Special teams isn't so special

Unit has surrendered kick and punt returns for touchdown in same season for first time since 2002

October 31, 2011|By Edward Lee

The Ravens’ stirring 30-27 comeback over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday masked a few deficiencies.

One of those is the play of the special teams, which surrendered an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown by Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson in the second quarter.

Add the 107-yard kick return for a touchdown by the New York Jets’ Joe McKnight on Oct. 2, and it’s the first time the Ravens have surrendered touchdowns on kick and punt returns in the same season since 2002.

“It’s disappointing,” said linebacker Albert McClellan, who leads the team in special-teams stops with seven this year. “You never want to let anybody get one on you. You always want to be stingy. Somebody’s going to have his day. Somebody’s going to get lucky and find a seam. We’ve just got to play our technique and stay fundamentally sound and do what we’ve got to do.”

On Peterson’s return, McClellan said several players didn’t stay in their lanes, which opened a hole for Peterson to run through. He also broke five arm tackles en route to crossing the goal line.

That will likely earn the ire of special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg during team meetings this week.

“He absolutely should,” free safety Haruki Nakamura said. “Our responsibility is to put out the fire, not start a fire. We take full blame for it, and next week, we’re going to come out and make a better play.”

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