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The Hangover: Ravens vs Buccaneers Week 12 Ed.

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Welcome ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to another installment of the The Hangover.  Notch another win for the Baltimore Ravens as they hold off the pillaging the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 17-10.  The game saw a variety of ups and downs, but in the end, the Ravens maintained the status quo and the AFC North standings (still tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers after a close-call OT win against the Buffalo Bills).  Let’s break it down some.

The Hook Up

I’d say I’d hate to point out I was right, but let’s be honest, I don’t hate it.  In the staff predictions for this game, I said that Ravens QB Joe Flacco would appease WR Derrick Mason, and boy did he ever.  Mason was strong out of the gate, and his number was called far more often than not.  I only hope this doesn’t sow more discord with the other WRs, but I’ll hold out that they all see that the W is the most important stat in the end.

A Play For The Books

When the Ravens lined up in the 2nd Quarter, the score was tied 3-3.  They probably had no idea that the next play would be an incredibly memorable one.  Flacco hit a ridiculously open TE Todd Heap in stride, and Heap rumbled his way to the end zone for 65 yards.  That was the Ravens longest play from the line of scrimmage this season.  But not only that, the pass moved Flacco past Vinny Testaverde for most passing TDs in Ravens franchise history.  And for Heap, that was his longest TD reception of his career.  Not a bad turnout for about 6 seconds of work.

Who Is That, Greased Up Deaf Guy?

The Ravens showed a vastly improved pass rush against Tampa Bay, breaking through several times and getting their hands on Bucs QB Josh Freeman.  The only problem was that Freeman is one of the “slipperiest” guys under center.  He was definitely under pressure and was definitely being hurried and flushed, but he wasn’t taken down.  However, if the defense can keep that kind of pressure through the end of the season, they’ll be helping out the beleaguered secondary.  I only have one piece of advice for next week’s game vs. the Steelers:  pressure Big Ben, but don’t flush him from the pocket… never in my life have I seen a QB make more things happen after being chased out of the pocket than Roethlisberger.

It’s Okay, Ray.  I Counted It In My Book

Poor, poor, Ray.  Ravens RB Ray Rice broke off a beautiful run after a reception to put the dagger in the hearts of Tampa Bay.  Only the officials, a la Wayne Campbell, removed the dagger, handed it back to Rice, and said “I do believe this is yours.”  The dreaded yellow flag was thrown way back at the pack, and the verdict:  holding on Ravens WR Anquan Boldin.  I’m still waiting to see him hold anybody.  The TD was called back, but luckily the phantom call didn’t affect the outcome of the game.

M&T Bank Stadium AKA The 4077th.

You know… M*A*S*H unit.  Three Ravens came off the field with injuries yesterday: FB Le’Ron McClain, LT Michael Oher, and SS Dawan Landry.  All were pretty key injuries that could make next week’s AFC North showdown against the Steelers that much harder.  The team officials are being fairly tight-lipped about the players, though sources (including the players themselves) seem to think that they’ll be okay for Week 13.  But if they’re not, the Ravens will have that much more of a battle on their hands come Sunday.

Welp, folks, that pretty much empties my brain for this week.  Next week could very well be, in the words of Jim Ross, a real slobberknocker.  At any rate, I’m sure we’ll have a whole lot to talk about afterwards.  See you then.