Nakamura Makes Play of the Game

It wasn’t offense or defense, but special teams came up big for the Ravens.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 at 12:01 am | Categories: Preseason 2 at Redskins, Ryan Mink

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The Ravens had labored to move the ball on offense throughout the first half of their 23-3 preseason win over the Washington Redskins, so they relied on special teams to provide a spark.

Facing fourth-and-7 at the 6:29 mark of the second quarter, Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg sensed a perfect moment to call a fake punt, and safety Haruki Nakamura cashed in.

Nakamura took the direct snap and shimmied 51 yards to the Redskins’ 1-yard line, setting up an ensuing touchdown plunge by Willis McGahee to take a 10-3 lead.

“I was pleased when it worked,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.  “It wasn’t a preseason-type decision.  That’s a basic play that most people have in on their punt team. But they were in a situation where they were in a six-box, they were doubling both vice guys at the 50-yard line with fourth-and-7.  [There was] a really good returner down there that’s capable of taking it 90 yards.

“You just can’t really let them get into that kind of a configuration and give them a chance to get a big return.”

Nakamura said he was in high school when he last tried a fake punt, but it didn’t look like he was rusty.  The University of Cincinnati product broke a few tackles before finally being brought down.

“I think the last time I ran the ball like that was on an interception in college,” Nakamura said with a laugh.

Nakamura, who was one of the Ravens’ top special teamers before his 2009 campaign ended early with an ankle injury in Week 10, thinks that his run is an omen of things to come with Baltimore’s special teams units.

“As a special teams group, that’s the type of thing we want to do this year,” said Nakamura.  “We want to be a difference-maker.  We want to be the best special teams in the NFL.  We have an offense that is very explosive.

“It’s time for us as a special teams group to really make an impact.”

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