Blake's 3 pickoffs doom Ariz.

Cards QB: `I put my team in a bad situation today'

October 13, 2003|By Bob Romantic | Bob Romantic,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TEMPE, Ariz. - Jeff Blake, who often made bets with Ravens defensive backs during practice when he played for Baltimore last year, made another yesterday.

He lost - big.

Blake threw three interceptions in the Cardinals' 26-18 loss to the Ravens - two to Chris McAlister, including a momentum-turning pick that went for an 83-yard touchdown return in the third quarter.

"Me and Jeff had a nice talk," McAlister said. "I won't tell you what we talked about before the game. We had a bet going between he and I, but I won't even try to go collect on him right now."

Blake was 22-for-36 passing for 247 yards against his former team, with two touchdowns and the three interceptions.

The first McAlister interception came in the second quarter when - on third-and-eight - Blake threw the ball behind receiver Kevin Kasper, and McAlister stepped in front.

Blake threw behind his intended receiver again in the third quarter, and again McAlister stepped up, this time racing 83 yards untouched into the end zone. McAlister was penalized for taunting on the return.

"That's just Chris," Blake said. "He did that last year on the Monday night game. If that's his attitude and the way he wants to portray himself as a player, so be it."

Blake pointed the finger at himself for the Cardinals' poor showing.

"I wanted to play well against them and do the best I could against them," Blake said. "They had a good game plan for us. They knew we weren't going to try and run the ball much. ... They pretty much had our tendencies down pretty good."

Turnover problems have been a trend for the Cardinals (1-5), who are minus-14 in turnover margin this season. Blake has more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (seven).

"In all my years of playing, even my bad teams in Cincinnati, we didn't turn the ball over like this. But the thing is, I have to stop throwing interceptions. I put my team in a bad situation today. Even though they only got 10 points out of it, still, that's 10 points we could have been closer to the Ravens and have a better chance to win."

In defense of Blake, he has the most inexperienced receiving corps in the NFL to work with. It's also a group that has been riddled by injuries. First-round pick Bryant Johnson (City) and Jason McAddley didn't suit up yesterday.

"The Ravens had no reason to think we were going to throw the ball deep," Blake said. "We haven't thrown [a deep ball] in four weeks, so they were just sitting there squatting on everything we were throwing.

"We've got to have more than three receivers [to throw the ball deep]. I mean, in that two-minute drill, we had three guys. They were blown. We didn't have anybody to come in and take them out or rotate with them. ... We had nobody. That was it, just those three."

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