(Sports Network) - Alongside linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed helped define a Baltimore Ravens defense that won a pair of championships and was always regarded as one of the best in the league.
Last season's Super Bowl victory marked the end of the road as teammates for Reed and Lewis. The two will get a chance to reunite this Sunday, though, when Reed's Houston Texans battle the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium after Lewis is inducted into Baltimore's Ring of Honor.
While Lewis retired after capping his 17-year career with another title, Reed joined the Texans as an unrestricted free agent in March. He has yet to play this season as he recovers from offseason hip surgery, but Houston head coach Gary Kubiak noted on Monday that Reed was very close to playing in Sunday's 30-24 overtime victory against Tennessee.
The 35-year-old Reed was the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year and a nine-time Pro Bowl selection over 11 seasons with the Ravens. He logged 606 tackles, six sacks and 61 interceptions, returning seven for touchdowns.
"We'll have to assume that he is going to play. We'd be surprised if he didn't play in this game, and we'll have to assume he's going to play the way he's played in the past," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
Lewis, now an analyst for ESPN, will be honored prior to Sunday's game. The MVP of Super Bowl XXXV won a pair of Defensive Player of the Year awards over his career, spent entirely with Baltimore, and logged 41 1/2 sacks, 31 interceptions and 13 Pro Bowl selections.
The Ravens hope that Lewis' presence will spark them against the Texans, who have needed to rally in both of their wins this season. After coming back from a club-record 21 points down in Week 1 to defeat San Diego, Houston got a one- yard touchdown run and two-point conversion from Arian Foster with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter this past weekend to force overtime against the Titans.
The Texans then drove down the field in the bonus frame and secured their four straight 2-0 start when quarterback Matt Schaub found DeAndre Hopkins in the back of the end zone from three yards out.
"It was a great ball by Schaub. He put it in the perfect position for me to go up and catch it," Hopkins said. "We practice that basically every day, the wide receivers. And practice makes perfect."
Schaub threw for 298 yards with three touchdowns and was picked off twice, while Hopkins made seven catches for 117 yards. He stepped up with No. 1 wideout Andre Johnson out with a concussion suffered late in the fourth quarter.
"It's just great character for us to find a way to win two weeks in a row like that," said Kubiak, whose club won its first five games last year. "Obviously, you're not going to get away with that in this league. I think this is a very good football team that we just played. I think they played extremely well. And we are very fortunate to get out of here with another win today."
Johnson caught eight passes for 76 yards before his exit and Kubiak said on Monday that his wideout's status for this game won't be determined until later in the week as he follows concussion protocol.
"But I think, after the game talking to him and seeing where he's at today, obviously he's doing really well," Kubiak added. "I would expect the progress to go pretty quickly if it goes like it has the last 24 hours."
The Ravens also lost a key player to injury on Sunday as Ray Rice left a 14-6 win over the Cleveland Browns to a hip flexor strain in the fourth quarter.
Rice caught three passes and ran for 36 yards on 13 carries before leaving. He did not undergo an MRI on the injury, though, and Harbaugh said on Monday that he would probably rest Rice in practice this week and then see how he is on the weekend.
"That's the indication, that it's not anything that's really serious," said the Ravens coach. "They would be looking at it if they thought it was. So, we'll just be day-to-day with him."
Quarterback Joe Flacco was on the field Sunday despite his wife giving birth to the couple's second child hours earlier and helped the Ravens rally from a 6-0 halftime deficit. He threw for 211 yards, including a five-yard TD pass to wide receiver Marlon Brown in the fourth quarter.
He completed third-down passes of 16 and 18 yards on Baltimore's last scoring drive.
"Anytime you have a child, it's one of your best days," Flacco said afterwards. "The game didn't go exactly how we wanted it to, but that's how we've won football games around here. We're able to win like this, and sometimes you have to do it in an ugly way."
Following a 49-27 rout at the hands of Denver to begin the season, the Ravens avoided their first 0-2 start since 2005 under Brian Billick.
"We came into the locker room (at halftime), sat down and said we have to get it together and get this running game going. Because once the running game gets going, the passing game gets going," said Ravens back Bernard Pierce, who ran for a five-yard score in the third quarter.
"We took a deep breath, got it together and went back out there and made plays."
