CRAB BAG: Purple birds fly a Mile High

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It’s funny. In last year’s playoffs, Ravens fans became Broncos fans.

During the Wild Card round, all of Baltimore was celebrating when Denver “Tebow’d” the hated Steelers right out of the postseason. HERE’S A VIDEO OF GOOB CELEBRATING/LAUGHING AT PITTSBURGH THAT HAS OVER 20K VIEWS.

Then in the Divisional Round, we were hoping that the Broncos could pull the upset in New England, which would have brought the AFC Championship game back to Baltimore for a Ravens vs. Tebow showdown to go to the Super Bowl.

Instead, Denver disappointed, getting destroyed by Belichick and Brady by a score of 75-2 (or something ridiculous like that; I can’t remember exactly).

We all remember what happened next.

We wanted to see Ravens-Broncos last year. Instead, we get it this year year, Ravens fans find ourselves aligned against another Denver team in the postseason, though one that has a quarterback who’s just a biiiiiiiit more intimidating than Tebow would have been.

Pey-Pey awaits. Time to “buckle up your chin scraps,” Ravens fans. Figuratively speaking.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

Believe it or not, the Ravens have not played in Denver once since John Harbaugh came to Baltimore. While the Broncos have came to M&T Bank Stadium three times since 2008, this is the Ravens’ first trip to the Rocky Mountains since way back in 2006.

Ravens fans will remember that game as an ugly mess of a bump in the road during an otherwise successful season. Though the Broncos prevailed 13-3 that night, the Ravens ended up 13-3 on the year.

The Ravens lead the all-time series with Denver 6-4, including 1-0 in the postseason (Wild Card round 2000).

KNOW THY ENEMY

Final regular season stats and ranking for Ravens and Denver:

GETTING IT DONE ON D’

We’ve heard about how the Ravens defense really upped their game over the final part of the season. While that’s all well and good, the Broncos were even better down the stretch.

Saturday’s game will pit two of the NFL’s best defenses against one another, which makes many of the score predictions we’ve been hearing (high 20′s to low 30′s) a bit curious.

HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR ~ Key Connections

Broncos executive VP of football operations John Elway was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts with the first-overall pick of the 1983 draft. The Colts then traded Elway to the Broncos on May 2, 1983.

Ravens ILBs coach Don “Wink” Martindale was a member of the Broncos’ coaching staff for two seasons (2009-10). Martindale was the team’s LBs coach in 2009 before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2010 campaign.

Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was the Ravens’ LBs coach from 1999-2001 before eventually becoming head coach of the Jaguars. Under Del Rio’s guidance, LB Ray Lewis was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, en route to winning Super Bowl XXXV and MVP honors in that game.

Broncos head coach John Fox served as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants from 1997-2001. In 2000, Fox helped lead the Giants to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXV against the Ravens, a 34-7 win for Baltimore. Broncos assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes was the Giants’ starting SS in that game.

Broncos WR Brandon Stokley was selected by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft, totaling 60 receptions for 913 yards and 7 TDs in four seasons. Stokley helped the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XXXV, and his 38-yard, first-quarter TD is one of the iconic moments from the game.

Broncos DT Justin Bannan signed with the Ravens as a free agent in 2006 and played four seasons with the team, seeing action in 48 games (19 starts). He posted 150 tackles (85 solo) and 3 sacks.

Broncos S Jim Leonhard played with the Ravens during the 2008 season, appearing in all 16 games (13 starts) and recording 85 tackles (61 solo) and 1 INT.

Broncos RB Willis McGahee (IR – Designated for Return) played four seasons with the Ravens (2007-10). With Baltimore, McGahee appeared in 59 games (26 starts), rushing for 2,802 yards on 673 attempts and 31 TDs – all marks that rank third in franchise history.

Broncos WR Matt Willis signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2007, appearing in five games for Baltimore that year.

Ravens DT Ryan McBean (IR) played four seasons (2008-11) with the Broncos, seeing action in 46 games (21 starts), posting 77 tackles (49 solo) and 4 sacks.

Ravens director of player development Harry Swayne played two of his 15 NFL seasons with the Broncos (1997-98), helping Denver win two Super Bowls. Swayne started at right tackle for the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII.

LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT

I hope to be putting together another “Crab Bag” at this time next week. Preferably for Ravens/Texans, but I’ll settle for Ravens/Pats.

Let’s go, Baltimore.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Derek Arnold. Bookmark the permalink.

About Derek Arnold

Derek Arnold
RSR/ESR Senior Editor. Derek is originally from and a current resident of Pasadena, MD. He’s a graduate of UMBC and has been a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. In 2007 he founded B’More Birds’ Nest, where he wrote about the Ravens and Orioles before joining RSR in 2012. Derek’s work has...more

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