Hit and miss for Stover

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Veteran kicker sets PAT record after early field-goal attempt was blocked

November 17, 2008|By Jamison Hensley, David Steele and Rick Maese | Jamison Hensley, David Steele and Rick Maese,Sun staff reporters

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Matt Stover set the NFL record for most consecutive point-after touchdowns, but that's not what will be remembered from yesterday's 30-10 loss to the New York Giants.

His 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive tackle Fred Robbins, ricocheting off the low part of his arm. The ball was recovered at the Ravens' 33-yard line, which set up the Giants' second touchdown that extended their lead to 13-0.

The wind at Giants Stadium - which was listed at 17 miles per hour at kickoff - played a part in the blocked kick.

"I know I hit the ball a little low because of the wind," he said. "You couldn't fluff it up there today going that direction."

Stover, who has been the third-most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history, has missed five times on 18 field-goal attempts this season. The blocked kick ended his streak of 37 straight field goals inside 40 yards.

"What I have to do is not worry about what's in the past but think about the Philadelphia Eagles," said Stover, referring to the Ravens' next opponent. "I've had seasons where I've had more misses than five. I don't desire to miss a field goal. I like to be perfect. If and when you do miss one, you have to look quickly to the next kick to give yourself the best opportunity to perform."

Later in the game, Stover passed Jason Elam and Jason Wilkins with his 372nd straight PAT. The record-setting kick sailed wide right after splitting the uprights because of the wind.

Mental errors

The Ravens had double-digit penalties for the first time since their 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The problem yesterday came before the ball was snapped. Of the Ravens' 10 penalties, four were offside on the defense and two were false starts by the offense.

"I don't think the penalties were a factor in the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It was just playing a really good football team that played better than us."

Mason plays

The Ravens were still within striking distance in the waning minutes of the third quarter, when on second-and-5 from their own 47-yard line, Joe Flacco's pass bounced off receiver Derrick Mason and landed in the hands of Aaron Ross. The cornerback returned it 50 yards for a touchdown, giving the Giants a 27-10 lead and effectively putting the game out of reach.

Though Mason was nursing a sore shoulder and didn't practice all last week, he made no excuses for missing the pass.

"I've made hundreds of those catches," Mason said. "A situation like that where I have the opportunity to draw the game to three points, I have to make it, somehow, some way. If you want to be great in this game, you have to make those catches all the time. There's no excuse for not making it that one time."

Mason gingerly left the field but later returned in the fourth quarter. He finished with a game-high 82 yards on seven receptions.

His status was a game-time decision. In addition to the shoulder injury, team officials said he also battled stomach sickness Saturday night.

McGahee hobbled

A week after rushing for a season-best 112 yards in Houston, Willis McGahee managed just 18 on nine carries yesterday. He also limped off the field with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, after a one-yard carry, and did not return. Afterward, a Ravens spokesman said McGahee had "tweaked" his right ankle (the same one that kept him out two weeks ago in Cleveland), but was not kept out of the game for that reason.

"He was ready to go," said Ray Rice, who along with Le'Ron McClain split duties the rest of the game. "We just got into the two-minute mode after that. You know how it is with us, ready for any situation."

Combined, the three gained just 47 yards on 19 carries; last week, they gained 148 on 36 carries.

Rolle's rough day

In his second game back after neck surgery, cornerback Samari Rolle took a lot of punishment, from the Giants' backs, from the officials and from the replay system. Rolle and the rest of the secondary was often caught up in the stampede of the New York running game, which spread the Ravens' defense out and went after it on the perimeters.

Rolle also was called for a pass-interference in the end zone against Plaxico Burress late in the second quarter, a call that moved the Giants from the Ravens' 7 to the 1. The Giants scored a touchdown three plays later to move ahead 20-0.

Then, in the third quarter, with the Ravens down 20-10, Rolle appeared to have intercepted an Eli Manning pass at his own 40, scooping a low ball off Steve Smith's hands. The Giants challenged, and after reviewing it, referee Ron Winter ruled that the ball had hit the ground after Rolle got his hands on it and was incomplete. The Giants got to punt instead of turning it over, and on the ensuing Ravens possession, Ross ran his interception back for a touchdown.

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