Showing posts with label new england patriots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new england patriots. Show all posts

New England Patriots prepare for an AFC Championship

New England Patriots prepare for an AFC Championship
Baltimore Birds protecting deal with Haloti Ngata said he tried to be a dispassionate viewer of the divisional playoff activity between the New Britain Patriots and the Austin Texans. As he viewed the experience on tv, Ngata analyzed both violations, at least until the third one fourth, when it became obvious that the Patriots were well on their way to obtaining a rematch with the Birds in Sunday’s A.F.C. Tournament activity.

At that factor, Ngata permitted himself to experience some emotions.

“I think we individually desired to perform the Patriots again,” he said Thursday at the Ravens’ exercising website. “If we were to go to the Extremely Dish, it would be excellent to go through Foxborough and win there.”

The two groups are acquainted dancing associates in the N.F.L. 2010 playoffs, and their postseason tangle last Jan — a 23-20 Patriots success at Gillette Ground — has provided as petrol for the Birds ever since. Baltimore had its possibilities in that activity, so many possibilities. There was extensive recipient Lee Evans, his go-ahead landing wedding celebration removed by a Patriots protecting gamer with 23 a few moments staying. And there was kicker Billy Cundiff, his opportunity to deliver the experience to extra time evaporating when his 32-yard field-goal effort veered extensive staying.

Neither gamer trapped with the group over the off-season, though the bad emotions — all the would-haves, could-haves, should-haves — have lingered. Unpleasant lineman Marshal Yanda said it took him two several weeks to get over the reduction. Ngata said he could still keep in mind what it sensed like in the locker space, the silent hopelessness.

“It’s been a lengthy street getting returning to this factor,” limited end Dennis Pitta said. “The way we staying it last season did not sit well with us.”

Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo included some warm to the unavoidable pregame accumulation when he distributed a few findings on Tweets delayed Weekend. “New Britain does some suppose things on violation,” Ayanbadejo had written. “Can’t really regard it.” He also known as the Patriots’ hurry-up violation a “gimmick.” On Thursday, Ayanbadejo apologized for his feedback, also via Tweets. He was not created available to the press.


The Ravens immediately sought to distance themselves from Ayanbadejo’s comments, treating the issue like a hazmat disaster. Coach John Harbaugh dismissed it as “not relevant” and “not worthy of a conversation.” Ngata also declined to weigh in. “That’s all about him and his deal,” he said of Ayanbadejo.

If nothing else, the Ravens have shown an uncanny ability to overcome challenges. The word “resilience” has become an unofficial slogan. In reaching the rarefied air of the conference championship round, the Ravens did not always play the most aesthetically pleasing brand of football — or even win all that consistently. Pitta referred to the team’s late-season, three-game losing streak, “when nobody thought we would win another game.” It was a stretch of futility that cost the offensive coordinator Cam Cameron his job, so unsettled was the Ravens’ state of affairs.

Yet the team somehow managed to reassemble enough confidence when it mattered most. After defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, the Ravens went to Denver for Saturday’s divisional playoff round and proceeded to stage one of the most dramatic upsets in franchise history. Their 38-35 double-overtime victory over the Broncos assured Harbaugh of his third trip to the A.F.C. Championship game in five seasons as the team’s coach.

It took some magic. Joe Flacco threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds remaining to force overtime, and the rookie kicker Justin Tucker — Cundiff’s replacement — made a game-winning 47-yard field goal to cap the fourth-longest game in N.F.L. history. “I’ve never been nervous about Justin Tucker kicking a field goal,” Ngata said.

The game was a test of endurance amplified by the fact that it was played at altitude, in the thin air of Denver and in bone-numbing cold. Ngata said he expected the Ravens to benefit from an extra day of rest before facing the Patriots.

Still, the Ravens are not traveling the most forgiving route to a potential Super Bowl berth. One week after dismissing the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, Baltimore will be forced to deal with Tom Brady — two generation-defining quarterbacks, back to back. So Ngata could be forgiven for misspeaking Monday when he said the Ravens must “put some pressure on Peyton — uh, Brady.”

In Week 3, the Patriots traveled to Baltimore, blew a 9-point fourth-quarter lead and lost, 31-30, as Flacco threw for 382 yards. Harbaugh said he was not putting a lot of stock in that result. Too much has happened in the interim.

