Ravens fail to get offense going in finale

J. Lewis, Heap back, but 1st-team attack sputters again in 26-20 win over 'Skins

September 02, 2005|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Even the return of Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap failed to jump-start the Ravens' sputtering offense.

Long before rookie quarterback Derek Anderson led the Ravens to a 26-20 overtime victory over the Washington Redskins last night, their starters had closed the preseason much like they did all summer: mired in inconsistency.

The Ravens' first offense finished with four uneventful possessions, generating 30 yards, two dropped passes, one first down and no threats. Ready or not, the Indianapolis Colts and the regular season are next at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 11.

If there are any concerns about the offense's development, coach Brian Billick did not acknowledge them.

"We got done what we needed to get done," Billick said. "Jamal carried the ball very well. Todd got a couple of catches. I'm pleased that we got that done."

It was a fitting farewell to a forgettable preseason for the starting offense.

Half of the unit's 18 drives against a first-team defense resulted in punts. The others ended with five turnovers, two touchdowns, one field goal and one blocked field goal.

Asked if the offense is ready for the opener, quarterback Kyle Boller said, "We better be. Time has run out."

The Ravens' first two drives stalled when Lewis was stuffed twice on third-and-one situations.

In his first action of the preseason, Lewis was held to 15 yards on six carries. The Ravens running back showed few bursts because there was little room to run, but he did test his surgically repaired right ankle with some hard cuts.

"The ankle feels good," Lewis said. "It held up for me. I had a nice little test run on it and now it's time to get going."

The last two drives for the starting offense ended with third-down drops by receiver Clarence Moore.

His first one would have gotten the Ravens close to the red zone. His second would have been for about a 25-yard gain and moved the Ravens from deep inside their territory.

With rookie Mark Clayton's ability to run after the catch, he could soon be pressing Moore for his starting job.

Moore's shaky hands hurt quarterback Kyle Boller's chances of a solid finish.

He was 2-for-6 for 10 yards but made only one poor throw. Besides Moore's drops, the only other incompletions were an overthrown deep pass to Derrick Mason and a throw to the sideline to avoid a sack.

It also marked the first time this preseason that Boller did not turn the ball over.

"When you can do that, you win games," Boller said. "The one thing I've been trying to emphasize is limit the turnovers."

The one significant completion by Boller went to Heap. After missing all of training camp while coming back from ankle and shoulder surgeries, Heap returned to make a 6-yard grab on the first play of the second series.

"Once that adrenaline gets pumping, you forget about everything else," Heap said. "All the aches and pains go away."

To avoid any injuries, the Ravens held out offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden along with a chunk of their defense.

Linebacker Ray Lewis, cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle and nickel back Deion Sanders all did not play. Free safety Ed Reed lasted one series.

The defense did welcome back pass-rush specialist Peter Boulware. The franchise's all-time sacks leader got to quarterback Patrick Ramsey on the first play, although it was considered more of a coverage sack.

"To get out there on my first play and get the quarterback, I was awfully excited. ... I have a long way to go, but hopefully I'll be ready for the Colts," Boulware said.

After both starting offenses combined for no points and five punts in the first quarter, they traded field goals in the second.

The Redskins went back ahead 10-3 with 1:02 left before halftime, when quarterback Mark Brunell hit Jimmy Farris on a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Considering the slow start by both offenses, the game's wild finish came as a surprise.

Ravens rookie quarterback Derek Anderson, who had trouble just handling snaps earlier in the preseason, gave the Ravens their first lead of the game with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Randy Hymes late in the fourth quarter. A two-point conversion to Hymes put the Ravens ahead 20-17 with 1:46 left.

But Washington responded to tie the game at 20 on a 46-yard field goal by John Hall as regulation ended.

In the first drive of overtime, Anderson connected with Hymes again for a 66-yard touchdown to deliver the victory and even the Ravens' preseason record at 2-2.

"Obviously the win is great," Billick said. "I believe we came out relatively healthy. We got a good look at some guys that will help with our [roster] decisions."

Asked if the Ravens are ready for the opener against the Colts, Billick said, "I've still got a few more days. I'm going to use every one of them."

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Indianapolis Colts at Ravens in season opener

When: Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13, ESPN/1300 AM, 102.7 FM

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