CRAB BAG: Ravens vs. Broncos

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START A NEW BATCH OF HOME-COOKIN’

The Ravens had their NFL-best 16-game (including playoffs) home winning streak snapped two weeks ago against Pittsburgh. They will hope to start a new streak against Denver, instead of having their first two-game home losing streak since 2007.

The Ravens have scored an average of 34.0 points per game at M&T Bank Stadium this season, ranking as the NFL’s second-best mark among home teams. Baltimore has scored at least 31 points in four of six home games this season and at least 44 in two contests.

The Ravens’ “D” has been stout at home for many seasons. Since the 2003 campaign, Baltimore ranks first in fewest points allowed per game among NFL home teams. The Ravens also have the most INTs (115) and have posted the second-most sacks (215).

14.7 – Points per game Baltimore has permitted at home since 2008, the NFL’s best mark (Pittsburgh is second at 15.0 ppg).

55 – Interceptions by the Ravens at home since 2008, ranking as the NFL’s second most at home (GB is first with 66).

66.0 – Passer rating the Ravens have forced for opposing QBs at M&T Bank Stadium since 2008, the NFL’s top defensive mark.

287.7 – Yards per game the Ravens’ defense has permitted at home since 2008, ranking as the NFL’s third-stingiest average during that span (Pit. – 265.8 and NYJ – 283.2).

1,021-557 – Margin the Ravens have outscored opponents at home since 2008, limiting foes to 14.7 points per game. In their 32 wins during this span, the margin of victory has been 14.6 ppg.

SADDLE UP FOR THE PONY RIDE

While the Ravens have never won in Denver (0-3 all-time), they have dominated the Broncos in Baltimore, winning all five games played here between the two teams. They have done so in convincing fashion as well – their average margin of victory is 17.2 points.

Date                Result

12/31/00           Ravens, 21-3 (Wild Card Playoff)

09/30/02          Ravens, 34-23

10/26/03          Ravens, 26-6

11/01/09          Ravens, 30-7

10/10/10          Ravens, 31-17

GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Corey Graham

What is motivating you at this time in your life?

“My kids, my wife, my brother and my grandmother. My brother [Michael] was the one that got me involved in sports and football from the beginning. He is the one that put the football in my hands. He motivates me to get better and better. I just want to be the best I possibly can, and I still feel like I have a lot of things ahead.”

What made Baltimore attractive when you were a free agent?

“I talked to Brendon Ayanbadejo, who was in Chicago with me. In Chicago, he was strictly a special teams guy. To see him come here and get a chance to play on defense showed me that the coaches here will give you a chance to play. If you show that you deserve to play, you’ll play, and that’s all I can ask for – the opportunity. I felt like if I showed that I deserved to be on defense, then I would be out there. That’s all I wanted, and I felt like this was the best place.”

What is your favorite thing about being a cornerback?

“It’s a tough position, to be honest. My favorite thing about it is having the opportunity to get interceptions. If you think about it, you are on a guy who is probably just as fast as you, and he knows where he’s going, you don’t, but you’re supposed to get to the football at the same time as him. You would think it was a little bit impossible, but to see that you can do it and make plays is fulfilling for me.

Who is the funniest guy in the locker room?

“It’s either Terrence Cody or Jacoby Jones. Jacoby is a different guy. We trained together coming out of college. I already knew all about Jacoby before I got here. It’s something new and different every day with him. It’s an adventure; let’s leave it at that.”

What is your favorite sport to watch other than football?

“I love track and field. I ran track and field in high school, and I really liked it a lot. My wife, Alison, ran track and field in college at Northeastern University. I grew up on track and field, and I just enjoy watching the sprints, really everything. I know how hard it is and to see how fast and explosive all these people are is amazing.”

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“It was five years ago [in 2007], and I can remember everything – it made that much of an impression. Sometimes when you play in certain venues, you feel the audience. The electricity they have, the energy they’re giving the team – you feel that in Baltimore. It’s like the fans and the defense are in perfect sync together.” - Current ESPN analyst & former Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi on the Ravens’ homefield advantage

“My charge – our responsibility as a coaching staff – is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win, and we can still reach all of our goals for this season. We have a motto we follow on this team: W.I.N. – What’s Important Now – and what’s important now is to find ways to get better, win the AFC North and advance to the playoffs. With our coaches and players, the solution is in the building. We are going to make the most of our opportunities going forward, and this change gives us a better possibility to achieve our goals.” – Head coach John Harbaugh on elevating Jim Caldwell to offensive coordinator this past Monday

“Jim Caldwell is a man, and probably his greatest strength is he strikes me as a guy where I sure wouldn’t want to disappoint him. There are a lot of clichés thrown out there, but he’s a man among men. He treats people with dignity and respect. That will absolutely tie him to Joe Flacco. I just can’t imagine as a player having a coach like him and not take it personally and want to succeed.” – Former NFL quarterback and current CBS analyst Phil Simms on Jim Caldwell

“The guy, to me, is my modern day Superman. … Why is he coming back? People ask that question all the time. He’s coming back because he firmly believes that this is a team that can go ahead and [make a playoff run]. He does it for us. He’s not doing it for the stats. He’s not doing it for the fame. He’s doing it solely because he loves the Ravens, he loves his teammates, and he loves this organization.” – RB Ray Rice on LB Ray Lewis working to return to the active roster after tearing his triceps in Week 6

NIGHTMARE ON RUSSELL STREET

OLB Paul Kruger, a second-round selection in 2009, leads the Ravens with 8 sacks. Kruger started his fourth game of the season in Washington last week and produced 1.5 sacks. He now has 6.5 sacks in his last five games, including at least 1 sack in each of those contests, which ties a Ravens’ franchise record. (Former OLB Adalius Thomas twice had five-game streaks with at least 1 sack in each outing.)

CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A SACK

Player Games Sacks Yards
       
Paul Kruger

5

6.5

-38.5

       
Adalius Thomas

5

5

-53

       
Adalius Thomas

5

5

-21

Kruger’s 6.5 sacks in five games are the most in that span in Ravens history. Dating back to November 11, Kruger’s 6.5 sacks are third in the NFL, behind only Von Miller (7) of Denver and Aldon Smith (12) of San Francisco.

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 THE EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT

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