CRAB BAG: Still something to play for?

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BEATING UP ON THE BENGALS

The Ravens have racked up four consecutive wins against Cincinnati, last losing to the Bengals during Week Two of the 2010 season. Four Ravens, in particular, have put up spectacular numbers against Cincinnati in their careers.

Joe Flacco is 6-3 in his career against Cincinnati, and in his last four games against them (all wins), Flacco completed 67 of 94 passes (71.3%) for 824 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs (106.9 QB rating).

Ray Rice has averaged 5.0 yards per carry in nine career games against the Bengals. He has posted 110.0 rushing yards per game and 7 rushing TDs in his last 4 contests vs. the Bengals – all Ravens’ wins. Rice has posted two rushing TDs in each of his last three games vs. Cincy, and also has 36 catches for 300 yards against the Bengals, both marks that rank as the most vs. any one opponent in his career. Rice rushed for 295 yards and 4 TDs in two games vs. Cincinnati in 2011, including a 191-yard, 2-TD output in Week 17 to help Baltimore clinch the AFC North title.

Ray Lewis has 5 INTs for 120 return yards vs. the Bengals, his most against any team during his career, as are his 22 PD.

Ed Reed had 2 tackles and returned an INT 34 yards for a TD in the Ravens’ 44-13 win over Cincy in Week 1 this season. Reed produced a 63-yard punt return TD against the Bengals in the 2007 season opener on Monday Night Football (9/10). His 10 INTs are his second most against any NFL team (11 vs. Cle.), and his 337 INT return yards are also second (Cle. – 357). Reed has 27 career INTs against AFC North foes, totaling 819 INT return yards and 6 TDs. The thefts and return yards are the most among active players against one’s respective division.

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“Getting [to the playoffs] is not good enough anymore. I’ve played in two AFC Championship games since I’ve been here and been in the playoffs every year. The playoffs are the norm now. It’s not just about the feeling of making the playoffs anymore. It’s about taking care of business again, and this time, actually getting the job done. Do we have the pieces? Yes, but it’s going to take every man on board.” - RB Ray Rice on the Ravens’ expectations

“No. 1, he faces everything head on. He recognizes there are issues, and he deals with those issues. He doesn’t let those issues dictate where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. If there’s a problem, we deal with the problem, but then we move on. You don’t just sit there, and he doesn’t allow a problem to bring him down and bring his football team down.” - Ravens executive VP & general manager Ozzie Newsome on why John Harbaugh handles adversity so well

“White lightning, man. He’s able to shake you. He can use the bullrush. It’s kind of rare you see an athlete like that. … I told him he reminds me of [Vikings DE] Jared Allen. Jared is a bigger body than Kruger, but he’s very similar with his hands, with his feet. He’s a smart player. ‘Krug’ is capable of going out there and doing big things.” - S Bernard Pollard on OLB Paul Kruger, who leads the Ravens with 8 sacks this season

“His approach is, he starts over every year. He may be a little bit ahead of some of the younger guys [in terms] of where he’s at, but he still starts over, meaning he still comes in with the mindset that he’s going to work every day to get better. It might be a little different from the young guys. It might be a little more precision, it might be a little more detail, but he still approaches it that way…That’s the kind of guy you could throw the ball to 12, 14 times, and he’ll catch 10 balls, and he’ll catch three touchdowns. There’s no doubt about that. He can hurt anybody at any time.” - Ravens WRs coach Jim Hostler on WR Anquan Boldin

GETTING TO KNOW YOU ~ Q&A with Arthur Jones

How much does your family, with three professional athletes – Jon “Bones” Jones and New England’s Chandler Jones – motivate you?

“It’s huge. We’ve pushed each other since we were little in every competition. We were constantly trying to outdo each other. There is no jealousy. We feel for each other and try to be on top and outwork each other. It’s been a lot of fun throughout the years and something that we are going to continue doing.”

You trained with your brother, Jon, a UFC champion, this offseason. What type of skills did you learn that translate to the football field?

“The mental toughness of it is probably the biggest. Say somebody kicks you in the stomach, and you can’t breathe. Well, you learn how to think and how to use your mind when your body is hurting and how to fight through pain. On the physical side, you learn how to use your hands and feet in unison. It’s kind of like having your hands and feet tied together and moving them together.”

In September, Jon fought in a UFC Championship match, and then you played against Chandler and beat the Patriots the next day. What was that like?

“It was a great weekend for everybody, except Chandler! But was awesome to play against my little brother. It was hard for me to focus on the game until the second half. I was trying to see what he was doing out there. I’m pretty sure it was tough for him  to focus also. Of course, Jon was at the game, too, and we all talked before and after the game. Jon won, too, which made it great.”

What’s the No. 1 thing you’ve learned about the NFL, off the field? 

“How to save money. Saving and choosing how to spend your money was the main thing I learned my rookie year – and you learn that fast.”

How about on the field?

“The speed of the game. It’s so much faster than college. I also learned quickly how to be a professional and how to study film, not just playing off my athletic ability, which I was able to do in college. Everybody in the NFL is big, fast and strong.”

In what areas have you grown that make you a better pro?

“Working hard. I want to push myself to the limit physically and mentally. I also study a lot of film. I study guys who have a similar body type to me and watch how they play the game. Haloti Ngata and guys like him are people I watch closely and try to emulate the things they do.”

HEY, YOU LOOK FAMILIAR! ~ Key Connections

Ravens G Bobbie Williams played eight seasons with the Bengals, seeing action in 118 games (all starts).

Ravens rookie G/C Gino Gradkowski and Bengals QB Bruce Gradkowski are brothers. Bruce is six years older than Gino, and the two grew up in Pittsburgh, PA.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore from 1996-2001, a tenure that included a victory in Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 campaign when the Ravens set an NFL record for fewest points allowed (165) in a season.

Bengals assistant strength and conditioning coach Jeff Friday was the head strength coach for the Ravens from 1999-2007. Friday works under Chip Morton, who was an assistant in Baltimore from 1999-2001.

Bengals defensive backs coach Mark Carrier served as the Ravens’ secondary coach from 2006-09, while Bengals assistant special teams/assistant DBs coach Hue Jackson was the Ravens’ QBs coach from 2008-09.

Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons’ first NFL job was with the Ravens in 1998 as quality control/special teams coach.

Bengals RB Cedric Peerman was originally selected by Baltimore in the sixth round (185th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

LAUGH OF THE WEEK AT THE EXPENSE OF RAVENS’ OPPONENT

Ya know, I’m not going to put anything here this week. Instead, I’m going to go ahead and thank the Cincinnati Bengals for winning in Pittsburgh last week, and in the process knocking the Steelers out of playoff contention.

No Steelers in the playoffs. That’s something that Ravens fans, Bengals fans, and Browns fans (and all NFL fans that are forced to deal with Steelers fans on a regular basis, which is pretty much all of us) can all celebrate together.

Thanks, Cincy.

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