Reed cuts defense's big day down to size

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

`I was supposed to score,' safety says

Robinson regrets pair of missteps

Dolphins 9, Ravens 6

November 17, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

MIAMI -- Ravens safety Ed Reed has an answer for those who wonder what more the Ravens' defense can do. Reed delivered it in the wake of his team's 9-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Pro Player Stadium yesterday.

"We already know what more we can do," Reed said. "We have to score the football. That's when a defense becomes great."

After his performance yesterday, Reed has authority to speak on behalf of the defense. The second-year player had one of his best days, recording nine tackles (including two of running back Ricky Williams behind the line of scrimmage on run blitzes), breaking up two passes and intercepting Dolphins quarterback Brian Griese in the fourth quarter, a play that gave the Ravens a chance to take the lead after he returned the ball to the Dolphins' 36.

But that was not quite good enough for Reed.

"I make a play, and I was supposed to score with it," said Reed, who jumped in front of Derrius Thompson. "But it happens. And like I told Ray [Lewis], you have to go through something to get to where you want to go.

"[Griese] was looking at the man the whole time, but it comes from studying film. We knew what he was going to do in certain situations. I jumped the route, and I was all over it because I expected it to come."

It was the second straight dominating performance by the Ravens' secondary, holding Griese to 126 yards passing and a 39.3 quarterback rating. Griese completed only 13 of 32 attempts, the longest for 17 yards.

A week earlier, the defense held the St. Louis Rams to 121 total yards.

"The bottom line is we've got to make more plays in defense to help our offense out," safety Gary Baxter said.

Robinson tripped up

After fixing his hands, Ravens receiver Marcus Robinson now has to work on his feet.

Robinson, who had dropped a number of passes earlier this year, did not drop any yesterday, but fell down twice on deep routes that could have changed the game. The first incident came when he appeared to have a step on cornerback Sam Madison only to trip as the under- thrown ball landed in Madison's hands in the first quarter.

"I had a step on him," said Robinson, who started for Frank Sanders and had two catches for 13 yards. "The ball was a little bit underthrown, and I tripped and fell. Certain things you can't have. When the ball is in the air and you have the opportunity, you have to make that play."

As for the second time, Robinson was in the process of breaking free on a hitch-and-go pattern, but tripped and fell down again on third down with a minute left in regulation.

"I don't know what happened," Robinson said. "I was running, and he was at a standstill. I ran past him, looked for the ball and I'm falling. But you can't fall because the game was on the line. They were coming to you looking to make a big play that would have ended the game. Those type of things are happening to us."

Costly interception

Had Anthony Wright not thrown that interception with five minutes left in regulation and the Ravens at the Dolphins' 36, kicker Matt Stover would have felt confident about attempting a field goal at that end of the stadium.

Stover estimated his range to be at 54 yards kicking behind a strong wind into the stadium's east end zone.

"The 35-yard line, that was the yard line I gave them, but inside two minutes, I'll push it back to the 37," Stover said.

Wright was picked off attempting a pass to tight end Todd Heap that sailed behind the target and into the hands of Sammy Knight on a second-and-10.

"Trying to get us some yardage and some field-goal position," coach Brian Billick said of why the Ravens threw in that situation. "They were outside, on the edge of that. They were blitzing on that down. We felt like we'd seen that a lot. We felt like we could get Todd on the outside."

Weaver OK

Defensive end Tony Weaver left the game in the first half with a shoulder stinger and did not return.

Weaver was replaced by Kelly Gregg, who shifted from nose tackle to end. Maake Kemoeatu primarily replaced Gregg.

Weaver's injury is not believed to be serious.

"I tried to tackle Ricky, and I just hit him with all head," Weaver said. "My neck got jammed back, and I got a real bad stinger. The pain never really left my shoulder."

Fuller returns

Cornerback Corey Fuller returned to the starting lineup for the Ravens and played more than half the snaps.

Fuller had missed the previous two games with hamstring and groin injuries. Though Baxter had played well in Fuller's place, the Ravens chose to rotate Baxter between safety and cornerback the whole game.

When Baxter shifted to cornerback, Will Demps took his place at safety.

"It wasn't a big deal to me," said Baxter, who finished tied for third on the team with seven tackles. "I was just doing my job."

Flagged down again

For the second week in a row and the fourth time this season, the Ravens recorded double-digit penalties. The Ravens had 10 penalties in each of the first two games, and have had 10 in each of the past two.

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