RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Flacco, Mason connect often one week after blowup

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Flacco, Mason connect often one week after blowup

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BALTIMORE – The obvious chemistry and timing between Joe Flacco and Derrick Mason reinforced their corresponding claims that they have moved on from their sideline confrontation from a week ago.

In a 17-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, Flacco repeatedly connected with Mason for a game-high eight receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown.

If there was any lingering discord after the two got into a noisy argument where they traded profanities and had to be separated by teammates ,  it’s either extremely well-hidden or it no longer exists.

“What happened, happened and we move on,” a smiling Mason said in the Ravens’ locker room. “We’re grown men. That’s my guy. He’ll always be my guy. We’re in the business of winning football games. That’s all that matters. We might have a dispute one week and then the next week get back to business.

“Goodness gracious, ya’ll act like Joe and I don’t talk to each other. We smile. We talk. Even after what happened, we smile. We move on. We’re bigger than that stuff.  It was over with, and today it showed.”

Flacco targeted Mason 13 times, five more than any other player on the team.

It seemed like they were intentionally trying to rebuild their relationship on the football field.

“That’s by coincidence,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s just the way they covered and they way they covered him. That’s what it was, it wasn’t anything else.

“You guys can have fun with some stories, I guess, but I didn’t think about that until you mentioned it. It’s just the way it worked out.”

Now, Flacco might have a new problem on his hands.

What if Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh decide to follow Mason’s lead and get in arguments with him so he’ll throw them the ball to pacify them?

“Do I expect them to have chats with me?” Flacco said. “That was not really a chat. It was more of him yelling at me. ‘What were you doing Joe? I was wide open.’ I don’t know if they want that.

“I don’t know if that’s a good matchup for them. Me versus them, I think I might have to handle them a little bit. Anquan and those guys are going to want the ball, so I’m sure they might think about that if you let them know.”

CONTAINING BLOUNT: The Ravens’ defense has had some rough times tackling bigger backs this season, especially against Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis.

They did a nice job of stonewalling Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount, a power back who leads all rookies in rushing yards per game and touchdown runs.

Blount was limited to 55 yards on 13 carries. He gained 16 of those yards on one run.

“Definitely we rallied to the ball,” inside linebacker Jameel McClain said. “The front line held their own and the linebackers came in and filled. It was definitely important for us to stuff the run.

“The Ravens were flying to the ball. It was our job to stuff him and that’s what we did.”

The Buccaneers rushed for 101 yards as a team, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

After making stopping Blount a special point of emphasis heading into this game, the coaching staff was pleased.

“I think there was one run where he kind of got loose on us there, but he’s good,” Harbaugh said. “The key thing with him is not letting him get started. I think we did a nice job of not letting him get started. We thought maybe we could strip some balls out of there, but he did a nice job of protecting them.”

The Ravens also held Cadillac Williams to 19 rushing yards after he had rushed for two touchdowns and 113 yards in the previous two games.

"You have to tip your hat to the Baltimore Ravens," Williams said. "They did a good job to come in and stop our run. There were still plays out there to be made, and we left them on the field."

OHER INJURES KNEE: Offensive tackle Michael Oher sprained his right knee in the third quarter and didn’t return, but indicated that it wasn’t serious.

After the game he was barely limping.

“I should be alright,” Oher said. “It could have definitely been worse.”

He anticipates being ready for next week’s big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I should be good,” Oher said.

Immediately after being examined by trainers, Oher posted an update on his Twitter account about his knee.

“I’m good people have to thank the man above for this one!” Oher wrote. “Will be ready for pitt next week!”

Oher deleted the comment from his Twitter account because it’s a violation of the NFL social networking policy to Tweet during a game. He’s subject to a fine from the league office.

He walked off under his own power and went to the locker room to be examined by trainers.

Oher suffered the injury when Flacco accidentally rolled into him.

Oniel Cousins replaced Oher at left tackle.

“My mentality is I’ve always got to be ready to go when called upon,” Cousins said. “Anything can happen just like that, just like we saw Michael leave. I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine, but if I’m called upon next week, I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to prepare like I always do and I’ll be ready to go.

“I think I played OK. There are some good things and some things I need to improve on, but overall I’m glad we won the game and I’m happy with how we ran the ball at the end of the game.”

LANDRY KNOCKED OUT OF GAME: Strong safety Dawan Landry leveled running back Cadillac Williams, applying enough force that he knocked himself out of the game with a concussion.

Afterward, Landry indicated that he should be ready for Pittsburgh.

“Yeah, I’m cool,” said Landry, who suffered a headache. “When I initially got hit, I don’t remember hitting the guy. I was laying on the ground, I was kind of woozy. I don’t even remember. I just stayed down.”

Landry was replaced by Haruki Nakamura in the third quarter.

Although Williams was sent flailing on the hit, Landry got the worst of the collision in terms of the effects of a big hit.

“Definitely, going out there, trying to hit a guy like that, you take the brunt of it also,” Landry said. “I was fine the whole time. I stayed on the ground to gather myself. I had a little headache.”

MCCLAIN SPRAINS ANKLE: Pro Bowl fullback Le’Ron McClain sprained his left ankle while blocking on a kickoff return and didn’t return.

After the game he was in a walking boot. X-rays revealed no breaks.

“It’s crazy, I’ve never been hurt and couldn’t go back in the game,” McClain said. “It’s kind of frustrating for real. Right now, they’re just saying day to day. They said it’s good that I had my ankle taped up real good. I iced it the whole second half and elevated it.

“You see me in the boot now. I got a big game come Sunday and I got to be ready for that. We X-rayed it, everything’s legit.”

