Pass game gains, but net result is loss

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

`It's something to build on,' as Boller, Heap and Taylor each have productive day

Bengals 34, Ravens 26 Nfl Week 7

October 20, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

CINCINNATI -- After all the talk about the sputtering passing game last week, the Ravens pulled off a rare occurrence in the NFL.

They had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers -- but it produced nothing but a 34-26 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

"You'd think we shouldn't lose when that happens," said tight end Todd Heap, who had 129 receiving yards, the second-highest total of his career, on seven catches, which tied a career high. "That just goes to show when you hand the ball to the other teams -- turnovers, penalties -- they can take it right to you and stick it back in your face."

Receiver Travis Taylor set a career high with 138 yards on four catches, and his 73-yard fourth-quarter touchdown reception was a career long. The touchdown, though, came with the Ravens down 34-10.

"I'd always like to have a win at the end of the day rather than personal stats," Taylor said. "It's something to build on. We can try to continue to make plays and get it done."

In his sixth game, rookie quarterback Kyle Boller completed 15 of 27 passes for 302 yards and recorded a personal-best 104.2 quarterback rating.

"Kyle put some great throws out there, and if we keep on that track, we are going to be good toward the end of the season," Heap said.

Heap, running back Jamal Lewis, who rushed for 101 yards, and coach Brian Billick demanded more production out of the passing game at various times last week, but the gaudy statistics are unlikely to erase the questions.

For starters, more than 200 of Boller's passing yards came in the second half, when the Ravens were down 20 before even touching the ball.

"I felt like I threw the ball very well today," Boller said. "I felt like I was accurate with it and the receivers made plays."

J. Lewis' shoulder flares

Lewis had to miss a few plays for the second straight game because pain in his right shoulder flared up, but Lewis said it is nothing to worry about.

Lewis carried 19 times and recorded his fifth straight 100-yard game. He left for a couple of plays late in the first quarter and was in visible pain at various times on the sideline during the game.

"It's good," Lewis said of the shoulder. "I take a pounding, and I've got to deliver blows, and I've just got to keep it going. It's no problem. It's not like it's dislocated or anything like that. It's just a nagging injury."

Still in first place

The sting of yesterday's loss was softened for linebacker Ray Lewis by the Ravens' standing in the AFC North.

With the Cleveland Browns' 26-20 home loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens (3-3) remained first in the division by a half game.

"Even though you want to be mad, you want to be upset, you can't," Lewis said. "You're 3-3 and head of the division. Everybody else in the division [is below], so move on. Don't ever think that I'm blowing off a loss, because I would never blow off a loss."

Reed's risky play

Never one to shy away from trying to make a game-changing play, safety Ed Reed fielded a punt 2 yards deep in the Ravens' end zone and brought it out to the 17-yard line. Coaches discourage returners from doing that, but Reed said he felt he had a chance to make something happen.

Reed returned the punt because the Ravens kept their starting defense on the field in a punt return formation with slightly more than five minutes left in the game on a fourth-and-five from the Ravens' 42.

"I wasn't told to field it, but I felt like my guys had blocking," Reed said. "I saw the two ends getting doubled, so I felt like I had some time.

"Under the circumstances, you probably wouldn't make that play. But I was smart, caught the ball, and if they would have been there and made the play, it would have been a touchback."

Robinson hamstrung

Receiver Marcus Robinson missed a game for the first time this season after he felt some tightness in his hamstring during warm-ups.

The Ravens chose to deactivate Robinson and play Dedric Ward.

"I went out and ran a little bit, and it was still tight," Robinson said. "It's nothing big. It's just a precautionary measure."

Ward played about five snaps in the Ravens' three-receiver formation but did not have a pass thrown his way.

Shuffling the lineup

Cornerback Tom Knight left the game with a strained groin in the third quarter and did not return.

With Knight out, the Ravens shifted safety Gary Baxter to nickel back and inserted Will Demps in obvious passing situations.

"In the game, you just have to adapt to what happens," Demps said.

Casey Rabach also replaced right guard Bennie Anderson, who left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.

Bengals' `D' steps up

Though Jamal Lewis surpassed 100 yards rushing, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said his defense fared well.

"He got two big runs ... but for the most part, it was a good day," Lewis said. "That's what we've got to do. I wish we had played them in the beginning of the year because Jamal makes you understand the fundamentals of football."

Johnson gives confirmation

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