2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Ravens rally, shock Broncos in AFC

By BARRY WILNER - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-01-12 21:10

The wide smiles in Baltimore on Saturday night might be matched by those in New England and Houston.

When the Ravens stunned the top-seeded Denver Broncos 38-35 in overtime, it meant the AFC championship game will wind up at either the Patriots' or Texans' home.

Those teams meet Sunday in the other AFC divisional playoff, and will be hard-pressed to equal the excitement and big plays provided by the Ravens and Broncos in icy Denver.

Rookie Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime of the longest playoff game in 26 years sent the Ravens into their second consecutive conference title game. They lost 23-20 at New England a year ago.

Earlier this season, the Ravens (12-6) beat the Patriots 31-30 in Baltimore. They lost 43-13 at Houston.

Later Saturday night, Green Bay was at San Francisco in an NFC matchup. On Sunday, NFC wild-card Seattle is at South champion Atlanta, followed by the game between AFC South winner Houston and East champ New England.

Ravens 38, Broncos 35, 2 OT

Joe Flacco's 70-yard heave to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds remaining forced the overtime in frigid temperatures. Flacco is the only quarterback to win playoff games in each of his first five seasons, and he heads to his third AFC championship match.

The Ravens also prolonged star linebacker Ray Lewis' career. He announced before they beat Indianapolis in the wild-card round that this was the last of his 17 pro seasons.

``Our team is so confident and everything went against us, but we found a way to come here together and we're leaving together,'' Lewis said. ``It's just awesome.''

Peyton Manning lost in his first postseason appearance with the Broncos (13-4), who had won their last 11 games to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs. They wasted it by giving up long plays, negating a record-setting performance by kick returner Trindon Holliday.

Holliday ran back the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a TD. He went 90 yards with a first-quarter punt return to become the first player to score on one of each in a playoff game.

Seahawks (12-5) at Falcons (13-3)

Oddly, there might be more doubts floating around the home team with the spiffy record than the visitors.

While Seattle has won six in a row, erased its reputation as a road flop with three straight away victories - including last week at Washington - and has the league's stingiest defense.

It's Atlanta, 0-3 in the postseason under coach Mike Smith and with Matt Ryan at quarterback, that probably faces more pressure.

``We've been disappointed a few times,'' said center Todd McClure, a Falcon for 13 years. ``I think we've got guys in this locker room who are hungry and ready to get over that hump.''

One of them is Tony Gonzalez, the career leader in nearly all receiving categories among tight ends. In 16 pro seasons, Gonzalez never has won a playoff game. And he's said this very likely is his final year in the NFL.

``I'm not going to lie to you,'' he said. ``I really, really, really want to win this game.''

To get it, Gonzalez, Ryan and star receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White must contend with the league's most physical defense, a unit that completely shut down the Redskins for three quarters in the 24-14 wild-card win.

``I expect our guys to try to play like they always play,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ``They don't need to change anything because we're not doing anything different, we're going to try and hang with them, and we'll find out what happens.''

Texans (13-4) at Patriots (12-4)

Houston's reward for its wild-card win over Cincinnati is a return to trip to Foxborough, where the Texans' late-season spiral began. Houston was in position for home-field advantage in the AFC before being routed 42-14 by the Patriots, then losing twice more in the final three games.

This is only the fourth postseason game in the Texans' 11-season NFL history. The Patriots began winning Super Bowls with Tom Brady before the Texans were born.

Houston must bring the fierce pass rush it often has shown with end J.J. Watt, who led the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks.

``Biggest goal of them all, Super Bowl, and this is a big step for us,'' Watt said, ``and we're really excited about the challenge.''

That challenge comes against the NFL's most prolific offense. The Texans and Patriots allowed the same number of points, 331, but New England led NFL in scoring with 557 points, 34.8 per game.

Brady would surpass Joe Montana for most postseason victories by a quarterback by beating Houston. Brady is 16-6, although he began 10-0.

He isn't looking for a repeat of the Dec. 10 romp.

