Ravens defense reins in Colts

Still, three forced turnovers aren't enough to break Indianapolis' winning streak

November 23, 2009|By Edward Lee | edward.lee@baltsun.com

The defense did its job.

Facing the NFL's most prolific passing attack, the Ravens limited the Indianapolis Colts to two touchdowns and a field goal in a two-point loss Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The defense also forced three Indianapolis turnovers, the most the Colts have coughed up this season.

"We just tried to make everything look the same for Peyton [Manning], just try to keep him off balance and keep him from getting a read on me and Ed [Reed] and force him into bad decisions," said strong safety Dawan Landry, who had one of Manning's two interceptions. "We were able to get a couple of picks today and get a fumble. Just made a couple of plays today."

Two of the three takeaways led to points. Landry's interception of a pass to tight end Dallas Clark,tipped by cornerback Fabian Washington,led to Billy Cundiff'ssecond field goal of the game.

Free safety Reed's interception of a pass intended for wide receiver Reggie Wayne led to Cundiff's third field goal. Linebacker Ray Lewis' hit on tight end Tom Santi forced a fumble near the goal line that defensive end Dwan Edwards recovered. On this drive, Cundiff shanked a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.

"That was huge," Edwards said of the turnovers. "We needed to get [Manning] off the field as much as we can and stop some of the drives. We were fortunate enough to get some turnovers. Unfortunately, we came up a little short today."

The task ahead does not get easier, as the reigning Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers visit this Sunday night. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said the unit will try to build off Sunday's performance.

"Defensively, we've got to use this as motivation, that we did well against one of the great offenses, and move on and keep that momentum up and use it throughout the week and play good against Pittsburgh," Ngata said.

Washington sprains knee
Washington will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging on his left knee, sprained in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss.

Washington appeared to land on his leg awkwardly after lowering his shoulder to force Colts running back Joseph Addai out of bounds. Washington, who was carried off the field, declined to say whether the injury is season-ending.

"They're just saying knee sprain," said Washington, who was on crutches. "I hope so, I definitely hope so. I hope that's not my last play of the season."

In other injury-related news, linebacker-defensive end Terrell Suggs rebutted an ESPN report that the sprained ligament in his right knee - caused by Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn'sillegal chop block seven days ago - would sideline him for a month.

"Don't believe everything you read," Suggs said with a smile.

Kicking star
New Ravens kicker Cundiff made a strong first impression, tying Matt Stover's team record of five field goals in a game. But Cundiff, who was signed after the Ravens released Steve Hauschka, sliced a 30-yard attempt wide right in the third quarter, which would have put the Ravens ahead.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the miss was the result of a high snap and Cundiff's rushing the kick.

"Obviously, I will store my miss in my memory banks," said Cundiff, who made all six field goals when he was with the Browns earlier this season. "I should have slowed down a little bit to make sure the operation was solid, and just put the ball in middle."

Ngata returns
Ngata's return produced mixed results.

The defensive tackle, who had missed the past two games with a sprained right ankle and was limited in practice last week, helped the defense control the line of scrimmage and limit the Colts to 76 rushing yards. But he was also flagged for unnecessary roughness when he landed on wide receiver Pierre Garcon after he had been tackled for a 7-yard loss on a reverse.

"I didn't know if he was down," said Ngata, whose penalty led to the Colts' game-winning field goal. "I know he got tripped up, and I just wanted to make sure he was down. I thought I was kind of airborne before he was down. But it is what it is."

Coming of age
Young offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Michael Oher did not surrender a sack to the Colts' veteran pass-rushing duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

It's the first time this season the defensive ends have been shut out.

"That's pretty good," Gaither said when informed of the feat. "Of course, we would love to win the game, but we'll take the positive things that we did in the game. We'll study them on film and go to work the next week."

"We needed all the help we could get against some great players," Oher added. "I owe all the credit to the offensive line and the backs and the offensive coordinator for coming up with the scheme."

Rolle undecided
Samari Rolle said he hasn't made a decision about his future in football.

The cornerback has undergone fusion surgery on his neck twice in less than a year, but he said he doesn't know whether he will retire.

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