Ravens receivers have tough day vs. Bengals

No receiver finishes with more than 35 yards receiving

  • T.J. Houshmandzadeh can't come up with the touchdown catch as Bengals cornerback Morgan Trent defends.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh can't come up with the touchdown… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
September 19, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

CINCINNATI — If there is a boogeyman, the Ravens receivers might dream that there are several of them wearing black and orange stripes.

No wide receiver or tight end finished with more than 35 yards, and their inability to find space contributed to the team's 15-10 setback to the AFC North reigning champion Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium here Sunday afternoon.

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Todd Heap each finished with 35 receiving yards, but wide receiver Derrick Mason caught just one pass — albeit the offense's only touchdown of the contest — and T.J. Houshmandzadeh was shut out in his return to the franchise that drafted him in 2001.

It was quite a difference from the team's season-opening 10-9 win against the New York Jets when Boldin compiled 110 yards on seven catches and Heap had 72 yards.

Much of the credit belongs to Bengals cornerbacks Leon Hall, Johnathan Joseph and Adam Jones, who blanketed the field.

"I thought they played how they typically played," said Houshmandzadeh, who was targeted six times by quarterback Joe Flacco. "They're good corners. I think more plays should have been made on our part, especially myself. But I don't think they paid us any extra attention because of what happened last week. I think they played how they would have normally played, had we not done anything last week."

Cincinnati continues to befuddle the Ravens with its cover-2 scheme, which provides the cornerbacks with over-the-top support from its safeties.

But Boldin said the players and coaches anticipated the Bengals defensive alignment.

"They played a lot of cover-2, but they didn't do anything that we didn't practice or expect coming into the game," he said. "They rolled coverages and did things like that. But that's expected."

In the last three meetings between these divisional rivals, no Ravens wideout or tight end has gained more than 41 yards due in large part to Cincinnati's cover-2 scheme, which provides the cornerbacks with over-the-top support from its safeties.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Bengals have won all three of those games.

"They're a good team with a good defense," said Flacco, who completed just 43.6 percent of his passes for 154 yards and tossed four interceptions. "They've shown that they play good defense over the last few years. We tried to come in here and play a physical game with them. I think we did a pretty good job, but not good enough."

Houshmandzadeh returns to Cincinnati

Houshmandzadeh's return to the city where he began his NFL career in 2001 became official after Flacco overthrew him on a deep post route.

It was difficult to determine whether the crowd at Paul Brown Stadium was booing or yelling, "Housh!" Houshmandzadeh preferred to assume the latter.

"I don't think I got booed," he said with a smile. "I think they were saying my name. At least, that's what I tell myself. So if they were [booing], I didn't take it like they were."

Webb plays

Lardarius Webb shook the rust off Sunday.

The cornerback, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Dec. 20 and was deactivated prior to the season opener against the New York Jets Monday night, played a significant number of snaps in the defense's nickel packages against the Bengals.

"It was good to be back out with my teammates," Webb said. "It felt well. It was a good game to come back. I made it through the whole game, but it was great to be out there with my teammates."

Gooden to get more tests

Tavares Gooden's injured left shoulder was the Ravens' most immediate concern after the game.

The linebacker said he landed on his shoulder "funny" while trying to make a tackle on a Bengals punt return with 3:27 left in the second quarter. Gooden is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam on the shoulder Monday.

"I'll know more about it tomorrow," he said. "… Right now, I don't know what it is. I'm just praying. That's all I can do."

Running back Ray Rice injured his ankle in the fourth quarter, but returned later in the game.

End zone

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