Ravens Lead By Ray-Ray … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

When the Baltimore Ravens roll onto the playing field at Arrowhead Stadium they will be led by R & R, and that’s not rest and relaxation. That’s Ray and Ray, as in Ray Lewis and Ray Rice.

Ray-Ray is about as dynamic a duo as any NFL team can put on the field. Ray Lewis has twice been the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, with 11 Pro Bowls, a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2000s and 11 Pro Bowl invitations. He has defined the middle linebacker position in the NFL for the last 15 years.

Ray Rice in three seasons has become one of the most productive offensive weapons in the league. Over the last two seasons, Rice has had 1,339 and 1,220 rushing yards. He caught passes for 702 and 556 yards. The Rutgers product scored eight and six total touchdowns. Just three weeks ago, he ran for 153 yards on 31 carries while catching five passes for 80 yards against New Orleans. He scored touchdowns running and receiving in that game.

For the Chiefs to have a chance of victory in Sunday’s first-round game in the playoffs they will have to find a way to contain and minimize the contributions of Ray-Ray.

There are other very good players on the Baltimore roster like DT Haloti Ngata, LB Terrell Suggs, FS Ed Reed, TE Todd Heap, WR Anquan Boldin and developing QB Joe Flacco.

But Lewis is the heart and soul of the defense, and Rice is the engine that makes the offense go.

“One of the things that makes him really good is that he never says never,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said of Rice. “He always churns his legs, stiff arms, runs hard, he’s built low to the ground, has a low center of gravity, and he just tries extremely hard. When you do that you can usually gain you some yards.”

Rice will be playing his fifth post-season game in three years, so he knows what to expect as the playoffs begin, unlike contemporary Jamaal Charles of the Chiefs who has not been part of the January excitement before.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t know what the playoffs were like until I got into the game and realized how hard the hits were,” Rice told the Baltimore media this week. “The hits are a lot harder in the playoffs when you’ve got guys fighting for a ring. I’ve got buddies and friends, who have been in the league, and they haven’t even scratched the playoffs; they haven’t even been there. I’ve been telling them the playoffs are [like] no other. Being able to say that I’ve played in some playoff games now, I know what it’s all about.”

Rice ran for 226 yards and two touchdowns and caught passes for 60 yards last year in starting two post-season games.

Along with two of his mates from the 2008 NFL Draft, Rice has become one of the league’s playmakers out of the backfield, joining Charles and Tennessee’s Chris Johnson in producing yards and big plays:

 Running back

Draft Spot

G

Runs

Yards

TD

 

Rec.

Yards

TD

Chris Johnson

24th

47

925

4,598

34

 

137

1,008

4

Ray Rice

55th

45

668

3,013

12

 

174

1,531

2

Jamaal Charles

73rd

47

487

2,944

12

 

112

1,037

5

Johnson is 5-11, 200; Rice is 5-8, 212; Charles is 5-11, 199.

Ray Lewis will play in game No. 224 of his career on Sunday against the Chiefs. Quite possibly either inside the Ravens locker room at Arrowhead Stadium or on the field before kickoff, Lewis will make a speech to his teammates. It’s guaranteed to be emotional, profane and maybe a little dancing thrown in as well.

Lewis and his defense have become one of those NFL forces of nature, capable of creating a firestorm no matter where they play.

“Our track record says we’ll play anybody anytime on the road,” Lewis said. “Anytime you can pack up a great defense and take it on the road, you have a chance to win.”

Same can be said when a guy like Lewis is on the field.

“You know where Ray Lewis is,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. “It doesn’t take much – you look straight ahead, there he is. He’s right there in the middle. He’s been a top player for a long time. I’m sure he’ll show up. At the same time, it’s just not personnel that you could be concerned with. You have to worry about what their defense is, what they do, and the best ways to attack.”

Lewis continues to attack. He led the Ravens defense in tackles in the 2010 season with 145. That’s 34 more than the No. 2 tackler, S Dawan Landry with 111. Landry is 28 years old – Lewis is 35.

And not only is he continuing to make tackles – 2,643 total tackles in the regular and post-season – Lewis is also making big plays:

  • Against the Jets, Lewis broke up a pass to TE Dustin Keller with 48 seconds to play with a big hit.
  • Versus the Steelers, he clinched a three-point victory with a division interception with 18 seconds to play.
  • Against the Bills, he ripped away the football from TE Shawn Nelson in overtime, setting up the game-winning field goal.
  • Beating Tampa Bay included a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown that sealed the deal.

“For me, being the leader of this defense, I have to make those plays,” Lewis said.

And he keeps making them game-after-game, season-after-season.

“I don’t look past tomorrow,” Lewis said. “That’s my message not just to football players, but people in general. We rush to tomorrow so quickly, we forget about living in today. Right now, it’s about today.”

NFL PERSONNEL FILE FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 7

  • NFL – fined Colts LB Gary Brackett $35,000 for an illegal block against the Titans last Sunday. It was his third fine of the season; fined Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs $15,000 for punching a Bengals player last Sunday; fined Patriots DT Vince Wilfork $10,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit last Sunday; fined Dolphins DL Paul Soliai $10,000 for an illegal hit.
  • DOLPHINS – announced that Tony Sparano will continue in the role as the team’s head coach, despite their flirting with former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. Sparano also got a contract extension.
  • 49ERS – agreed to terms with Jim Harbaugh to be their new head coach, in a 5-year, 425 million contract.
  • JETS – signed reserve/futures contracts with QB Drew Willy and P T.J. Conley.
  • PATRIOTS – placed DE Mike Wright on the injured-reserve list (concussion); activated Brandon Deaderick off the suspended list.
  • SEAHAWKS – signed G Lemuel Jeanpierre and DB Josh Pinkard off their practice squad.
  • TITANS – announced Jeff Fisher would return as head coach of the team for the 2011. It’s the final year of his current contract; signed reserve/futures contracts with QB Brett Ratliff, LS Jake Ingram and LB Kevin Malast.

5 Responses to “Ravens Lead By Ray-Ray … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 8, 2011  - aPauled says:

    The highlight of Brian Waters career…Oct 4, 2004 when he dominated Ray Lewis all evening in a Chiefs 27-24 victory over the Ravens. It was awesome seeing Waters drive Lewis downfield like a blocking sled. Sunday, Waters can put an exclamation point on his career by repeating his dominating performance on Lewis.


  • January 8, 2011  - Chris says:

    Wow talk about getting paid the big bucks to be a head coach. $85 million a season is a heck of a deal for Harbaugh! Maybe not so much for the 49ers though…


  • January 8, 2011  - matt says:

    WOW he could buy a franchise for that


  • January 8, 2011  - matt says:

    matchup to watch: Chiefs defensive tackle Shaun Smith versus the urge to grab the jewels of Ravens players


  • January 8, 2011  - gorillafan says:

    Ha matt!! N the harbaugh thing, that’s way more than what I expected n seems more than anyother coach….maybe not but I didn’t think coaches made anything close to that. N as for lewis, I hope we knock him on his ass so he shuts his big ass mouth!!!




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