Solid day for Ravens' Heap marred by helmet hit

Tight end caught touchdown pass, later took vicious hit from Patriots' Meriweather

  • Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather hits Ravens tight end Todd Heap.
Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather hits Ravens tight end… (AP photo )
October 18, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — — The play was cringe-worthy material, but Ravens tight end Todd Heap said he would reserve judgment on whether the helmet-to-helmet blow delivered by New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was a cheap shot.

"I really don't have a lot of thoughts about it right now," Heap said after the team's 23-20 overtime loss Sunday at Gillette Stadium. "I haven't seen it yet. I really didn't see him coming or see what happened. So I'll probably have more or better thoughts about it after I see it."

On second-and-7 from the Ravens' 23-yard line in the second quarter, Heap couldn't hang on to a pass over the middle from quarterback Joe Flacco. But that was when Meriweather's helmet crashed into Heap's. The result was a 15-yard penalty on Meriweather and a few minutes on the sideline with what was described as a shoulder sprain for Heap.

"I was hurting for a little bit, but I felt good enough to come back in," he said. "Took a little time to figure out that everything was fine, and then came back in."

It was the second time Heap and Meriweather had collided in the first half. The first occurred after Heap had caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Ravens a 10-7 lead with 11:47 left in the second quarter.

On that play, the 6-foot-5, 247-pound Heap lined up wide right of the offensive formation and found himself matched up with 5-11, 212-pound safety Patrick Chung.

"I like to see those matchups," said Heap, who finished with three catches for 49 yards. "I felt like we had a good shot when he came out there on me. I'm glad Joe was able to put the ball in the right spot, and we were able to get in there. Overall, those are plays that I feel like we need more of as a team. We need to make more clutch plays when we need them. That was early on in the game, and we need to come back and make more of those to put the game away."

L. McClain loses his cool

Le'Ron McClain picked a bad time to let his emotions get the best of him.

On the team's final possession in overtime, McClain was flagged for shoving outside linebacker Jermaine Cunningham after the play. McClain said he was responding to a Cunningham taunt. So instead of second-and-9 from their own 20, the Ravens were forced into third-and-19 from the 10.

"It's crazy," said McClain, who later was the recipient of several Twitter comments blaming him for the team's loss. "But I'm not going to put the whole game on that one play. We should've had this game won. It's a shame it went into overtime. But stuff happens. We'll try to bounce back against the Buffalo Bills. That's the best thing about it. We get to play again next Sunday."

Coach John Harbaugh said McClain has to do a better job reining in his emotions.

"The thing you've got to understand is, retaliation always gets caught. Retaliation gets called, and they drew the penalty, and he's got to understand that."

Where's Willis?

For the first time since Nov. 30, 2008, running back Willis McGahee was active, but did not participate in a game.

McGahee did not even step onto the field against the Patriots, and tailback Ray Rice and McClain combined for 31 carries for 95 yards. After the game, Harbaugh said McGahee's absence was unintentional.

"It wasn't part of the plan or anything like that," Harbaugh said. "I am not sure as far as a rotation. This is a kind of game that Ray can excel in, with the type of plays we were running and the surface of the field. Ray was doing OK, too."

Say what?

After a play, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got into an animated verbal exchange. It got so heated that the players banged their face masks against each other.

Asked about the conversation, Suggs said, "He was trying to tell me how to [date] a Hollywood actress. He was like, 'Sizzle, if you want to get a Hollywood actress, take my seminar on Saturday.'"

When informed that the chat didn't seem that friendly, Suggs replied, "You have to read his lips. We were going over the Dow, the economy and politics. We really don't talk football out there."

Cundiff's gaffe

Billy Cundiff converted field goals of 25 and 26 yards and added four touchbacks to the league-leading 11 he has compiled this season.

But the kicker was disappointed about sending a kickoff out of bounds that New England converted into a touchdown to slash a 20-10 Ravens advantage early in the fourth quarter.

"The wind was going right to left, and if you expose the ball to that wind -- like I did -- then it gets thrown pretty quick," Cundiff said. "So I got a little aggressive on it. ... When you try to hit the ball as hard as you can and as deep as you can, sometimes that's going to happen. We got an unlucky bounce, and it went out of bounds, but if you watch a lot of film, there are guys in this league that get that bounce, and it goes into the end zone. Obviously, that was disappointing because they went down and scored. It's something that I try to make sure that I avoid."

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