Special teams must be special again

Special teams must be special again
January 16, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Special teams have been one of the strongest parts of the Ravens this year. They've had a solid combination of punting, kicking and coverage throughout the year-- much different than 2011, when the Ravens kept running into problems there. 

But a lot of that fell apart in last weekend's win over Denver in the AFC Divisional round as the Broncos scored one touchdown on a punt return and another on a kickoff return. Still, the Ravens held on and pulled out a 38-35 victory in double overtime and are looking to do better on special teams in the AFC title game at New England on Sunday. 

"What is in the past is in the past. This week is all about our preparation today going out on the practice field," kicker Justin Tucker said when speaking to the media on Wednesday. "It is not about anything that’s happened – even this past weekend. Every week is a new week, and any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday. That’s how we are treating this week.”

Tucker and punter Sam Koch have been solid and consistent all season and did more of the same last week. It was Tucker's 47-yard field goal in the second overtime period that gave the Ravens the win. 

But it was the two punt/kick returns for touchdowns that kept the Ravens behind for much of the Denver game. Players got out of their lanes on coverage, and the Broncos took advantage of it both times. 

Now, the Ravens will try to change that and play the way they've played all season on special teams. The Patriots, like the Broncos, have a high-powered potent offense that can score from anywhere. Giving them points on turnovers or special teams will not help the cause. 

Tucker said the Ravens just need to keep believing in what they can do. 

"As long as we keep faith in each other, that’s what it is all about," he said.