“Heck of a challenge,” Harbaugh said, adding: “This is a team that changes a lot. They’re kind of like a chameleon.”

Given all that has happened in recent weeks, Harbaugh was asked if he thought the Ravens were a team of destiny. Did he believe in such talk?

“Our destiny right now is to go to Foxborough,” he said. “That’s the destiny that we’ve earned.”

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49ers Rapidly Across


49ers Rapidly Across
After the last soccer tennis ball had been broke, and the last conquer had been quit, the 49ers' go instructor strode rapidly across the area to move palms with his version.

There was no occurrence this time around. No modern again putting, or absurd scuffling. Jim Harbaugh and Leaders go instructor Tom Coughlin shook palms temporarily, talked for a moment and Harbaugh strolled off the area at Candlepower unit Playground on Saturday as quickly as he could.

Just like that, a wonderful season for a fresh go instructor had come to an end in in the long run of the NFC Title Game. Just like that, Harbaugh's secret carpeting trip came sailing again to soil.

In typical fashion, Harbaugh stood up in front of the gathered hoard afterward and took it like an adult.

He told us how proud he was of his team. How they had fought to the end and could very well have won the game.

"It wasn't there for us today," said Harbaugh, all jutting jaw and internalized seethe. In a lot of ways, we played good enough to win ..."

The words trailed off and you could see the coach was in a good amount of pain.

And then he looked up and gave us the last in a long line of Harbaugh-isms that helped define the season, the coach and the team. "A man can be defeated," Harbaugh said. "But he can't be destroyed."

There you have it. Mere minutes after a crushing defeat, in which his mistake-free team had betrayed its own nature at the worst possible moment, Harbaugh stood defiant and promised the world that he would not be defeated.

It was a surreal moment because Harbaugh has built something like a cloak of invincibility around himself. It was still kind of hard to believe he'd been defeated in the NFC Championship. Isn't this the guy who makes it happen somehow, some way?

From his stunning success at Stanford, to the amazing turnaround he orchestrated this season with the 49ers, Harbaugh has established one thing: He's not your average football coach.

For one, he doesn't lose very much.

He went 29-21 over four seasons with bookish Stanford kids. And he posted 14 wins against four losses his first year with San Francisco, inheriting a team that went 6-10 the season before.

That makes him only the fourth rookie head coach in NFL history to win 13 games or more, ranking second in 49ers history to a guy named George Seifert, who won 14 in his inaugural campaign in 1989. Perhaps most impressively, he's the only man in NFL history to win that many as a rookie having inherited a losing team.

It was ironic that both Jim Harbaugh, and his brother John, came so close to winning their respective championships Sunday, with John's Ravens falling to the Patriots 23-20 and the Jim's 49ers falling to the Giants 20-17.

There was much similarity in how both teams were coached and how hard they fought to force a rematch of November's much-hyped Har-bowl, won by the elder Harbaugh.

That game was just one of many memorable moments for Jim Harbaugh this season, from the comeback in Philadelphia to the infamous handshake in Detroit to the Monday Night blackout victory over Pittsburgh.

Harbaugh built the 2011-2012 Niners in his own image, asking the players to dedicate themselves wholly to the team.

He molded the plan to the talent, unlike so many of his recent predecessors. Let Alex Smith do what he's good at. Let Vernon Davis stretch the field. Let Patrick Willis and Justin Smith loose.

Let the players take responsibility, and more than anything, never criticize them in public.

But in the end, it will be Harbaugh's intensity - along with his quirky, driven personality - that we'll remember from his rookie campaign.

One can be assured that Coach Harbaugh will not let his players be destroyed by Sunday's loss. Anybody can tell you that.

Just ask Carl Banks. Outside the crowded corridors of Candlestick, in the chaos after the game, the Giants legendary linebacker leaned against the wall, waiting to get by.

Banks had played a few big games in this stadium against some of the finest 49ers teams ever assembled. He said the place looked a lot like it did back in the day. In fact, he said, "I don't think they've changed a damn thing."

But he also said the 49ers looked familiar to him, on this rainy Sunday.

"The 49ers played great today. A lot like they used to," Banks said. "I'm a huge fan of Jim Harbaugh. He's fundamentally sound. I competed against him as a college player and a pro.
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