After phone call, C. Johnson all hung up

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

McAlister-led secondary limits the Bengals' star to 2 receptions, 15 yards

Ravens 31, Bengals 13

Nfl Week 14

December 08, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister took exception to a phone call placed last week by Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson.

Johnson supposedly called former Pro Bowl cornerback Deion Sanders and begged him to come back to the NFL because nobody could cover him.

After the Ravens' 31-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, Johnson had to run a reverse and acknowledge he can indeed be covered, and McAlister added another top-notch receiver to his shutdown list.

"The bottom line is, he called Deion and told Deion to come out of retirement," McAlister said. "I just want to apologize for that to Deion Sanders personally, because he insulted all the defensive backs in the National Football League.

"We can still handle Chad Johnson, and that's the bottom line."

After a two-catch, 15-yard performance, Johnson, who nicknamed himself "7-Eleven" because he says he is open all the time, agreed.

"They shut me down today," said Johnson, whose first catch came in the fourth quarter. "There's nothing I can say. 7-Eleven got robbed."

While McAlister primarily lined up against Johnson, he had his share of help, especially from extra back Chad Williams in third-down situations. The Ravens often rolled coverage Johnson's way, allowing receiver Peter Warrick to haul in 11 catches, the highest total against the Ravens this season.

Still, Warrick averaged just 8.2 yards a catch.

"It's a group effort," McAlister said. "They may assign me, but the bottom line is everybody is responsible for that - the safeties, the linebackers, the defensive linemen. Everybody is where they are supposed to be, and that is what allows us to go out and shut down people on the back end.

"The top guys have been disappearing a lot this season."

That list would include Terrell Owens, Torry Holt, Rod Smith and Jimmy Smith, all of whom lined up against McAlister.

"Modestly put, I think that's what a shutdown cornerback does," McAlister said.

Thomas keeps hope

Ravens linebacker Adalius Thomas fractured a bone in his elbow area after a collision with Ray Lewis on a sack late in the first half and is likely lost for the rest of the regular season.

The injury happened after Thomas hit Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna, causing a fumble that Thomas and Lewis attempted to recover.

"I'll find out tomorrow to finalize it," Thomas said. "I refuse to go on injured reserve. I don't want to go on IR, because if we go to the Super Bowl, I want to be back."

T. Taylor's second chance

Ravens wide receiver Travis Taylor didn't wait long to get redemption.

Taylor dropped a long pass from quarterback Anthony Wright that would have given the Ravens the ball inside the Bengals' 10-yard line early in the second quarter, but Wright went right back to Taylor two series later.

This time, Taylor caught a 64-yard pass and nearly scored before he was taken down from behind by safety Mark Roman. The reception gave the Ravens the ball at the Cincinnati 11 and set up Matt Stover's 22-yard field goal that gave the Ravens a 17-10 lead at halftime.

"You can't live on what happened in the past," said Taylor, who caught two balls for 77 yards. "You've just got to move on to the next play and make a difference. [Wright] came back to me and gave me a chance and I tried to make the best of it."

Robinson isn't fading

Former college teammates at South Carolina, Wright and wide receiver Marcus Robinson continued to show they have good chemistry.

Wright hit Robinson four times for 44 yards and a touchdown yesterday. Wright continues to look Robinson's way inside the 20, where Robinson has been dangerous, especially when running fade routes.

Running the fade, Robinson drew a pass-interference call on Tory James that set up Jamal Lewis' 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

His 8-yard touchdown catch early in the second quarter, when he beat cornerback Jeff Burris, was on a similar route.

In the past, that type of play usually was called for tight end Todd Heap. However, Robinson, 6 feet 3, 215 pounds, has shown the ability to go up and get the ball, too. He has six touchdown catches in the past three games.

"Like I said a thousand times, Anthony's given us all the opportunity to make plays outside," Robinson said. "Anthony has confidence in certain players doing certain things. He threw Todd a couple of jump balls, too. He's giving everybody the opportunity to make plays."

Leaving it on the field

Ravens cornerback Corey Fuller was in the Cincinnati locker room after the game visiting Warrick, a former teammate at Florida State, and Johnson, a Miami native and friend. .

"We're like this," said Johnson, squeezing his two fists together as a means of indicating his bond with Warrick and Fuller.

Said Fuller: "The football game was rough, but ... when we leave the football game, all that stuff's over with. They're just like family. And that runs deeper. We've got people at war outside of the country; we can't take this stuff off of the field."

No happy returns

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