For Cutler, Another Difficult Day

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Webb May Be Out For Year With A Torn Knee Ligament

December 21, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler entered the weekend having thrown the most interceptions this season in the NFL, and the Ravens defense helped him stay there by picking him off three times in the 31-7 rout Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

"He's a guy who we needed to [pressure] because if you don't, he can kill you," said outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who intercepted Cutler once. "But he's such an aggressive guy and such a risk-taker that if you get after him, he's going to force plays."

The defense's joy, however, was tempered by news that rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb could miss the rest of the season. Webb landed awkwardly on his right knee while attempting a block during a punt return and suffered what the team called a likely anterior cruciate ligament tear.

Webb, who has started the past four games in place of Fabian Washington (torn anterior cruciate ligament), will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging today. He was on crutches after the game.

"Right now, I'm not optimistic," coach John Harbaugh said.

The Ravens harassed Cutler into completing just 37 percent of his throws (10 of 27) for 94 yards and a 7.9 passer rating, and sacked him twice. The completion percentage, yards and rating were his season lows.

Cutler was intercepted twice by cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who, before Sunday, had just one interception - in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns.

Foxworth credited the pass rush with playing a role in the interceptions.

The Ravens got their fourth interception of the day when Frank Walker picked off backup Caleb Hanie in the fourth quarter.

"Credit [defensive coordinator] Greg Mattison and the defensive coaches," Harbaugh said. "We had certain coverages out there that seemed to give [the Bears] problems. And our guys played really well."

Streak broken

The Ravens' streak of 21 straight games without surrendering a touchdown via a kick or punt return ended in the second quarter when the Bears' Earl Bennett returned a punt by Sam Koch 49 yards for a TD. (It was the first against the Ravens since the Cleveland Browns' Dennis Northcutt took a punt 62 yards for a TD on Jan. 6, 2006.)

Bennett, who was filling in for the injured Devin Hester, who ranks fourth in NFL history in combined career kick and punt return scores, had fielded just seven punts this season entering Sunday's game.

"We just didn't cover good enough," said Edgar Jones, who whiffed on a chance to stop Bennett before he dived into the end zone. "He's a good returner, and our hats are off to him. But I think we could have done a better job covering the kick, and I take full responsibility."

Billy Cundiff missed his third field-goal attempt since joining the Ravens on Nov. 18 when a high snap by Matt Katula in the second quarter forced holder Koch to reach high for the football, disrupting the timing, and Cundiff's 30-yarder sailed wide right.

Katula dismissed the notion that an earlier elbow injury played a role in the high snap. "I hate when something I do affects somebody else, because I should just be unseen and unnoticed, and that's on me. That's not on Billy. That's unacceptable."

Long injury list

The Ravens won despite having to play without four starters and two of their top three wide receivers. Free safety Ed Reed (strained hip/foot), wide receiver Mark Clayton (right hamstring), left tackle Jared Gaither (lower back stiffness/foot) and linebacker Tavares Gooden (groin) were deactivated before the game.

The offense did not have wide receiver Kelley Washington (ankle). Demetrius Williams started opposite Derrick Mason, and Justin Harper was the No. 3 receiver.

Tom Zbikowski made his third straight start in Reed's place, rookie Dannell Ellerbe filled in for Gooden, rookie Michael Oher shifted from right to left tackle and Oniel Cousins got his second straight start at right tackle.

The Ravens also scratched offensive lineman David Hale and rookie safety K.J. Gerard, and made John Beck the third (emergency) quarterback.

End zone

Mason's first catch of the day was the 850th of his career. Mason, who finished with six catches for 87 yards and one touchdown, has 855 receptions, passing Irving Fryar (851) for 15th on the NFL career receptions list. ... Flacco's four touchdown passes were a career high for one game. His previous high was three in a 38-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 13.

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.