McClain’s leg got pinned to the ground during a pileup.

He wasn’t able to put any weight on it and was helped off the field by trainers.

McClain said he didn’t know if it was a high-ankle sprain or a normal sprained ankle.

McClain was asked if he thought he would be a game-time decision next week.

“I hope not,” he said. “I hope it don’t go up until game time. It’s day to day. You’ll see me in treatment 24-7. I got to play Sunday. I got to play against Pittsburgh. That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”

The Ravens utilized rookie tight end Dennis Pitta as a blocking back and H-back in his place.

“I’ve been doing a lot of both positions, and so with Le’Ron being down, obviously that will kind incorporate the tight ends into the mix a little bit more,” Pitta said. “We’ll see what we have up for this week, but we anticipate to be in it a little bit more.”

“We don’t have a backup fullback, so I think I get kind of thrown into that role a little bit. We’ll see how the coaches want to handle it this next week and the game plan they put together. ”

WASHINGTON DEACTIVATED: For the first time this season, cornerback Fabian Washington was deactivated.

And it wasn’t because of an injury. It was a football decision.

“I’m a healthy scratch,” Washington said. “It’s a low point, but you got to keep pushing. That’s what I plan on doing. I’ll be back on the field. I really don’t know. I didn’t ask no questions. I’m just rolling with the punches. I just work here. I do what the boss says. “

Washington was benched weeks ago after a rough game against the Buffalo Bills where he allowed three touchdown passes to Lee Evans, replaced in the starting lineup by Josh Wilson.

He was informed before the game that he wasn’t going to play.

“I knew early in the week,” Washington said. “I got a head’s up early in the week saying it’s a possibility I was going to be down. I knew coming into the game. It’s no biggie. We won. I do plan to keep pushing. I’ll be back on the field at some point.”

The Ravens also deactivated rookie tight end Ed Dickson, who’s dealing with a thigh injury and dropped passes against the Carolina Panthers.

Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who has fallen out of favor due to penalties and questionable hustle two weeks ago against the Atlanta Falcons, was deactivated for the third time this season.

Offensive guard Chris Chester was scratched after not practicing all week due to a lower leg infection. He’s still taking antibiotics.

Tony Moll started for the second game in a row at right guard.

The Ravens also scratched safety Tom Zbikowski, who returned to practice this week after missing four games with a bruised right heel.

Nose guard Brandon McKinney and defensive tackle Lamar Divens were scratched.

DEBUT: Rookie defensive tackle Arthur Jones, the team’s fifth-round draft pick from Syracuse, played in his first NFL game.

He wasn’t credited with any tackles.

“It felt great,” Jones said. “I’m hungry for more. I’m happy we got the win, that’s the most important part. I wasn’t really nervous. I was so fired up and ready to go. It’s a dream come true to play with Ray Lewis.

“I was working hard. I’m going to keep getting better and try to get out there and take the teaching from Haloti Ngata and the guys and try to keep getting better.”

CHEAP-SHOTTED?: Cornerback Chris Carr accused Tampa Bay safety Corey Lynch of cheap-shotting him on a punt return, injuring his hip.

“I got hit when I wasn’t looking on a punt return when I was blocking,” Carr said. “I was just standing there when some guy came up and wanted to de-cleat me.

“Hopefully, he should get fined on that. That’s unnecessary. There should be a fine. Unbelievable, I haven’t gotten hit like that since college. It was No. 41, and you can write that down. Knocked the wind out of me, I couldn’t breathe. My hip, my side is hurting.”

Carr said he expects to feel the effects of the hit for a while. 

“I’m feeling a little better,” he said. “I’m going to be sore for the next couple days. He caught me when I wasn’t looking. It was extremely unnecessary. It’s unfortunate that players want to play like that.”

MODELL UP FOR HALL AGAIN: Former Ravens majority owner Art Modell made the cut and was named one of the 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Modell has been close before, but has been hampered by his controversial move of the Cleveland Browns to Maryland.

Former Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe was one of the other semifinalists.

POSTGAME DUSTUP: Upset about the pass interference penalty on defensive back Myron Lewis while guarding T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the first half, Buccaneers cornerback Aqib Talib got into a cursing match with an official.

According to Tampa Bay reporters, Talib cussed at the referee about the call. And the official supposedly cussed back and made fun of Talib’s play.

Then, Talib allegedly threatened to hit the referee in the mouth.

Officiating supervisor Neel Dunn declined to discuss the matter in any detail with a pool reporter.

“We only make comments to the pool reporter when it’s about a call that was made on the field,” Dunn said. “So, we have no comment about whatever you’re talking about. That’s the only thing I’ll say right now.

“We have no comment about it. If you want to ask us about something that happened out on the field, we will entertain that. But we’re not going to entertain what you’re talking about.”

QUICK HITS: The Ravens’ game captains were linebackers Jameel McClain and Terrell Suggs. … The Buccaneers deactivated third quarterback Rudy Carpenter, cornerback Elbert Mack, fullback-tight end Erik Lorig, offensive tackles Will Barker and Derek Hardman, defensive tackle Frank Okam, wide receiver Preston Parker and defensive end Kyle Moore. … Tim Crowder started in place of Moore at left defensive end. … Cary Williams substituted for Carr at cornerback for a play late in the game. He usually just plays on special teams. “I just played one snap on defense,” he said. “It was cool. It was just to fill in for Chris Carr. He was feeling a little ache and pains in his leg something like that. I just filled in. Whenever they need me, call on me, I’ll be there. I’ll be ready.”


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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