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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Although a lot has been made of Brian Billick undergoing changes in his management style at owner Steve Bisciotti’s behest, the Baltimore Ravens’ coach hasnâ€™t lost his salty language or his zest for arguing with officials.
During the Ravens’ 26-20 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals, Billick was angry that the officials didnâ€™t bring out the chains for a measurement on a close 4th-and-1 situation. He wasnâ€™t shy about expressing his displeasure.
A few choice curse words from Billick were even broadcast on live television without the benefit of any bleeps for censorship.
â€œThatâ€™s going to cost me big-time,â€ said Billick, who has noted in the past having to insert money into a family swear jar. â€œSometimes, itâ€™s justified, right? God forbid you missed the chance to be offended by my language, so letâ€™s show it another 1,000 times during the week for all those millions who didnâ€™t get to see that.
â€œI apologize for my language. Itâ€™s a heated time. Itâ€™s a passionate game, and everything is about passion and conflict.â€
Meanwhile, Billick said heâ€™s still seeking a clarification from league officials on why there wasnâ€™t a measurement.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m being told at one level of officiating compared to the other level of officiating is two different things in terms of a critical situation,â€ he said. â€œIf itâ€™s anywhere close, weâ€™ve been told we will get a measurement.
â€œSo, Iâ€™ve got go find out why Iâ€™m being told one thing on one hand and it not showing up on the other. Someone has been misinformed.â€
There was at least one clear-cut officiating mistake where the Bengals received an extra down.
Cincinnati earned a first down at the Ravensâ€™ 48-yard line, then gained seven more on a Rudi Johnson run. After two subsequent incomplete passes to set up what should have been fourth down, the on-field down box read third down and the officials never noticed the mistake.
After another incompletion on a fifth down that shouldnâ€™t have transpired, the Bengals punted. That sequence only added to Billickâ€™s ire.
â€œIt got to the point where I donâ€™t think either one of us were listening to each other that well because of the nature of my language,â€ Billick said. â€œThat crew, in particular, does a nice job of just nodding their heads and I know theyâ€™re not hearing a word Iâ€™m saying. It was a long day.â€
TRAINING ROOM: Billick reiterated that middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed escaped relatively unscathed from their collision Sunday.
Lewis suffered a contusion to the spinal cord when Reedâ€™s knee banged into his back, and Reed bruised his leg.
Although both returned to play with Lewis missing a tackle on Rudi Johnsonâ€™s touchdown run, Lewis was walking slowly and appeared to be in discomfort afterward in the locker room.
â€œSore, but they seem to be OK, Rayâ€™s being the tougher of the two,â€ Billick said. â€œTook a pretty good shot to the back and itâ€™s a matter of the back spasms up on you a little bit and it takes a little while for that muscle to calm down. Scary moments to see those two on the turf, but it was great to see them come back in.â€
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Billick used the dramatic outcome of the Redskins-Cowboys game as justification for his debatable decision to have quarterback Steve McNair throw the football out of bounds on 4th down rather than have kicker Matt Stover attempt a 45-yard field goal.
The Cowboys had a blocked field goal that directly led to former University of Maryland kicker Nick Novakâ€™s game-winning kick for the Redskins.
â€œYou could have been right or wrong either way it turned out, so evidently we were right,â€ Billick said. â€œIt was interesting to watch the Washington-Dallas game and go, â€˜Ok, see, that can happen.
â€œI donâ€™t know if Matt would have had a field goal blocked. The downside of what could have happened versus the faith that I didnâ€™t think they could go 70 yards in  seconds. I think it was sound thinking, and it happened to turn out accurate.â€
QUICK HITS: Billick praised rookie defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, the teamâ€™s first-round draft pick. â€œHeâ€™s getting better every week,â€ he said. â€œHeâ€™s becoming a force for us in there, in just the way that we hoped that he would.â€ â€¦ River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen, a former McDaniel College quarterback from 1992 to 1995, was named the Ravensâ€™ High School Football Coach of the Week. Van Deusen played for the Green Terror from 1992 to 1995 and still holds the school record with 7,239 passing yards.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland