Ravens remember the Titans


Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

MIAMI -- The Baltimore Ravens went into Dolphin Stadium and conquered Miami 27-9 on Sunday afternoon. But despite all the beautiful scenery and sunny beaches surrounding them, the Ravens couldn't help but think about the home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Nashville is the destination for Baltimore's divisional-round clash with the Tennessee Titans (13-3). The Ravens (12-5) lost the first meeting Oct. 5 13-10 on the Titans' final drive, which included a controversial personal-foul penalty that helped lead to Tennessee's winning touchdown.

Now these conference powers meet again with the season on the line. Call it "The Titanic Rematch."

"That's how fate has it lined up," Ravens offensive tackle Willie Anderson said. "We said that we probably would see each of these teams again. Those are some great teams, and as fate would have it, we have to go through them again."

Despite Tennessee owning the NFL's best record and being the Super Bowl favorite in the AFC most of this season, the Ravens like their chances.

Here is what else we learned from Baltimore's wild-card win over Miami:

Flacco isn't overwhelmed
One of the major questions surrounding the Ravens was the readiness of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. But against Miami, Flacco proved that he can play solid postseason football.

Flacco's stats were not overwhelming. He completed just 9 of 23 passes for 135 yards and added a rushing touchdown. But the most important stat was zero turnovers.

The Dolphins tried to rattle the rookie but never had the opportunity. Baltimore's pass protection was tremendous (zero sacks), and the Ravens' running game amassed 151 yards and two touchdowns to keep Miami's defense at bay.

Flacco also kept the Dolphins honest by taking shots when necessary. He had two completions of 31 yards that led to two scoring drives. Flacco also barely missed several other deep pass attempts that, at the very least, prevented Miami from constantly stacking the box.

"Joe was aggressive," Ravens center Jason Brown said. "He's a young quarterback. So even though it's late in the season, he is still progressing week in and week out, and it's only making our offense better."

Perhaps Flacco learned a hard lesson from fellow rookie signal caller Matt Ryan, who struggled mightily in his first postseason start. Ryan threw for more yards (199) than Flacco, but he also pressed the issue and threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, which was the difference in Atlanta's 30-24 wild-card loss to the Cardinals on Saturday.

Flacco instead managed and played to the flow of the game in which Baltimore's defense was dominant, forcing five turnovers that led to 14 points.

"I think Joe played like a veteran," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He played like a veteran in the playoffs."

Another one for Cam
The Ravens didn't want to talk much about offensive coordinator and former Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron returning to Miami. Baltimore insisted that chapter was closed and that Cameron had returned already in the regular season.

But as much as Baltimore tried to defuse the Cameron angle, Miami continued to bring it up. Several Dolphins players were very vocal about it this week and quick to point out that they were 1-15 under Cameron last year and 11-5 this season under Tony Sparano, who was a Coach of the Year candidate.

"We felt like those guys focused too much on Cam," Anderson said. "All the talk was about Cam, even after their last game, and not about us. So it was good for us they were so worried about beating him."

Yet Cameron and Baltimore improved to 2-0 against his former team this year. And although the Ravens didn't want harp too much on it, there was a sense of happiness from Cameron's players and fellow coaches that they can finally move on from it.

"I feel great for Cam and I feel great for everybody," Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. "I think we're past all of that now. This is his team. He's a Raven now and we're happy he's with us."

Revenge tour?
There is still unfinished business for the Ravens.

Four of Baltimore's five losses this season are against teams still in the playoffs. The Ravens lost twice to the Pittsburgh Steelers and once to the New York Giants and Tennessee.

The Ravens have their first chance to avenge a loss Saturday against the Titans. Based strictly on seeding, Baltimore could get another shot against Pittsburgh and New York if it keeps finding ways to win.

But the Tennessee game should be one of the most physical and intriguing games of the season. The Titans and Ravens were rivals in the old AFC Central before the league's most recent realignment and had several memorable battles.

"They said the road to the Super Bowl comes through Nashville, and they were exactly right," Ravens receiver and former Titan Derrick Mason said. "So we're going to pack our bags and go to Nashville."