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Baltimore Ravens at Miami

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NOTES

 

RAVENS: Club will make 1st playoff appearance since ’06 & has won 9 of past 11…Team has 2-1 (.667) record in Wild Card games & aims for 2nd consecutive win against Dolphins in postseason…Ravens have 3-1 (.750) road record in postseason…In past 11, rookie QB JOE FLACCO (1st round, No. 18) has completed 167 of 284 passes (58.8 pct.) for 2,127 yards with 13 TDs vs. 5 INTs & 90.2 passer rating. In last meeting against Miami, Flacco completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9 pct.) for 232 yards with 1 TD vs. 0 INTs & 120.2 passer rating…In past 11, Ravens are averaging 155.5 rush yards per game (1,710 total rush yards)…Miami native RB WILLIS MC GAHEE averages 93.5 rush yards per game against Dolphins & aims for 3rd consecutive game with 100 or more rush yards (104, 105) vs. Miami. McGahee will make 1st career playoff appearance…FB LE’ RON MC CLAIN led team with 11 TDs (10 rush, 1 receiving) in ’08. McClain was selected to 1st career Pro Bowl…WR DERRICK MASON (1,037) reached 1,000 receiving yards for 7th season in career. Mason aims for 3rd consecutive game with TD reception against Miami. WR MARK CLAYTON averaged career-high 17.0 yards per catch in ’08 (41 rec., 695 yards)…In 2 career Wild Card games, TE TODD HEAP has 7 rec. for 91 yards (13.0 avg.) with 1 TD…Club led NFL with 26 INTs (2nd most in Ravens history)…Club aims for 9th consecutive game with INT in playoffs…In 2 career postseason games, S ED REED has 3 INTs & aims for 3rd consecutive playoff game with INT. Reed tied career-high with 9 INTs in ’08 & has 4 in past 2 games…Ravens have not allowed RB to gain 100+ rush yards in 35 regular-season games (longest current streak in NFL) & have not allowed RB to rush for 100+ yards in past 8 postseason games (tied for 4th longest active streak)…LB RAY LEWIS registered team-high 160 tackles in ’08…Club had 5 players selected to Pro Bowl (Lewis, McClain, Reed, special teamer BRENDON AYANBADEJO & DE TERRELL SUGGS).

 

 

 

DOLPHINS: Club clinched 13th AFC East title & 1st since 2000…Miami has 15-6 (.714) postseason record at home…With 11-5 record in ’08, Dolphins won 10 more games than last year & tied ’99 Colts (3-13; 13-13) for largest 1-season win improvement…Team has won 5 consecutive games & 9 of past 10…Rookie head coach TONY SPARANO guided team to playoffs in 1st year at helm…Club registered 13 turnovers & tied ’08 Giants for fewest turnovers in NFL history…In 5 career postseason games, QB CHAD PENNINGTON has completed 107 of 178 passes (60.1 pct.) for 1,166 yards with 7 TDs vs. 4 INTs & 83.2 passer rating. Pennington will make 2nd career postseason start at home (w/Jets on 1/4/03). In ’08, Pennington posted career-high 3,653 passing yards & set Dolphins season record with 67.4 completion percentage (min. 75 completions). In 1 career start against Ravens (10/19/08), Pennington completed 24 of 35 passes (68.6 pct.) for 295 yards with 1 TD vs. 1 INT & 92.0 passer rating…RB RONNIE BROWN posted career-high 10 rush TDs in ’08 & was selected to 1st Pro Bowl. Brown will make 1st postseason appearance. In 3 career games against Ravens, RB RICKY WILLIAMS averages 74.3 rush yards per game & has 2 games with 100+ rush yards (102, 105). Williams will make 1st postseason appearance with Dolphins…WR TED GINN JR. totaled career-high 56 receptions for 790 yards (14.1 avg.) with 2 TDs in ’08. Rookie WR DAVONE BESS (54 receptions) ranks 3rd in franchise history for most receptions in season by rookie (TERRY KIRBY, 75 in ’93; JACK CLANCY, 67 in ’67). Bess posted 1st career TD reception against Ravens...TE ANTHONY FASANO (7 TDs) tied franchise record for most TD receptions among TEs in single-season (KEITH JACKSON in ’94)…Incl. postseason, LB JOEY PORTER has 8 career sacks against Ravens. Porter led AFC with 17.5 sacks in ’08…Rookie K DAN CARPENTER (21 FGs) tied UWE VON SCHAMANN for 2nd-most FGs by Dolphins rookie & his 103 points rank 2nd among Miami rookie kickers (FUAD REVEIZ, 116 in ’85).

 

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BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5) at MIAMI DOLPHINS (11-5) (Sunday, CBS, 1:00 PM ET)

STORYLINE: Their last game was a turning point – for both teams.

 

It was this past October 19 in the same spot – Dolphin Stadium. And each team believes the result (a 27-13 Ravens win) propelled them to where they are today.

 

Baltimore had lost three in a row, including a 31-3 pasting by Indianapolis the week before, for a 2-3 record. Then the Ravens’ WILLIS MC GAHEE rushed for 105 yards, LB TERRELL SUGGS scored on a 44-yard interception return, and Baltimore heavily blitzed to negate Miami’s “Wildcat” offense, which produced only four yards in five plays. The win would be the first of four in a row for Baltimore and also the first of nine victories in their final 11 games. “That game was a turning point,” says Ravens T WILLIE ANDERSON. “The world was saying we were done.”

 

The Dolphins? They would win their next four for nine in their final 10 (both teams ended up 11-5). “We had no identity then,” says Miami CB ANDRE’ GOODMAN. “We didn’t know who we were, but now we have a pretty good idea.”

 

It will be a “chess-move” matchup. Miami finished the season with the second fewest interceptions in the league (7 to Washington’s 6). Baltimore had the most pickoffs with 26. This all leads to one of the most interesting matchups of the day: Miami QB CHAD PENNINGTON, the NFL’s all-time leader in completion percentage (66.0), against Pro Bowl S ED REED, the league-leader this year in interceptions (9), including four in the last two games.

 

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