The Ravens are becoming testy with the persistent questions about Joe Flacco's hip and quadriceps injuries.
"He is very much healthy enough to play and to play well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "The more you guys (the media) want to make of the injury situation, that's great. Make it really dire. He's really in bad shape."
Flacco's 34 yards passing at New England tied an NFL record for the fewest in a playoff victory during the Super Bowl era (since 1966) and continued the inquiries about the severity of his injury.
He favors his right leg walking onto the field, but he takes nearly every snap in practice. He doesn't always step into his throws these days, but he is scrambling downfield to convert a critical first down.
From Harbaugh to Flacco to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, the Ravens say the injury isn't limiting his play. But Flacco has produced the fewest passing yards of his career in the past two games. He threw for 102 yards at Oakland and followed that up with 34 yards at New England (which tied the Miami Dolphins' Bob Griese, who threw for 34 yards in the 1973 AFC title game).
Flacco acknowledged that he has a bruise on his right hip and speculated that fluid running down to his quad has made it stiff. Because the AFC divisional playoff game is on Saturday, his recovery time will be shortened.
"I have to make sure I take the next couple of days to give it a little rest and then get ready for Indianapolis," Flacco said. "I feel like I'll be feeling great and moving 100 percent when we get there next week."
Griese threw for those 34 yards in a postseason victory over Oakland on Dec. 30, 1973.
Flacco, who completed 4 of 10 passes, also came close to two other NFL playoff marks. The league postseason record for fewest completions (3) and attempts (6) are also held by Griese in that 1973 game.
Meanwhile, the X-rays on Todd Heap's back reportedly were negative. The Ravens tight end sustained a back stinger with 2:21 left in the Ravens' 33-14 playoff win at New England.
Asked if he would play Saturday in the divisional playoffs at Indianapolis, Heap said, "That's what I feel like."
Harbaugh also downplayed Heap's injury. "He's got some lower back spasms. That stuff can be tough, but usually you can work through that pretty well. So, he should be fine."
"I wanted to be the guy today to start this game off fast, whether it was going to be a 5-yard run on the first play or an 83-yard run," said Rice, who finished with 159 yards on 22 carries. "I wanted to be the guy to say this will be a fast-tempo game. We want the other team to play catch-up to us."
--The Ravens threw the ball a season-high 47 times three months ago at New England. This time, the Ravens passed 10 times, a playoff low for the team.
Committing to the running game, the Ravens rushed 52 times for 234 yards.
"I'll be honest with you, I've had a knot in my stomach since that first game," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "I think I got a little impatient. Fortunately, these guys got us back here and I was able to stay patient."
--The Patriots scored their first touchdown after a muffed punt that went off Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski and was recovered by cornerback Kyle Arrington. But replays showed that Arrington failed to gain control of the ball before sliding out of bounds.
Coach John Harbaugh said he did not have enough information at the time for a challenge. The Patriots took possession at the Ravens' 16 and scored six plays later on a Tom Brady pass to Julian Edelman, cutting the Ravens' lead to 24-7 in the second quarter.
"We didn't have anything on that," Harbaugh said. "If we had something, we definitely would have challenged it, but we didn't have enough."
--Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth continued a strong finish to the season, limiting Randy Moss to five catches for 48 yards. "He did a great job on one of the best receivers in the history of the game," Harbaugh said.
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