The Ravens won each of their first five regular-season games against the Texans franchise before Houston managed a 43-13 on Oct. 21 of last year. Foster ran for 98 yards and scored twice, while Schaub threw for 256 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
Flacco was held to 147 yards passing, was sacked four times and picked off twice.
The Ravens have won both of their regular-season games at home versus the Texans and also secured a victory over Houston in Baltimore during the playoffs on Jan 15, 2012 to end the Texans' first trip to the postseason.
Reed had a late interception in the game to help seal the win for the Ravens.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
After a decade of having Reed on their side, the Ravens for the first time will have to game plan around the star safety. Harbaugh said that will be difficult to do given that Reed has yet to play this season for the Texans.
"It's a little tougher because we haven't seen him on tape, so we really don't know how he fits in their defense. We'll have to fit him into their scheme, which in a lot of ways is similar to what we've done here. So, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out where he's going to be and just envision him out there playing the way he played for us all those years," noted Harbaugh.
Reed may not be the player he once was, but a return to Baltimore should add some extra energy to his legs, assuming he can get on the field.
"No, there's nothing specific I'm looking for," Kubiak said in regards to what it would take to declare Reed ready to play. "I think it's a combination of everybody looking for those explosive movements from the middle of the field to the sideline, breaking on the ball. Those type of things. To where it looks the way it has in the past and the way Ed knows it's supposed to look."
Reed had to feel bad for his former teammates after they were lit up by Denver's Peyton Manning in Week 1. Baltimore gave up seven touchdown passes to Manning and 510 yards in total to the Broncos offense, but held the less- talented Browns to 259 yards while keeping the club out of the end zone.
The Ravens were credited with five sacks versus Cleveland, getting one each from linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs and 1 1/2 from Daryl Smith.
"You know, you've got to have a short memory. You definitely don't want to give up 49 points every week," Suggs said. "First things first, get the win and you've got to protect your home. You win your home games and you've got a good chance of making the playoffs and doing some great things."
The Texans also managed to put together a solid effort on defense in Week 2, holding the Titans to 248 yards. Defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Brian Cushing both had two sacks after failing to get the quarterback in Week 1.
But the duo have an excellent skill set to get to the quarterback, so the Ravens will need to stick to their ground game regardless of Rice's health. That is fine with Harbaugh, who has no problem giving the ball to the 218- pound second-year back Pierce.
"We've had confidence in Bernard since, really, the day he got here and started practicing, because he showed what he's all about. He continues to get better," said Harbaugh, noting his improvement in pass protection.
"He's becoming a complete back, and we're just very fortunate to have him on our team."
The Texans also are leaning on a two-back system with Foster and Ben Tate, but may have found another weapon in the rookie Hopkins, a first-round pick out of Clemson.
"We've been seeing it from (Johnson) for years, so you kind of just start taking greatness for granted. And then for the young boy (Hopkins) to go in there -- we've been seeing it since he got here -- what kind of hands he has and he just continues to impress," noted Foster.
The Texans saw kicker Randy Bullock miss three field goals versus the Titans, including a potential game-winner late in the fourth. That 46-year-old miss came after he failed to convert on a pair of 50-yard tries.
While admitting that Bullock has got to make kicks late to win the game, he did offer confidence in the 23-year-old and said the offense needs to get him closer.
The Ravens have had their Texans' number since the latter joined the NFL, but the tide may be turning in this series. Baltimore has certainly looked like a team with a Super Bowl hangover as it adjusts to the offseason roster overhaul.
While the Texans have had to rally in back-to-back weeks, they have been scoring points. The Ravens may have some extra juice due to Lewis' presence and the home crowd behind them, but a hampered Rice alters the game plan of a club that isn't deep at receiver and is getting little production from the tight end spot.
Johnson's status is concerning for Schaub, but he has plenty of other options as he tries to beat the Ravens' rush.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texans 20, Ravens 17
(Sports Network) - The Indianapolis Colts have nothing but fond memories of current San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Ditto for Indy quarterback Andrew Luck, who enjoyed success under Harbaugh at Stanford that led to him get selected first overall in the 2012 draft.
Luck and the Colts aren't likely to face off against a happy Harbaugh on Sunday at Candlestick Park as the 49ers try to bounce back from a horrid loss last weekend.
San Francisco began defense of its NFC championship with an exciting 34-28 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, but saw its high-powered offense dominated a week later in Seattle. The 49ers turned the ball over five times and were penalized 12 times for 121 yards in a 29-3 hammering.
