Late For Work 12/28: Biggest Ravens Pro Bowl Snub

Flacco better beware of Bengals’ pass rush, no major concern with run D, power rankings.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 9:10 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Biggest Ravens Pro Bowl Snub

Overall, the Ravens made out well this year.

With seven players selected to the Pro Bowl – Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Vonta Leach, Ray Rice and Marshal Yanda (backup) – the Ravens tied the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers for the third most Pro Bowlers on an NFL roster (Patriots and 49ers tied for first with eight each).

Only in 2003 and 2006 did the Ravens send more.

Still, one name is noticeably missing from the list – cornerback Lardarius Webb.

“The Ravens’ biggest snub is probably cornerback Lardarius Webb, who was not even named as a Pro Bowl alternate,” wrote MASN’s Dan Kolko.

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson agrees: “The Ravens’ most notable Pro Bowl snub was cornerback Lardarius Webb, who had a stellar season … He didn’t garner alternate status.”

Webb had tough competition in the AFC. The two starting Pro Bowl corners are New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis and the Denver Broncos’ Champ Bailey. The AFC backup is Johnathan Joseph from the Houston Texans.

Bailey extended his own Pro Bowl cornerback record by getting selected for the 11th time in his 13-year career. This is Revis’ fourth consecutive Pro Bowl, third straight as a starter. Joseph is a first-time selection.

Webb has not allowed a touchdown pass this season, reports Kolko. He has also recorded five interceptions, the third most in the AFC and more than the three corners selected to go to Hawaii.

Flacco Beware

NBC’s “Football Night in America” analysts Rodney Harrison and Tony Dungy believe the Bengals have a real chance of pulling off an upset over the Ravens in Sunday’s regular-season finale.

One of the keys to stopping the Bengals from pulling out a win will be the Ravens’ ability to protect quarterback Joe Flacco.

In ESPN’s stock watch, the Bengals’ pass rush is on the rise. They rank third in the NFL in sacks with 44.

“Few defenses have pressured quarterbacks like Cincinnati recently,” wrote Jamison Hensley. “Over the past three games, the Bengals have recorded 13 sacks and 29 quarterback hits.

“The problem for offenses is that you can’t shut down the pass rush by shutting down one player. During this three-game span, 11 players have recorded at least a half sack. The only player with more than 1.5 sacks is defensive end Jonathan Fanene (three sacks).”

No Major Concern With Run Defense

Even though it allowed Browns running back Peyton Hillis to gain over 100 yards last Saturday, there’s no real reason to worry about the Ravens run defense.

Only three running backs have cracked 100 yards in the Ravens’ previous two seasons, and Head Coach John Harbaugh believes Hillis had one good drive.

“I thought we played good defense,” Harbaugh said. “Overall, we gave up one drive, essentially, and that’s not bad.”

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley agreed.

 ”The run defense really hasn’t been that much of a concern this year because the Ravens are 2-1 in games when they’ve allowed over 100 yards and they were ranked No. 2 against the run entering last Saturday,” wrote Hensley.

“Baltimore will need Ray Lewis and the rest of the front seven to step up in the playoffs if the Ravens face a run-oriented team like Houston or Denver.”

Bengals Fans Answer The Call To Buy Tickets

The Bengals were begging their fans  to come to their do-or-die finale by offering a two-for-one ticket purchasing deal. The offer came after six of seven home games were blacked out this year.

Fans answered the call.

Fans lined up outside the stadium to buy tickets on Monday, reported Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, with some waiting more than two hours in line. 

Ravens fans have also been encouraged to travel to Cincy to give the Ravens a little extra boost as they try to win on the road.

UPDATE: The Bengals-Ravens battle has been officially declared a sellout.

Week 16 Power Rankings

There was little movement for the Ravens after their win over the Browns on Christmas Eve. They mainly stayed at their No. 5 spot, except for in SI.com’s Peter King list, where they were pushed down one spot to No. 6.

Below is the Week 16 list, with this week’s and last week’s rankings in parentheses:

ESPN.com (5/5): “Baltimore can clinch the AFC North for the first time since 2006 with a win over Cincinnati.”

SI.com’s Peter King (6/5): “Get a sense there’s something missing in the offense? I mean, 284 yards against Cleveland, and three points in the last 35 minutes?”

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco (5/5): “Even if they get a first-round bye, one has to wonder if that offense does enough to win the AFC. It sure hasn’t looked that way the past couple of weeks.”

FoxSports.com’s Brian Billick (5/5): “I liked what offensive coordinator Cam Cameron did with running back Ray Rice this week out of the backfield, especially on the 42-yard wheel route touchdown. Now that it’s on tape, teams must prepare and account for that for the rest of the season. The Ravens may have the most balance of any team in the playoffs, but balance does not equal consistency.”

ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio (5/5): “If the Ravens are going to play down to the level of the competition again this weekend, at least they won’t have to drop very far.”

NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison (5/5): “The Ravens rebounded somewhat nicely from last week’s debacle in SoCal, but there remain some concerns. The Ravens couldn’t hold their 20-point lead, and Joe Flacco went a pretty lame 11-for-24 for 132 yards. That’s all his team needed, as the defense stepped up once again. A Ravens’ win next week gives them both the AFC North and a bye. A Pats loss on top means home-field for John Harbaugh’s club.”

Quick Hits

  • untouchablejay4: THANK YOU!!!!!! to all our fans who voted for us. once again, we are NOTHING without you guys. truly honored and flattered. [Twitter]
  • RayRice27: I really want to take the time to thank everyone who voted me to my 2nd pro bowl y’all are the best [Twitter]
  • brendon310: I’m a Probowl alternate but congrats to the 7 ravens that made it!! Super Bowl or bust! [Twitter]
  • Did Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis get selected to the Pro Bowl based on his reputation? [ESPN]
  • Big Ben Roethlisberger has a “shot” to play in the Steelers’ finale against Cleveland. As I mentioned yesterday, the Steelers would only need to gamble with Roethlisberger’s injury if they believe the Ravens will lose to the Bengals. [FoxSports.com]

 

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