Porter takes his share of hits

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Ravens 30, Steelers 13

September 20, 2004|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN STAFF

Almost everybody on the Ravens seemed upset by Joey Porter's questionable knockdown of a hurting Todd Heap during the team's 30-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday.

Coach Brian Billick measured his words carefully, acknowledging that he was trying to avoid a $15,000 fine for criticizing the officials (there was no penalty on the play).

Ray Lewis did not want to talk about Porter at all, then added he would pray for him. And Chris McAlister used profanity during his news conference to describe what kind of person he thinks Porter is.

Porter, though, cannot understand the big deal.

"It looked like he was hobbling," Porter said of Heap. "But at the same time, I don't know if he was fake-hobbling."

The way Porter sees it, pushing Heap down as the Ravens were in the midst of an obvious spike of the ball kept Heap from possibly making a fool out of him.

Heap was injured the previous play when Steelers linebacker James Farrior fell into the back of his right ankle as the Ravens were in their two-minute offense in the second quarter. Heap was taken to the locker room and had X-rays on the ankle, which came back negative.

He is expected to be listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Cincinnati, though he could miss up to two weeks. Indeed, Heap was really hurt and not trying to dupe Porter.

"I've seen a lot of things happen," Porter said. "I've seen guys act like they're hurt and run a play. I didn't hit him. I pushed him, and he rolled over and made it seem like I hit him."

The move did not sit well with the Ravens. Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden came to Heap's defense by telling Porter how unnecessary he felt that was. Ogden said he then tried to get retribution for Heap when he had a clear shot at Porter later in the game, but missed.

Other Ravens took verbal shots at Porter in the locker room.

"Porter is an [expletive]," McAlister said. "That's the bottom line. There's no reason for anyone to take a cheap shot like that."

Said Lewis: "It just shows what type of character that guy has."

Porter considers the Ravens' reaction grandstanding more than anything else.

"It was just a thing to get the crowd into it and to make me out to be the bad guy," Porter said. "I'm fine with that."

McCALISTER STEPS UP

Chris McAlister's interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter was the third of his career and should help his cause for a second straight Pro Bowl berth.

McAlister dropped back in his zone on a third-and-10 from the Steelers' 34, then broke perfectly on Ben Roethlisberger's under- thrown pass at the Ravens' 49. McAlister weaved his way down the sideline and eluded Roethlisberger's tackle attempt inside the 5-yard line before diving into the end zone.

The play helped make up for a 15-yard personal foul against McAlister for grabbing the face mask of receiver Hines Ward. McAlister and Ward have a history of unsportsmanlike play directed toward each other.

"Hines is an [expletive], too," McAlister said. "That pretty much sums it up. The rest of them are pretty good with me."

Said Ward: "He tried to flip me over by grabbing my face mask. He's the one that got the foul for it. I was just doing my job blocking. I guess he didn't like how I was blocking."

END ZONE

Corey Fuller, Roderick Green, Mike Flynn, Ethan Brooks, Devard Darling, Travis Taylor, Dwan Edwards and Kelly Gregg were the Ravens' inactive players. ... The crowd of 69,859 was the second-largest in stadium history. ... Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin (hamstring), fullback Harrow Morrow (hamstring) and linebacker Adalius Thomas (knee) suffered minor injuries. Thomas was able to return.

YELLOW FLAGS FLY

There were six 15-yard penalties called on the Ravens, who were hit with 10 total penalties for 123 yards, which is four penalties and 23 yards off their team record.

Deion Sanders' 15-yard penalty may have been the most understandable. He said the skullcap he wears under his helmet had slid down over his eyes as he was returning his only punt in the second quarter. Sanders, who gained 23 yards on the return, removed his helmet immediately after he was tackled.

"I couldn't even see," Sanders said. "I was just trying to decipher between the color of jerseys. I've never taken off a helmet in my whole career. I apologize to my fans as well as my teammates, but that was really the reason why I took off my helmet. I couldn't even see the last 10 yards running the punt back."

As for the other penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct on Ed Reed for ripping off his helmet, coach Brian Billick was unhappy.

"We have a big challenge to find some personal discipline," he said, "because we've done some dumb things."

DISCIPLINE PROBLEMS

Brian Billick lectured his team after the game for its lack of discipline, but that may need to extend to the coaches, too.

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