Colin Kaepernick threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns versus the Packers, but was shut down by the Seahawks through the air. He totaled only 127 yards passing and was picked off three times, posting a passer rating of 20.1. He did rush for 87 yards on nine carries, but lost a fumble and was sacked three times.
"We're not going to win games if I play like that," Kaepernick said. "There were a couple of balls I tried to force in there."
It was equally frustrating for wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a score against Green Bay but was limited to four targets and one catch for seven yards.
San Francisco will now try to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 16 and 26, 2010. Harbaugh took over the next year after a successful stint at Stanford between 2007-10. Luck was Harbaugh's quarterback for his final two years at the university and the two were 20-6 together.
"It's going to be tough," said Luck of the upcoming matchup. "They obviously got to the Super Bowl last year. I have a lot of respect for Coach Harbaugh in my years at Stanford with him and (current 49ers defensive coordinator Vic) Fangio and the rest of the Stanford guys on their staff. They're a premier defense. It's going to be a great challenge but I think we're up for it. It'll be a fun week of work."
Harbaugh also has the respect of the Colts franchise. Dubbed "Captain Comeback" during his playing career with the Colts from 1994-97, Harbaugh passed for 8,705 yards and 49 touchdowns in 53 games and 46 starts. In 1995 he made the Pro Bowl and earned Comeback Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year honors.
A decade later he was inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor.
"He's a great coach. I would never put him down," said Colts defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Niners from 2009-12.
"He's one coach I can tell you that's into it, almost feels like he's a player again. You'll see him out there this week throwing passes to the receivers and I believe he's still got it. We used to mess with him about it, 'Coach, just sign a one-game contract, see what you can do.'"
Harbaugh will now get to see what Luck can do on an NFL field. A rookie sensation a year ago, the 24-year-old threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 1 win over Oakland before struggling late the following weekend in a 24-20 loss to Miami.
Luck threw for 321 yards, but had a fourth-quarter interception and also took a late sack on fourth down.
"Disappointing last series," said Luck. "I don't think I handled a lot of those plays well. You got to get the ball out of your hands no matter what, so I'm severely disappointed with myself for not giving our guys a chance because I thought the O-line did a heck of a job all day."
Ahmad Bradshaw, starting because of a Vick Ballard ACL tear, carried 15 times for 65 yards and a score, while T.Y. Hilton caught six balls for 124 yards.
"We made plays. I thought offensively we moved the ball up and down the field," said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. "That's a darn good football team that came in here. We knew that going in. Credit them."
Pagano will now try to lead his club to its first road-opening win since 2009. The Colts are 5-0 under Pagano in games following a loss and have not suffered a losing streak since beginning the 2011 campaign 0-13.
Indianapolis leads the all-time series 24-18 and has won the past two meetings between the clubs. The Colts snapped a four-game slide in San Francisco with a 28-3 victory in 2005 and took the most recent encounter at home 18-14 on Nov. 1, 2009.
The Luck-Harbaugh dynamic could morph into a chess game. Nobody knows Luck's strengths and weaknesses better than his old college coach -- even if Harbaugh claimed on Monday that Luck doesn't have many weaknesses.
Harbaugh noted on Monday that a lot of Luck's attributes shine brighter on the field than they do in scouting.
"Yeah, he's a terrific player and you see it on the tape," said Harbaugh. "The ball comes out quicker than it looks like it comes out. The velocity on the throws is more than what it looks like. As good as he looks and as physical as he looks in the pocket and tough to bring down, he's even harder to bring down than you think.
He looks fast when he's running with the ball and he's out of the pocket and can make a throw on the run or run. But he's faster than he looks."
Few teams can challenge a quarterback like the Niners, who will send stud outside rushers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks his way. Smith logged a pair of sacks versus the Seahawks, giving him 3 1/2 on the season and 37 in his two- plus NFL seasons.
Safety Eric Reid, meanwhile, has grabbed an interception in back-to-back games to begin his career, becoming the first 49er rookie since the 1970 merger to do so.
Reid did suffer a head injury in the first half against Seattle on a big hit, but Harbaugh said he was showing no concussion symptoms on Monday. Reid will still have to pass the NFL's concussion protocol, however.
