2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Ravens shock Broncos, 49ers rout Packers

By BARRY WILNER - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-01-12 22:57

The 49ers and Ravens are getting another shot at making the Super Bowl.

Losers in tight conference championship games a year ago, they are returning to the final step before the big game in the Big Easy after wins Saturday.

Baltimore took the long, frigid route, rallying at Denver for a 38-35 victory in an AFC divisional playoff. The Ravens will go to either New England, where they lost 23-20 in the conference championship match last January, or Houston. The Patriots and Texans face off Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

San Francisco took the NFC game at night 45-31 over Green Bay behind the running and passing of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. That gave both coaching Harbaughs victories Saturday: Jim with the 49ers, John with the Ravens.

San Francisco fell in overtime to the New York Giants for the NFC title last year. The Niners will either visit Atlanta or host Seattle in next weekend's championship matchup.

The wild-card Seahawks are at the Falcons in Sunday's early game.

Second-year QB Kaepernick made Jim Harbaugh's decision to stick with him over incumbent Alex Smith during the season look brilliant. He set a playoff mark for the position by rushing for 183 yards, including a 56-yard TD, and threw for 263 yards. The Niners (12-4-1) gained 581 yards.

The Packers (12-6) beat Minnesota in the wild-card round last weekend, but their defense was overmatched at San Francisco.

Ravens 38, Broncos 35, 2 OT

Rookie Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime of the longest playoff game in 26 years advanced the Ravens and kept star linebacker Ray Lewis' career going at least another week.

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

Joe Flacco's 70-yard heave to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds remaining forced the overtime. 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. He also lost to Pittsburgh in the 2008 title game.

``We fought hard to get back to this point and we're definitely proud of being here.'' Flacco said. ``We feel like it's going to take a lot for somebody to come and kick us off that field come the AFC championship game.''

Lewis announced before they beat Indianapolis in the wild-card round that this was the last of his 17 pro seasons. It's still going.

``When you look back at it and let the emotions calm down, it will probably be one of the greatest victories in Ravens history,'' Lewis said. ``It's partly because of the way everything was stacked against us coming in.''

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.

``He's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and for us to come in here and confuse him the way we did, and make the plays we did?'' Lewis said. ``We gave up two big special teams touchdowns, but the bottom line is, but we kept fighting.''

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

Justin HoustonMar 2 09:52a

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston had the franchise tag placed on him Monday, March 2, according to a source.

Ndamukong SuhMar 2 09:43a

Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh will not receive the franchise tag Monday, March 2.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 1 07:12p

The Oakland Raiders plan to release DE LaMarr Woodley, a league source said Sunday, March 1. He made just five tackles in six games before his season ended due [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayMar 1 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Jones [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to receive the franchise tag by Monday, March 2, but during the NFL Scouting Combine, team owner Jerry Jones said that he [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayFeb 28 09:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. 'There is [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 08:52p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee [ More ]

EJ ManuelFeb 28 02:22p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown signed a three-year deal Friday, Feb. 27, according to a source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. McCown completed [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 06:32p

Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) has signed with the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Reggie WayneFeb 27 04:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.

Darnell DockettFeb 27 04:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was released Friday, Feb. 27. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dockett if he is not able to find a better offer from another team.

Brandon GibsonFeb 27 03:42p

Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Stephen BowenFeb 27 03:22p

Washington Redskins DE Stephen Bowen was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade option for the Arizona Cardinals with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers in [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be an option to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Peterson is from Palestine, Texas, which is between Dallas and Houston, and he's [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 27 02:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according tot general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of [ More ]

Robert GeathersFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals DE Robert Geathers was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Greg LittleFeb 27 01:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Greg Little was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group