``Giving us an opportunity to have this game at home, I think that's the important thing about last game,'' Brady said. ``Other than that, this is going to be a whole different game full of our own execution, our ability to try to beat a very good football team that's played well all year.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Bobby WagnerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor (ankle), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), C Max Unger (foot) and LB Bobby Wagner (toe) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. [ More ]

Zach MillerOct 22 08:03p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot) and TE Zach Miller (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, and they have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers.

Frostee RuckerOct 22 06:53p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. S Rashad Johnson (knee) was limited, while DE Frostee Rucker (calf) practiced in full.

Johnathan JosephOct 22 06:53p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Johnathan Joseph (knee), CB Darryl Morris (ankle), LB Brooks Reed (groin), LB John Simon (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 22 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) did [ More ]

Tre MasonOct 22 06:32p

St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason could be the top candidate for a majority of carries since he is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Mason rushed for 85 yards [ More ]

Dion SimsOct 22 05:53p

Miami Dolphins T Branden Albert (elbow), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (knee), CB Brent Grimes (groin), C Samson Satele (hamstring), TE Dion Sims (neck) and S Jimmy [ More ]

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 22 05:43p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder), DE William Hayes (illness), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), S T.J. McDonald (concussion) and OT Rodger Saffold (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Scott SolomonOct 22 05:43p

Cleveland Browns WR Jonathan Krause, Seattle Seahawks TE Rashaun Allen and Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Solomon Patton and DE Scott Solomon cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Billy WinnOct 22 05:33p

Cleveland Browns DE Desmond Bryant (wrist) and LB Barkeveous Mingo both fully participated in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) and CB K'Waun Williams (concussion) were both [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 22 05:23p

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (hand, hip) and SS Danny McCray (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) [ More ]

Sharrif FloydOct 22 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (hernia), LB Gerald Hodges (hamstring) and C John Sullivan (concussion) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. DE Corey Wootton (back), DT Sharrif Floyd (ankle), [ More ]

Dashon GoldsonOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), OT Anthony Collins (knee), S Dashon Goldson (ankle) and S Keith Tandy (hamstring) were limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Johnthan Banks (neck) practiced in full.

Brandon BrownerOct 22 05:13p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Brandon Browner (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Josh McCownOct 22 05:13p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Brett KeiselOct 22 05:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), DT Steve McLendon (shoulder), FS Mike Mitchell (non-injury) and SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) did not participate in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jonathan GoodwinOct 22 04:53p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Keenan Lewis (knee, shoulder), LB Ramon Humber [ More ]

Thomas DavisOct 22 04:53p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle), LB Chase Blackburn (knee), WR Philly Brown (concussion), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury), S Roman Harper (non-injury), OG Amini Silatolu (calf), OG Trai Turner [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 22 04:43p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) wasn't feeling good enough to return to practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Head coach Marvin Lewis said Green won't play in Week 8 against [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 22 04:43p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Reggie WayneOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jake LockerOct 22 04:33p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Kelechi OsemeleOct 22 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (wrist) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and OG Kelechi Osemele (knee) practiced in full.

Gosder CherilusOct 22 04:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle (knee) and OT Gosder Cherilus (rest) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. CB Darius Butler (ankle) was limited during practice, while DT [ More ]

James StarksOct 22 04:33p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Starks injured the ankle in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers.

Brandon ThompsonOct 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. DE Robert Geathers (toe), CB Leon Hall (back) and OG Mike Pollak [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 22 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Alan Ball (bicep) and DE Andre Branch (groin) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. C Luke Bowanko (ankle), CB Aaron Colvin (knee) and S Craig Loston (hamstring) were limited.

Trent RichardsonOct 22 04:23p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Mario WilliamsOct 22 04:13p

Buffalo Bills WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) both did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. WR Marcus Easley (knee) and S Aaron Williams (neck) [ More ]

Martellus BennettOct 22 04:13p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett (hamstring) said he expects to practice Thursday, Oct. 23, and play in Week 8. Bennett missed practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Nick MangoldOct 22 04:13p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), OG Willie Colon (knee), LB David Harris (shoulder) [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group