One area the Colts may test is up the middle, even though linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman may be there. San Francisco lost starting nose tackle Ian Williams for the rest of the season with a broken left ankle, moving Glenn Dorsey into a starting role.
Injuries are also impacting the Colts. Already down Ballard, tight end Dwayne Allen will miss the rest of the season because of a hip injury suffered in Week 1, while left guard Donald Thomas suffered a torn right quadriceps versus the Dolphins that will end his 2013 campaign.
In Allen's place last weekend, Coby Fleener caught four passes for 69 yards with a score, while rookie third-round pick Hugh Thornton stepped in for Thomas.
"He played well. It's never going to be perfect, especially for a rookie getting his first significant amount of playing time," Pagano said of Thornton. "He did a nice job. He'll only get better. He's a smart guy. He's a tough guy. He's a powerful, powerful man."
Indy did get good news on wideout Darius Heyward-Bey, who injured his ribs last weekend. However, an MRI was negative and he should practice this week.
Heyward-Bey was impressed with how Hilton stepped up versus Miami, giving Luck another option alongside Reggie Wayne.
"Man, he's explosive. He does so many great things in the passing game. The way he gets open, the way he makes plays down the field, real special," said Heyward-Bey.
It will be interesting to see how Kaepernick responds from his worst NFL start. When not using his feet, Kaepernick makes his living with the deep ball, something the Seahawks took away. Pressure helped and the Colts got two sacks last weekend from both linebacker Jerrell Freeman and Robert Mathis.
"I think he was seeing the field. I'm not disappointed in the way Colin played at all. I think he did what he could," Harbaugh said of his quarterback.
One other game within the game will be the matchup of brothers as Colts cornerback Vontae Davis squares off against 49ers tight end Vernon Davis for the first time.
Vernon was the sixth overall pick of the 2006 draft by San Francisco and did suffer a hamstring injury last weekend, but took to Twitter to reassure his status for this matchup.
"No need to worry y'all. My leg is feeling great just need a little rest til kickoff according to the docs," Davis tweeted from his personal account.
Vontae, meanwhile, was taken 25th overall by Miami in 2009.
Harbaugh has been praised for how well he has taken to coaching at the NFL level and will get a blast from his past on Sunday. That shouldn't bother the stone-cold sideline general, who will have no problem using his solid defense to make things miserable for Luck.
Kaepernick seems to mimic his coach's confidence and doesn't seem like he'll have any added pressure this weekend to bounce back. He should see plenty of room to make plays as he faces a Colts defense that allowed Oakland quarterback Terrell Pryor to run for 112 yards in Week 1.
Both clubs need a bounce-back effort, but the tide favors the 49ers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 28, Colts 13
By Michael Rushton, Contributing NFL Editor
And he will do say with added piece, former Browns running back Trent Richardson. Indianapolis pulled off a major trade Wednesday, acquiring the former No. 3 overall pick in exchange for their 2014 first-round pick.
It was a rare in-season trade in the NFL, especially one for a young skill player like Richardson.
"Didn't see THIS ONE COMING!!!!!!" Grig's Rollin' Dice!," read the Twitter feed of Colts owner Jim Irsay, referring to general manager Ryan Grigson.
Richardson was selected by the Browns in the 2012 draft and was viewed as the centerpiece of a rebuilding process for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2002.
The Alabama product had injury issues in a rookie campaign that saw him total 1,317 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has struggled out of the gate this year with just 105 rushing yards in the first two games.
"Trent's a great player and we expect him to have success in this league," said Browns CEO Joe Banner. "Right now, based on how we're building this team for sustainable success, we're going to be aggressive and do what it takes to assemble a team that consistently wins."
09/20 12:17:25 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.
Terms & Conditions
Contact WGME 13
FCC Public File
EEO Public File Report
©2014, WGME - Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
WGME CBS 13 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Portland and nearby towns and communities in the Central and Southern Maine, including Lewiston, Augusta, Brunswick, Westbrook, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford, South Portland, Kennebunk, Bangor, Freeport, Buxton, Windham, Auburn, Waterville, Scarborough, Gorham, Yarmouth, Standish, Falmouth, Poland, Rockland, Bath, Farmington, Gray, Wells, York, Hollis Center, Winthrop, Norway, Naples, Old Orchard Beach, Bridgton, Bethel, Paris, Kittery, Cumberland, Oxford, Gardiner, Ogunquit, Wiscasset, and Bath.