Ravens preparing for challenge of Thursday Night Football
— The Baltimore Ravens defeated their archival on Sunday for their first win in over a month, but had little time to celebrate.
On Monday, one day after they outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers, 21-14, to snap a four-game losing streak, the Ravens were right back on the practice field preparing for a rematch with the Cleveland Browns before a national audience on Thursday Night Football.
“We [had] a walk-throughstyle practice. It’s a routine that we developed over the years for the Thursday night games,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “A lot of work was done last week. A lot of work was done last night and this morning. Our guys did a good job of focusing on Cleveland. We went right to Cleveland. We didn’t spend any time on Pittsburgh, as
far as reviewing it. We’re trying to get ready for Thursday night.”
It’s marked the start of an abnormal week for Ravens players, who normally spend Mondays in meetings, have off Tuesdays and practice Wednesdays.
“The game-planning is certainly a challenge, but you just do it. Both teams are in the same boat that way. You try to make good decisions based on the fact that the learning curve is going to be a little bit shorter,” Harbaugh said. “The same thing probably goes for the physical part of it. The recovery curve is shorter, so guys have to get to it and get right to the recovery. Then you adjust what you do. We don’t practice the same way as we would if we were playing on Sunday.
“Both teams are familiar with each other in the sense that we game-planned already. We played each other already. We play each other a lot. We know their personnel. You’re not starting from ground zero as much as you are with a team that you don’t normally play. That’s a big part of it on a short week.”
Both teams met in Week 2, with the Ravens overcoming a 20-0 deficit in the first quarter to win 25-20. While Baltimore (4-4) will be looking to avoid a similar slow start, the Browns, who have yet to win a game, will be aiming to take the lead and maintain that advantage through the final whistle.
“I don’t know that it is motivation. We have had leads on several teams and have not been able to finish,” Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson said. “We understand that there is a team here that is – I’m talking about our team – that comes prepared and comes to play. We know how to start games; we have not been able to finish them yet. Our motivation is we need a win. We are a 0-9 football team, and we want to get on the other side of the ledger.”
Harbaugh agreed, noting that the Browns’ record isn’t indicative of how well the team has been playing.
“It’s something. It’s not what we dwell on. On paper, that’s how they’re evaluated, but the tape tells a completely different story, and we watch the tape. We understand that this is a quality football team that we’re dealing with,” Harbaugh said. “Games are lost for different kinds of reasons. Usually, it’s a play here and a play there, and some of those plays haven’t gone their way. It can go that way. We’ve been in the same situation. We lost four in a row. It just was like that. That can happen. If you watch the tape, they are making a lot of really good plays. This is a very formidable challenge.”
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Baltimore Ravens’ Mike Wallace catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Cleveland Browns’ Joe Haden during the second quarter of the teams’ game on Sept. 18 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. The Ravens won 25-20.