Rush judgment proves correct

notebook

Ravens coaches' fears about Dallas' pass pressure are realized

December 21, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

IRVING, Texas - The concerns the Ravens coaching staff had about the Dallas Cowboys' pass rush were well founded.

The Cowboys, who have the most sacks in the NFL this season, recorded five in the first half of last night's game at Texas Stadium.

The total matched a season high for the Ravens surrendered in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers and was just two shy of tying a franchise high, which has been reached seven times. The Ravens held only a 9-7 lead at halftime, in part because of the offense's inability to wall off the Cowboys' pass rush, which had collected 53 sacks before last night's game.

Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware recorded his league-leading 20th sack when he sped past offensive tackle Adam Terry and stripped rookie quarterback Joe Flacco at the Ravens' 4-yard line. The fumble, which was recovered by outside linebacker Greg Ellis, led to the half's only touchdown, a 2-yard run by running back Tashard Choice.

Linebacker Bradie James, defensive end Marcus Spears and linebacker Kevin Burnett each collected a sack, and Ellis and nose tackle Jay Ratliff split a sack.

Dallas' showing seemed to validate Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's worries earlier in the week.

"He's good," Cameron said of Ware after practice Thursday. "I don't know how you really compare him because with Indianapolis and all the other teams that we've played, there are a lot of good ones. And he's not the only guy. They've got Ellis on the other side. Their pass rush is a collective effort, there's no doubt about it."

Injuries on offense

The Ravens lost two offensive starters in the first half when wide receiver Derrick Mason and offensive tackle Willie Anderson were taken to the locker room.

Mason appeared to reinjure his dislocated left shoulder after catching a 9-yard pass in the first quarter. The receiver, however, returned to the game and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.

Anderson was the victim of a blind-side collision when Cowboys strong safety Keith Davis crashed into his left ankle while trying to tackle fullback Le'Ron McClain after a 1-yard gain late in the first quarter.

X-rays on Anderson's ankle were negative, but he did not return. Terry replaced Anderson at right tackle, but he appeared to suffer an injury late in the second quarter.

Coming home

A pair of locals made a triumphant return to Texas Stadium.

Kicker Matt Stover, a Dallas native who sold programs in the stadium's parking lot as a young Cowboys fan, provided all of the Ravens' scoring in the first half as he converted field goals of 26, 29 and 37 yards.

Wide receiver Mark Clayton, who attended Sam Houston High in nearby Arlington, caught three passes for 24 yards in the first half, two of which went for first downs.

Rice sidelined

Ray Rice's bruise on his left shin kept him on the sideline as the Ravens deactivated the rookie running back for the second consecutive game. Rice has been limited in practice all week and was listed as questionable for last night's contest.

Jalen Parmele, who joined the Ravens less than two weeks ago, was active.

The Ravens also deactivated rookie kicker Steve Hauschka, which meant Stover handled kickoffs.

Also inactive were wide receivers Terrance Copper and Marcus Maxwell (hip), tight end Edgar Jones, rookie offensive tackle Oniel Cousins and rookie guard David Hale. Todd Bouman was the third quarterback.

End zone

Free safety Ed Reed recorded his team-leading sixth and seventh interceptions of the season, compiling back-to-back seasons of at least seven interceptions. When Reed makes an interception, the Ravens are 26-8. When he collects two picks, the team is 7-0. ... After linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis sacked Dallas' Tony Romo in the first quarter, Suggs paid a tribute to Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens by pantomiming "T" and "O" on the Dallas star at midfield. ... Ravens director of player development O.J. Brigance, who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, attended his second road game of the season.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.