Weaver breaks through sack barrier

Ravens notebook

Lineman finally seizes moment, QB

Douglas, Gregg also have 2 in '03

Pro Football

October 21, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

In recording the first multi-sack game of his career, Ravens defensive end Tony Weaver provided himself with a little relief.

Weaver had been close on a number of plays this season, but either the quarterback would deliver the pass right after the hit or find a way to break out of the pocket.

But Weaver's drought ended Sunday in the Ravens' 34-26 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals when he brought down quarterback Jon Kitna twice in the second quarter. Weaver ended the first half with a 6-yard sack at the Bengals' 27 and recorded one for 8 yards on a third-and-14 about 11 minutes earlier.

"I just continue to do what I've been doing," Weaver said. "I just try and play hard every down. I've had some bad luck some other games, been close a couple of times. But I'd have zero sacks and take the win any day than the two I had this week."

Weaver, nose guard Kelly Gregg and right end Marques Douglas all have two sacks, accounting for 40 percent of the team's total.

The combined number is a half a sack lower than what the defensive line trio ended up with last season, though Douglas' year was cut short after five games after he tore a ligament in his right knee.

Adalius Thomas, now a linebacker, started for Douglas and recorded three sacks.

"We're definitely doing a better job than we did last year," Weaver said. "That's just a result of our continued hard work."

Billick hedges bet

With his team down 34-18 and a little under 11 minutes left in the game, Ravens coach Brian Billick changed his mind about going for a first down on fourth-and-five at the Bengals' 49.

Billick originally kept the offense in, forcing the Bengals to take a timeout. That delay led to a change of heart for Billick, who sent Dave Zastudil in and watched a punt sail out of bounds at the 19-yard line.

Cincinnati subsequently ran nearly six minutes off the clock.

"I thought about going for it, but to give them the ball had we not gotten it probably would have ended the game about there," Billick said. "So I thought I'm going to put it in the defense's hands to get another stop, and that usually is very productive."

Out of Sanders' hands

Ravens receiver Frank Sanders insists he made contact with cornerback Tory James after James intercepted a Kyle Boller pass in the second quarter.

Both Sanders and James fell down attempting to make the catch at the Bengals' 23, and replays appeared to have shown Sanders just getting a hand on James before he got up and returned the ball 31 yards to the Ravens' 46.

That wasn't enough to overturn the call on the Ravens' replay challenge.

Said Billick, "[Referee] Johnny [Grier] went in a couple of times and looked, and I don't know if he's not looking at his kids," Billick said. "When they come out [of the booth] and the answer is, for instance on the Frank Sanders play, `I don't have anything that definitively showed me opposite that.' And I'm looking on the board and I see Frank Sanders with his hand on the guy laying on the ground as he's gets up."

Not the last word

In back-to-back weeks, Billick's post-game greetings have become a topic of conversation.

After not speaking with former Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake following the Ravens' victory at Arizona two weeks ago, Billick spoke to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis yesterday, but the briefness of the visit led to speculation.

Lewis was the defensive coordinator with the Ravens for three years under Billick.

"I'm critiqued a lot of ways, but to be now critiqued on how long I linger on a handshake at the end of a game, I don't know," Billick said. "I went over, congratulated Marvin. It was a great win for him. Our guys have a lot of affection for Marvin."

Defensive letdown

Without being asked, Billick relayed his biggest disappointment from the Bengals game.

"The thing I was most disappointed about, we come to expect a lot of our defense," said Billick, who hardly ever criticizes the defense. "There were a couple of instances where I think the defense would normally shut down a team to give us an opportunity, particularly that opening drive in the third quarter. That's something [at which] our defense usually is very good."

Cincinnati held the ball the first six minutes of the second half on a drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal that put the Bengals up 27-7.

Anderson OK

Right guard Bennie Anderson's strained shoulder is not believed to be serious. Anderson, who left Sunday's game early, could have returned, but it is believed the Ravens wanted to give backup Casey Rabach more playing time.

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