, Lewis said Brady owes his fame to the fact it existed in 2001, when Charles Woodson‘s strip sack was overturned.
As for Jernigan, Brady said sarcastically, “it was a good move. You can’t even do that in pro wrestling.”
|Duron Harmon says ‘I knew I was going to have pick this week’||01.11.15 at 12:14 am ET|
FOXBORO — Duron Harmon beat Joe Flacco at his own game.
The Ravens quarterback came in the winner of five straight in the postseason and appeared on the brink of doing it again late in the fourth quarter. That’s when he lofted a pass for Torrey Smith down the left sideline, with Logan Ryan on him.
Ryan, filling in for the injured Brandon Browner, stayed tight in coverage as another pair of eyes watched Flacco. Those eyes belonged to Harmon who read the play perfectly. He drifted over and then, once the ball left Flacco’s right hand, raced over and leaped at the right time to pick off Flacco in the end zone with 1:39 left.
“I told the guys [in practice] that I was going to get one this week,” Harmon said. “I’m just glad it helped us win the game.”
Harmon was asked if he were serious about making that bold prediction.
“Yeah, I knew I was going to have a pick this week,” Harmon said.
“Yeah, he said that in practice but he says that every week,” Brandon Browner confirmed. “But I’m really happy for him. He had a great week of practice.”
Flacco would get the ball back for one final “Hail Mary” but that fell incomplete on the game’s last play. It was Harmon that, for all intents and purposes, put the stake in a 35-31 Patriots win.
“It was just me reading the quarterback,” Harmon said. “He threw the ball up there and gave me a chance and I just came down with it. I’m glad I caught it and it ended the game for us.”
|Vince Wilfork is ‘pretty sure a lot of people wrote [Patriots] off’||01.10.15 at 11:41 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Vince Wilfork totally understands why people might have given up on the Patriots Saturday.
He also knows, more importantly, that’s not something the Patriots would ever do themselves.
The second-longest tenured Patriots player behind Tom Brady explained how his teammates displayed Patriot Pride during a 35-31 comeback win over the Ravens in the AFC divisional round.
“A lot is about heart,” Wilfork said. “I think it showed tonight, being down 14 two times. I’m pretty sure a lot of people wrote us off after that, I’m pretty sure. Even at the end of the game, I’m pretty sure a lot of people had a lot of things to say about this team, the New England Patriots. But we didn’t [quit]. We fought our tails off and played together and proved a lot of people wrong once again.
“But we know what we have in here. We know how hard we work. We know what we put in it. We know what we have in each other. And nobody ever lost faith in this ballgame, no matter what the outcome [of a play] was. We never lost faith. We always believed. Until the final buzzer, we’re always going to have a shot, until that final whistle. Tonight was one of those nights. We just had to make a few more plays, play good situational football and we did.”
Before playing good situational football, Wilfork had to find a way to stiffen at the line of scrimmage, stop the Ravens offensive line push and solve the misdirection plays from Joe Flacco that were giving the defense fits. Read the rest of this entry »
|Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down most epic playoff comeback in Patriots history||at 11:08 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down one of the most dramatic playoff wins in Patriots history as they became the first NFL team ever to erase a pair of 14-point deficits and win a playoff game. Tom Brady threw three touchdowns and ran for one while Julian Edelman threw one to Danny Amendola as the Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens, 35-31, at Gillette Stadium Saturday, advancing to their fourth consecutive AFC championship next week at Gillette Stadium.
|Julian Edelman shows off his rifle of an arm and changes game with TD pass to Danny Amendola||at 10:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It was the play that changed everything.
With the Patriots trailing, 28-21, Tom Brady threw a lateral pass to Julian Edelman in front of the Patriots sideline. Instead of racing up field like he normally does, Edelman stopped cold in his tracks.
The Ravens froze for a moment, giving Danny Amendola just enough time to race free down the left sideline. All that was left was for Amendola to run in a straight line and catch the ball and dance freely into the end zone. He did all three. The 51-yard surprise tied the game again, 28-28, with 4:20 left in the third.
“We’ve worked on that play all season in practice, waiting for just the right time to use it,” Amendola said. “Jules threw the perfect ball and I just had to be sure to catch it.”
“Once every couple weeks, but I practice in the back yard with Danny all the time. We’ve been secretly practicing that for a while,” Edelman said.
It was Edelman’s first pass since his quarterback days at Kent State. Josh McDaniels dialed it up and it couldn’t have come at a better time, for Edelman or the Patriots.
“The coach dialed up the double pass,” Edelman said. “We’ve had it in for a little bit and finally got it called, and we all saw that the coverage [that] we wanted was going to be there, and we were able to execute the play.
“You’ve got to unload everything you’ve got to win against a team like that ‘ the Baltimore Ravens. They played a tough game. Our coaches, they’ve got the aggressiveness to call that.”
|Darrelle Revis: Steve Smith ‘got erased’ down the stretch||at 10:04 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Following Saturday’s 35-31 win over the Ravens, Darrelle Revis acknowledged the work of Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith, but added that while Smith got his catches and a touchdown catch in the first half, Smith “got erased” down the stretch.
Smith and Revis hooked up on several occasions throughout the contest, and the veteran pass catcher had three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. The score came in the first quarter on a 9-yard pass from quarterback Joe Flacco. But Smith was held without a catch in the second half, as the New England defense shut him out in the third and fourth quarter.
“He was very tough. He’s always tough,” Revis said of Smith. “I’m sure he has the will to want to win, but it was great. He caught a touchdown earlier in the game, and after that, he got erased.”
Revis also took issue with a pair of penalties against him. First, there was a defensive pass interference call just before the end of the first half, a penalty that helped pave the way for a late second-quarter touchdown by the Ravens.
“I don’t agree with that call,” he said. “I definitely don’t, because I played the ball right. Refs make the call, and that’s it. But I definitely don’t agree with the call.”
Then, there was a holding penalty in the third quarter that helped the Ravens move the chains and set up a second-half field goal that gave Baltimore a 31-28 lead.
“It’s a tough game. There were a lot of penalties — a lot of scrapping out there,” he said. “Pushing, tugging. Back and forth. Receivers push off and that’s what it is. You push off, I’m going to pull. That’s what it is. He pushed off, I pulled, so they called me. That’s that.”
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