Wright reaches back, moves forward

With echoes of successful 2003, quarterback connects with his offense early and often

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 16, Browns 3

October 17, 2005|By BRENT JONES | BRENT JONES,SUN REPORTER

Coming off one of the toughest weeks of his career, with questions about his future as the Ravens' quarterback surrounding him, Anthony Wright delivered a performance reminiscent of his past.

Yesterday against the Cleveland Browns, Wright looked more like the quarterback who led the Ravens to a 5-2 record in 2003 than the one who seemed to be losing his grip on the position with every mounting turnover this year.

In leading his team to a 16-3 win, Wright completed eight passes of 10 yards or more and completed 74 percent of his throws. His only major mistake, an interception that stopped a drive at the Browns' 13 in the second quarter, was not converted into points.

"The season is still early," Wright said. "People are writing us off for a loss here and a loss there. That's silly to us. We just have to keep fighting."

That could be Wright's personal mantra as well. He seemed to be tiring of questions about his play last week, and for the first time grew weary of the topic.

There was more of an attitude from Wright, though he insists he pays no mind to outside opinions. Heading into the game, Wright had thrown for four touchdowns and six interceptions in three starts.

Worse than that, Wright never seemed to find a rhythm within the offense.

"Of course, you get tired of a lot of stuff," Wright said. "I was just trying to do my job. It's tough when people have their opinions about things that don't really know what is going on."

What happened against the Browns might have vaulted Wright back in the running to be the quarterback even when Kyle Boller is healthy.

The Ravens scored on four of their first six possessions, beginning with a 3-yard touchdown throw to Todd Heap after a Browns turnover to go up 7-0 six minutes into the game.

"We'd been looking for that all season," Wright said. "We finally got it today. We were able to capitalize on it and get ahead."

Wright played more comfortably with the lead, completing deep-out and corner routes to Derrick Mason and Heap for 23 and 17 yards, respectively, on successive drives in the second quarter.

Those were the types of strong-arm throws into zone coverage that had been missing the previous three games, though Wright said they had been there.

"We'd been doing that the whole time," Wright said. "But today we won. We'd been doing that last week and the week before. It's just one of those things where when you win games, people notice those things."

The Browns played primarily zone coverage, leaving Wright, who was sacked just once, more time to throw. Jamal Lewis and Chester Taylor added 151 yards in the running game.

All the pieces, for at least one half, worked together.

"You give [Wright] time, I think if you give any quarterback time, they can make plays," Lewis said. "I think that's what we have to do. We got that offensive line cranked up with the run and got them pumped up. I think that is what you owe to them coming out pass blocking and getting it done."

Said Browns linebacker Andra Davis: "He made some nice throws, but I don't think that's the reason we lost."

Chances are, Wright will never read about that comment from Davis if he lives the lifestyle he says he does, one that frees him from outside distractions.

"I just don't turn on the radio, read the newspapers, watch ESPN; just stay away from it," Wright said. "It's poison. Why poison yourself? I don't listen to it. I'm not going to let it poison my spirit."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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