Haloti Ngata sprains left knee, says he is OK
Ravens Pro-Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata left Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter after getting up slowly and favoring his left knee. He headed to the locker room for further examination, but came back in the second quarter after receiving an initial diagnosis of a sprained left knee.
Ngata had a productive game, finishing with five tackles, harassed quarterback Andy Dalton, and made one of his finer plays of the season when slammed RB Giovani Bernard of the Bengals into the ground.
Ngata’s status in practice this week will lend a clue to his availability for this Sunday’s game in Chicago, but the Ravens appear to have dodged a bullet, as Ngata has had durability concerns in previous seasons.
Hopefully Ngata takes it easy the next couple days, relaxes and throws down a couple buckets of his Royal Farms Chicken. That just might be the best medicine.
James Ihedigbo relieved bone-headed play doesn’t cost Ravens
Safety James Ihedigbo had been having the best day of his career Sunday heading into the final seconds of the game, as his team led the Cincinnati Bengals by a touchdown with only seconds left. He had come up with two interceptions of Andy Dalton, and finished tied with Daryl Smith for the team lead in tackles with 9.
However, if you asked Ihedigbo about the game, all he could focus on was his poor play as time expired, when he tipped Dalton’s Hail Mary prayer up into the air, where it was caught in the end zone by Bengals wide receiver AJ Green, to send the game to overtime.
Ihedigbo was chewed out on the sideline by cornerback Jimmy Smith after the play, but responded, helping to tackle Bengals running back Giovani Bernard on a 4th and 2 attempt in the backfield on the Bengals opening possession of overtime.
Ihedigbo thanked God, and Justin Tucker after the game, and was noticeably humbled. It is nice to see Ihedigbo focused on getting better, despite already having a great game.
Ravens add some trickery to Offensive Play-calling
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell broke the recent pattern of slow starts on offense last Sunday against the Bengals when the Ravens jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
One reason the Ravens had success was that Caldwell dialed up trick plays, as running back Ray Rice lateraled a handoff back to Joe Flacco on a flea-flicker, and while the deep shot was incomplete, it drew a pass interference penalty from the Bengals and led to the Ravens first touchdown.
Later in the first half, backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor got the ball on an end-around that went for 18 yards, a run longer than any run from running back Ray Rice all season.
The Ravens added an element of surprise on defense too, sending exotic blitzes after Andy Dalton, and sacking him 5 times, and intercepting him 3 times as well. Hopefully, this is the beginning of bolder play-calling, as it suits these Ravens.
Otherwise, it’s like Cam Cameron never left.
Bears hobbled heading into next week
Bears coach Marc Trestman took a beating from the media after the Bears lost to the Lions 21-19 on Sunday for not pulling the noticeably injured Jay Cutler after he appeared to re-aggravate a groin injury. Cutler was diagnosed after the game with a high left ankle sprain, and appears doubtful to play Sunday against the Ravens.
The Bears also announced on Monday that cornerback Charles Tillman will be placed on injured reserve with a chance to return later in the season. Tillman is just the latest Bears defender to go down after the Bears already lost Henry Melton and Lance Briggs.
The Bears defense is banged-up heading into Week 11, and they could be a sight for a sore-eyed Ravens offense that failed to top 200 yards of total offense yesterday against the Bengals. Ray Rice may actually have a shot to average more than 2.5 yards per carry.