RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Marvin Lewis hints that refs gave Bengals short end of stick

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Marvin Lewis hints that refs gave Bengals short end of stick

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Following Baltimore Ravens’ 24-16 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis incorrectly stated that the Ravens are among the most penalized teams in football.

"The Ravens are a team that has committed more defensive penalties than anyone in the NFL, and I don’t think they got called for one today," Lewis said Sunday. "The film will be interesting to look at. Some of the plays we were called for didn’t look like penalties."

However, the Ravens ranked fourth in the NFL for fewest penalty yards assessed (742), were tied for fifth by committing the fifth-fewest penalties (101) and had the ninth-fewest penalties enforced (92).

TIME OFF: Pro Bowl offensive guard Marshal Yanda needed this week to heal up after gutting it out to play through bruised ribs and loose cartilage against the Bengals.

“It will be huge," Yanda said. “Get that extra week of recovery, and that’s just money to heal and be ready to play whoever we play next Sunday.”

Yanda was listed as doubtful heading into last Sunday, but ultimately decided to play through the pain and difficulty breathing normally..

“It was tough, but once I got the blood flowing, I felt pretty decent out there,” Yanda said. “I felt like I could still play at a pretty high level and that was the most important thing. It was all good until that last long run in the fourth quarter when I landed on my ribs again. That was the worst one, but the best part was that happened so late in the game that I could play pretty decent until that play.”

Yanda didn’t practice Wednesday and is unlikely to practice today.

“You want to try and play through the pain and stuff, but just that I’m a quick healer and to be able to get back out there and feel good enough to play and play at a high level,” Yanda said. “That was the most important thing. If I couldn’t play at a high level, I wasn’t going to play obviously. Don’t want to hurt the team in any way. It was a good feeling to get that win and be a part of it.”

INJURY UPDATES: Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Tom Zbikowski haven’t been cleared for contact yet following concussions.

They did take part in a light indoors practice Wednesday.

“Good progress reports,” Harbaugh said. “They haven’t been cleared yet through testing, but they’re all making good progress.

Several players weren’t at practice Wednesday during the portion open to reporters.

That includes Lewis (right turf toe), inside linebacker Jameel McClain (sprained medial collateral ligament), offensive guard Yanda (bruised ribs), offensive guard Ben Grubbs (right toe) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (elbow laceration).

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin returned to practice following his recent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

He looked like he’s ready to play, displaying sound mobility and ability to cut in pass patterns.

Strong safety Bernard Pollard (wrist) practiced.

Special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo (sprained quadriceps) didn’t practice.

Ayanbadejo indicated that doctors haven’t ruled him out for the divisional playoff game

“The doctors don’t know,” he said. “Right now, the plan is to play. I’m just trying to get range of motion back.”

RICE HONORED: Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

He was also named the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week after rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals.

“This has been the healthier I’ve been, this is the best I’ve ever felt,” said Rice, who rushed for a career-high 1,364 yards and scored a franchise-record 15 touchdowns. “Coach Harbaugh would tell you himself that this year I got after the weight room a little bit harder coming into the season, and I’m having the ability to get stronger during the season.

“Give our strength and conditioning coaches credit that I’ve been able to maintain my strength throughout the season. I’m not feeling beat up or battered. If I come out of the game sore, I’m supposed to come out of the game sore.”

10,000: Backup running back Ricky Williams eclipsed the 10,000 rushing yard milestone Sunday against the Bengals.

On his 10-yard run in the second quarter, Williams joined 25 other running backs who have reached the mark in NFL history.

“It just means that I’ve been around a long time,” Williams said with a laugh. “If you’re around long enough and you get to touch the ball enough, you’re going to have yards. That’s a talent in and of itself to be able to last this long.

“I’m taking good care of my body and played well enough that someone wanted me. It just speaks for my endurance and my ability to keep on going.”

Williams gained 444 yards and scored two touchdowns this season as the primary backup to Rice.

And Rice has credited Williams for aiding his development.

“Me and him have been quite the 1-2 combo,” Rice said. “I may get the glory, but Ricky really softens the defense up for me. Next thing you know, I get the big play. People will tell you that he’s a brutal runner.”

After the game in the locker room, Rice pointed it out to Harbaugh that Williams had joined an elite fraternity.

“So, Ricky got called up into the middle of the circle there,” Harbaugh said. “He was kind of in the back. He’s a quiet guy. The team started chanting, ‘Ricky, Ricky, Ricky.’ It was really a neat moment. It was just a team moment, and we caught each other’s eye there for a minute. It’s hard to explain how valuable those things are.”

CONFIDENT IN CUNDIFF: The Ravens felt confident enough in kicker Billy Cundiff that they cut kicker Shayne Graham on Tuesday.

Cundiff is regarded as healthy now after missing a game with a left calf injury. He connected on a 42-yard field goal on his lone attempt against the Bengals.

“It was big to see him be able to do that,” Harbaugh said. “The way he pounded the ball through, we all felt good about that. So, he looks like he’s 100 percent.”

Cundiff said he appreciated how Graham filled in for him, making two field goals against the Cleveland Browns.

“I was very happy that Shayne was able to come in and help the team and make some kicks,” Cundiff said. “He was a true professional. He made it easier for me to rehab and get ready for when I was able to get on the field.”

Now, Cundiff said he’s feeling much better.

“It sucked not knowing if it would hold up, that’s not the best feeling,” he said. “Not being able to be aggressive, not being able to know if it’s going to hold up, not having the power really to pull when I plant, that affects being aggressive. For me to be able to actually get through a game and be able to do the things that I’m supposed to do, I’ve got to have the strength first and foremost.

“Definitely on kickoffs, that was the biggest thing, I couldn’t transition my weight and rip through with my hips. That was impossible. Field goals, a little less so. It was more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I got through it and wasn’t able to be as aggressive as I wanted to. It’s a little bit different when you’re playing at 75 percent.”

QUICK HIT: Wide receiver Lee Evans dropped a long pass that glanced off his hands against the Bengals.

“I just dropped it,” he said. “I should’ve had that one.”

 

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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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