Charg­ers, Ravens meet for sec­ond time in three weeks

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID GINS­BURG KELVIN KUO AP

It’s been six years since the Ravens hosted a play­off game, so for­give Pro Bowl guard Mar­shal Yanda for for­get­ting pro­to­col re­gard­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of tick­ets.

“Some­body was ask­ing me if we got tick­ets dur­ing the play­off games, and I couldn’t re­ally re­mem­ber,” he said this week. “I was like, ‘Uh, it’s been a lit­tle while.’ ”

The last time Bal­ti­more was at home in the post­sea­son was in 2012, when line­backer Ray Lewis and quar­ter­back Joe Flacco en­gi­neered a 24-8 vic­tory over In­di­anapo­lis to launch a sur­pris­ing Su­per Bowl run.

Lewis is now in the Hall of Fame, and Flacco will be on the bench when rookie La­mar Jack­son and the Ravens (10-6) face the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers (12-4) in a wild-card game Sun­day.

It’s a re­match of a piv­otal con­test two weeks ago, when Bal­ti­more took con­trol of the AFC North with a 22-10 vic­tory that dropped the Charg­ers to the No. 6 seed. The Ravens’ top-ranked de­fense lim­ited Los An­ge­les quar­ter­back Philip Rivers to

181 yards pass­ing with two in­ter­cep­tions.

“You know they’re go­ing to come back with changes, with wrin­kles, and they’re go­ing to play that much harder, be­cause they know what hap­pened the first game,” said Ravens safety Eric Wed­dle, who played nine years with the Charg­ers be­fore sign­ing as a free agent with the Ravens in 2016.

The game plan is im­por­tant, but min­i­miz­ing er­rors is what re­ally counts.

“I don’t think it’s go­ing to be a big se­cret as to what ev­ery­one is do­ing,” Los An­ge­les coach An­thony Lynn said. “It’s just who­ever ex­e­cutes the best is go­ing to win this game.”

If ex­pe­ri­ence means any­thing at quar­ter­back, the Charg­ers have the edge. The 37-year-old Rivers has been fling­ing the foot­ball in the NFL since 2004 and has started nine play­off games.

Jack­son, a ju­nior at Louisville just a year ago, has been a starter for just un­der two months. The 21-year-old will be the youngest quar­ter­back ever to start in the post­sea­son.

But the Ravens are 6-1 with Jack­son as a starter, and his abil­ity to run has turned Bal­ti­more’s of­fense into a very ef­fi­cient unit.

“There’s no sub­sti­tute for ex­pe­ri­ence,” Ravens of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Marty Morn­hin­weg said. But he quickly added: “Now some­times, it’s the qual­ity of ex­pe­ri­ence as well. Man alive, look at all the things he’s done – a very ma­ture young man for that age in many, many ways. And, he’s a very con­fi­dent guy.” AP re­porter Joe Reedy in Los An­ge­les contributed.

Bal­ti­more QB La­mar Jack­son is a rookie lead­ing the Ravens into their first post­sea­son ap­pear­ance since 2014.

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