Receiving trio shares rally spotlight

Mason, Clayton, Williams combine for 19 catches in win

Ravens 27 Titans 26

Ravens Gameday

November 13, 2006|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- On a day when the spotlight centered on quarterback Steve McNair's return to Tennessee, the Ravens' wide receivers put on a show of their own.

The trio of Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams combined for 19 catches for 264 yards and two touchdowns, which helped the Ravens to a 27-26 comeback victory over the Titans yesterday at LP Field.

The 264 yards were the most surrendered to three wide receivers on an opposing offense by the Tennessee defense this season.

"When the opportunities are there, we have the guys to take advantage of them and make plays," Clayton said. "That's one thing that we hold to and when we're talking about coming out and making plays and being efficient, we do have the guys to go out and make plays and win matchups."

Clayton set the pace with seven catches for a career-best 125 yards and a 65-yard touchdown reception on the Ravens' third offensive play of the game, which gave the team a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

Mason posted a season-high eight catches for 64 yards and delivered the game-winning score (his first touchdown of the season) when he caught an 11-yard strike from McNair in the back of the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

And Williams, a rookie, recorded bests in receptions (four) and yards (75), and three of his catches gained first downs.

It was the kind of performance the Ravens' coaching staff had envisioned since adding Williams, a fourth-round pick in last April's draft, to the starting duo of Mason and Clayton.

Mason, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has been perhaps McNair's most reliable option across the middle. Clayton has been tabbed with big-play potential since the team used the 22nd overall pick on him in 2005.

And Williams has impressed the coaches enough to vault over veterans Clarence Moore and Devard Darling to No. 3 on the depth chart.

Yesterday, that trio seemed to find plenty of holes and lanes in a Tennessee secondary that, though blessed with talent, boasts just one cornerback with at least three years of NFL experience among its top four.

Mason said the Ravens wide receivers' success stemmed from the individual matchups.

"We felt that our three wide receivers were better than their three defensive backs," Mason said. "If we get enough time up front, we'll be able to do some things well, and we were able to. We ran everything in the book, and for all intents and purposes, we were open."

Williams said another factor was a collective realization that if the team had any hope for a rally from a 19-point deficit in the second quarter, the passing attack would have to be in sync.

"We felt like we had to take it upon ourselves," Williams said of the wide receivers. "We're as accountable as everybody else. So we felt like we had to pick it up. We just went out there and tried to make plays. Wherever we could and wherever the ball was thrown, if we were close, we tried to make the catch."

If the Ravens expect to enjoy continued success, yesterday's display can't be a one-game showing. For his part, Mason cautioned against being satisfied with yesterday's output.

"At any given time, we can go out there and play football," he said. "This receiving corps is only going to get stronger as the year goes on."

Great comeback

The Ravens staged the biggest rally in team history yesterday to defeat the Titans.

Deficit ............. Opponent .......................... Date .................. Final

19 (26-7) ............. at Ten. ...................... 11/12/06 ................ 27-26

17 (41-24) .......... vs. Sea. .........................11/23/03 .............. 44-41 OT

16 (23-7) ............. vs. Jac. ........................ 9/10/00 ................. 39-36

14 Happened 4 times

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