Part of the reason the Ravens seem to have so much success at home is that more abnormal things seem to happen in their favor at M&T Bank Stadium.
For example, all the happenings on special teams Sunday that helped the team win its 15th straight at home and improve to 7-2 for the first time since 2006.
In the same game, Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, after returning one 108 yards for a score at home earlier this season, holder Sam Koch executed a fake field goal for a rushing touchdown, and the Ravens recovered a fumbled punt to set up a 20-yard touchdown pass. That’s 21 points right there.
Jones had something special to celebrate after becoming the first Raven to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a season and career.
“That’s old-school man. It’s called, ‘Cabbage Patch,’ ” he said.
As for his accomplishment?
“That’s good for the unit - kick returns, whatever. Everybody should share in it,” Jones said. “That’s good for all of us.”
There was some controversy surrounding Koch’s touchdown on a fake field goal because it came with Baltimore already leading 41-17 in the third quarter. Calling a trick play might’ve been perceived as rubbing it in, but coach John Harbaugh didn’t think so.
“It’s the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “I just put no credence in that. ... We’re trying to get as many points as we can. I wish I could say that we stand up there - and you guys might roll your eyes at this a little bit - and you feel like the game is out of hand, and we don’t need those points. When I’m looking at the clock, and I’m seeing 25 minutes left in the game, a lot of things can happen.
“Turnovers can happen, people can score quick. So if they’re going to give us an opportunity for four points that we normally wouldn’t have, we just feel obligated to take advantage of that. We are trying to win the game, so if you can extend your lead, you really should do that in this league. There is just too much talent over there to assume that they can’t get back into the football game, so that’s what we do.”
Koch also didn’t think much of whether it upset the Raiders.
“Oh, not that I know of,” Koch said. “I was too busy doing high-fives and spiking the ball.”
Two players who were active, but didn’t see any playing time were defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and cornerback Jimmy Smith. Ngata is suffering from a shoulder injury while Smith was unable to play because he couldn’t get his groin loose enough during warm-ups.
Harbaugh said the way the game unfolded contributed Ngata not playing.
“We are trying to get Haloti healthy,” Harbaugh said. “He didn’t practice this week much, but we felt like it would be smart to dress him because he is a difference-maker for us. We started the game out, and we were hoping that we wouldn’t have to play him, and it turned out that we didn’t have to play him, so we decided to rest him in this game. It was just the way the game went.”
As for Smith, it sounds like this could be an issue going forward. Smith was listed as probable for the contest with an abdominal injury, not a groin problem.
“It just did not work for him with the tightness in his groins that he has been experiencing,” Harbaugh said. “So we’re going to have to take a hard look at that Monday and just see where he’s at. This is the first time it has gotten to the point where he just couldn’t get loose enough to play. We pushed it right up until game time, we activated him.
“We felt like he would get loose as he has in the previous pregames, and it just did not. So we tried him again at halftime, we brought him out at halftime, and he was unable to get loose enough. So we’re going to have to look at that hard tomorrow. No other injuries, nothing of significance.”