Ravens' pressure cooker gives Palmer heated lesson

QB's four turnovers offset first 300-yard passing day

Ravens Gameday

September 27, 2004|By Mark Curnutte | Mark Curnutte,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CINCINNATI -- The Ravens' defense gave Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer an education yesterday.

Palmer, making just his third NFL start, learned the hard lessons of Pressure Defense 101.

In their 23-9 victory, the Ravens sacked Palmer four times, hurried him several other times and intercepted him three times. One of the sacks resulted in a fumble, which linebacker Ray Lewis recovered. Three of the four turnovers came after the Bengals had driven into Ravens territory.

Palmer also threw for 316 yards -- his first 300-yard passing game in the NFL -- but he threw 52 times, tying for the fifth most single-game attempts in franchise history.

"They bring a lot of pressure," Palmer said. "It was a tough, physical game."

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had two sacks, was asked what he thought of Palmer. "I liked him. Couldn't you tell?" Suggs said.

Palmer has thrown five interceptions and been sacked 10 times in three games.

The No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft looked for a positive out of the negative.

"This film will be great for me," he said. "Any time you play a game like that and review your performance, it is a great opportunity to learn."

The Bengals are 1-2. They defeated Miami in Week 2 without scoring an offensive touchdown. They have gone two games and eight consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown under Palmer, prompting some fans to make a call for backup Jon Kitna on post-game radio shows in Cincinnati.

Safety Ed Reed intercepted Palmer twice. All three of the interceptions came on passes intended for Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson.

"I made one mistake because I got too greedy," Palmer said. "That's one of the things I really have to fight as a young quarterback. You really have to fight temptation."

Pressuring Palmer was the Ravens' defensive game plan.

"Nothing we haven't done before," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He's a fine player, but we've got some good players over there."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis made the decision shortly after last season to promote Palmer over Kitna, even though Kitna had 26 touchdown passes in 2003 and led the Bengals to an 8-8 record.

"He made some fine throws today, but you can't throw the ball into the middle of the field and try to make something out of nothing," Lewis said. "That was not his best football game. Carson Palmer is a much better football player than he showed today."

NOTES: Bengals receiver Peter Warrick played briefly in the first quarter before leaving the game. He is struggling with a seriously bruised shin. He did not catch a pass for the first time in an NFL game, breaking his streak of 64 consecutive games with at least one reception. ... The Ravens rushed for 254 yards, the fourth time in the past seven games the Bengals have allowed 200-plus rushing yards. ... In three games this season, the Bengals have allowed an average of 166 rushing yards. ... The crowd of 65,575 was the second largest in Bengals history, second only to the 65,705 that jammed Paul Brown Stadium for the Sunday night game against Miami last week.

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