Landry joins record group

Strong safety impresses teammates, tying Ravens' rookie record with fifth interception

Notebook

Gameday

December 25, 2006|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,Sun Reporter

PITTSBURGH -- Dawan Landry hasn't been awed by opposing offenses in the NFL. The same can't be said for the rookie's personal successes.

In his first season as a pro, the Ravens strong safety shares the team lead in touchdowns among defensive players and nearly put himself alone on top in interception returns for touchdowns in yesterday's 31-7 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The production isn't something Landry envisioned before the season began.

"I'd be lying if I said I did," said Landry, who is also tied for fifth in tackles with linebacker Terrell Suggs. "I just came in wanting to play hard and helping my team win. That's what's been happening, and success came with it."

Landry's interception of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter - aided by pressure from defensive end Trevor Pryce - was the fifth of the season for the fifth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, who overtook fourth-year veteran Gerome Sapp for the starting safety position beside Ed Reed.

Landry's bid for a second interception return for a touchdown, however, was negated after a replay review showed that he had stepped out of bounds at Pittsburgh's 1-yard line.

Landry's total helped him join an elite group of Ravens rookies who share the franchise record for most interceptions in a single season by a first-year player. Reed (2002), cornerback Chris McAlister (1999) and cornerback Duane Starks (1998) each made five interceptions in his rookie season.

Perhaps that's why Reed was so effusive in his assessment of Landry after the win.

"He's a rookie, but sooner or later, he's going to start getting that respect, the same respect that I have," said Reed, who intercepted Roethlisberger and pounced on a fumble by Willie Parker yesterday. "Like we always talk about, when me and him are making plays, it's going to be hard for people to throw the ball in the future."

McAlister, who is tied with Landry for the team lead in interceptions this season, said it was clear during preseason that Landry was no ordinary rookie.

"From the first week, you could see his maturity," McAlister said. "He picked up the defense extremely fast. Nobody expected him to come out and get five interceptions and play as solid as he has. He's definitely gone above and beyond anybody's expectations, but at this point, we just kind of expect it out of him."

The same could be said for Landry, who said the pace of the game has slowed and that he's becoming more adept at recognizing offensive schemes as they unfold.

"I just feel comfortable out there," he said. "I feel comfortable with these guys that I play with, and they have confidence in me. That's allowed me to play freely."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Terry gives Porter silent treatment

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter learned what the media that cover the Ravens have known for quite some time about Ravens offensive tackle Adam Terry: He doesn't talk.

Terry, who made his first career start in place of 10-time Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), said he tried to block out Porter's chatter and declined to get into a verbal exchange with the fiery linebacker.

"I played my game," Terry said. "For me to go in and try to talk, that's not me, and that's not how I play."

Terry performed decently in a pressure-filled game in a hostile environment. Although he was flagged twice for false starts, Terry did not surrender a sack to Porter and was part of a unit that kept quarterback Steve McNair upright most of the day.

"Everybody's got to step up at one point," Terry said. "This week was my week, and who knows about next week? I just keep working."

Terry drew the attention of Ravens coach Brian Billick, who called Terry's play, "Wonderful. That offensive line continues to put the young guys in there, and they step up to the challenge. That's developing some depth for us that's going to be needed."

Ravens stingy on third down

For the fourth time in six games, the defense prevented an opponent from converting more than 20 percent of its third-down opportunities.

Yesterday's 14.3 percent (two of 14) conversion rate by Pittsburgh continued to burnish the reputation of a Ravens defense that had been ranked first in the league entering yesterday's game.

The Atlanta Falcons converted just 18.2 percent (two of 11) of their third downs Nov. 19, the Steelers 8.3 percent (one of 12) on Nov. 26, and the Cleveland Browns 0 percent (none of 11) last week.

"[If] you get the job done on third down, you get off the field," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "You get to walk out of your office, and that's the whole point of us going out there. It's to get to third down as fast as possible, and if we don't get the third down, get the turnover in the process."

That Pittsburgh's two conversions were by penalty dimmed the mood of an offense that had ranked fifth in the NFL in third-down efficiency (44.3 percent) before yesterday.

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