Ravens Notebook: Secondary rebounds from rough outing in San Diego

Street Talk Ravens Notebook: Secondary rebounds from rough outing in San Diego

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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens’ secondary was barbecued by the San Diego Chargers a week ago.


This time, the Ravens applied the heat.


The defense intercepted four passes, including three from defensive backs, during a 34-3 rout over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.


Although no sensible person will ever mistake Browns quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson for Chargers star quarterback Philip Rivers, that didn’t make it feel any less good for the Ravens to rebound from allowing 436 passing yards last week.


"We played our type of football," said strong safety Dawan Landry, who intercepted a deep Anderson pass over the middle in the fourth quarter. "Last week wasn’t our best game, so we wanted to redeem ourselves.”


Indeed, it was a touch of redemption.


The Ravens limited Quinn and Anderson to a combined 17 of 27 for 126 yards, no touchdowns and a 34.4 quarterback rating.


"With the butt-whipping we took last week, this feels great," cornerback Fabian Washington said. “This is how we’re supposed to play.”


Cornerback Domonique Foxworth got the Ravens off to the right start by jumping a Quinn pass intended for Braylon Edwards in the first quarter to set up running back Willis McGahee’s first of two touchdown runs.


"Last week was frustrating for me because you always have to prove yourself," Foxworth said after picking off the fifth pass of his career. "It felt good to be able to come back and bounce back and show what kind of group we can be, and as an individual, show what kind of player I can be."


Foxworth wasn’t entirely satisfied, though.


He dropped a potential interception that could have gone for a touchdown.


"I have to be honest, I feel less nauseous this week than I did last week," Foxworth said. "I’m still a little uncomfortable. I feel a lot better than last week, but there’s still a little bit of stink on my back. I have to wash it off."


Free safety Ed Reed intercepted an Anderson pass.


Last week, Reed bit on some play-action fakes and was out of position to provide assistance on several deep passes.


This time, the communication was much better and the Ravens were more disciplined in carrying out their assignments.


"It was huge to come back from the San Diego game and make some plays this week to get the monkey off our back," Reed said. "It was just guys being where they were supposed to be and sticking with the game plan."


The Ravens weren’t surprised that Browns coach Eric Mangini benched Quinn and inserted Anderson after halftime.


"We kind of expected it," Reed said. "Before we went in, we said, ‘Expect Anderson.’ He’s played well against us before, so we expected him to come in."


MILESTONE: Veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason caught the 800th pass of his career, becoming the 23rd player in NFL history and the eighth active player to reach that mark.


"I didn’t get to throw most of those passes to him, but it’s pretty cool just to be a part of," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "You don’t know how many times you’re going to be around a guy like Derrick."


Mason finished the game with five catches for 118 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.


Now, he has 802 receptions for 10,257 yards for his career.


"We got the win on top of the 800 catches, so I guess that’s all that really matter," Mason said. "We really don’t make a big deal out of it. It was brought to my attention earlier this week. I didn’t know, honestly I didn’t.


"When I made the catch, I didn’t know that was the 800th catch. You don’t too much worry about if it’s your 800th catch or your 10th touchdown. You just try to do what you can to help the team win the football game."


A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Mason took exception with being labeled as a possession receiver.


"I’m tired of arguing with people and trying to convince people that I’m more than what you want to try and label me as," Mason said. "You’re the ones that try to put me in a box. So be it, I’m not stuck in a box."


SUCCESSFUL DEBUT: L.J. Smith was a happy man following the game.


The former Philadelphia Eagles tight end’s chronically bad left hamstring held up and he caught a 26-yard pass during his regular-season debut with the Ravens after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract during the offseason.


"It felt great to contribute and play in a win," Smith said. "That’s a great feeling I’ve been waiting for. I wanted to have a meaningful catch and not get hurt.


"I still have some things to improve on. I’ve got to get my blocking down better. There was definitely some rust, but there were a lot of positives all around the board."


Smith is looking forward to some double tight end formations with starter Todd Heap in the future.


"Me and Todd didn’t get on the field at the same time," Smith said. "But if I stay healthy there will be more packages of us together. I’m feeling good."


SOUVENIR: Running back Ray Rice took the football to the bench for safekeeping after scoring the first touchdown of his NFL career on a nine-yard sweep in the third quarter.


"I could smell the end zone," Rice said. "It took me a long time, but I was patient. I’m sure that it will be the first of many. It was just the right time and the right play."


Rice bounced outside away from the Browns’ pursuit to high-step into the end zone.


"I handed the ball to him and a couple of seconds later, I realized he was going to be in the end zone," Flacco said. "It’s about time. He’s been knocking on the door a couple of times."

HOME COOKING: A Randallstown native who played collegiately at the University of Maryland, Foxworth is relishing playing in his hometown. 


"It feels fantastic," he said. "This is the city I love. I don’t feel this strongly about the city because of what the Ravens paid me. I feel this way about the city because I was raised in it.  


"I drive past places where I went to school or places where I’d eaten, even the building where I had my prom. It puts a smile on my face. I get a lot more postgame text messages now from people who actually watch me play."


SHORT MEMORY: This game marked Landry’s first encounter with the Browns since suffering a spinal cord concussion against them during the second week of last season.


Landry didn’t focus on the memory of being carted off the field and taken to the hospital a year ago.


"I didn’t think about it at all," he said. "It’s unfortunate what happened, but I wasn’t thinking about it."


QUICK HITS: Reserve inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo intercepted his first pass since 2004, his second since entering the league. He also recorded a sack. "It’s like a jet can’t fly without wings, it can’t land without wheels, water goes downhill and it just went to 51," said Ayanbadejo, who wears No. 51. "Everybody else did all the right things and I was the guy that got to be the hero on that play, but it wasn’t that I necessarily did anything great. I just did my job." … The Ravens didn’t report any injuries. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis left the game for one play with a stinger. "Just a classic stinger, and I think Haloti Ngata gave it to him," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Haloti is flying around in there. I think he hit somebody else, too." …
Reed played despite being held out of practice Friday with a lingering nerve impingement. "It’s sore, and it’s just something that I’m going to have to deal with," Reed said. "It’s not something that’s going to heal in the season. It something I’m going to have to take care of eventually. It’s just a matter of monitoring it. It’s sore as we speak." … Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (shoulder) and offensive tackle Jared Gaither (illness) started despite being listed as questionable. It was Johnson’s 84th consecutive game. … The Ravens deactivated quarterback John Beck, running back Jalen Parmele, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, offensive linemen Oniel Cousins and Tony Moll, tight end Tony Curtis, nose guard Kelly Talavou and second-round outside linebacker-defensive end Paul Kruger. Kruger has yet to be active for a regular-season game mostly because he doesn’t play special teams. …
The Ravens’ game captains were McGahee, nose guard Kelly Gregg and cornerback/returner Chris Carr. … The Browns deactivated kicker Phil Dawson (right calf), quarterback Brett Ratliff, running back Jamal Lewis (hamstring), defensive back Gerard Lawson, offensive linemen Floyd Womack and Rex Hadnot, wide receiver Brian Robiskie and tight end Greg Estandia. … The Browns cut former Ravens running back Cedric Peerman.  … Kelley Washington tied a career-high with five catches. … The Ravens extended their streak of not allowing an opposing runner to gain 100 yards to 38 games. …Flacco completed 71.4 percent of his throws for a career-high 342 yards. … The Ravens have averaged 34.3 points per game this season. The Ravens have also gained 1,291 yards over the first three games to average 430.3 yards per contest. … The Ravens improved to 47-0 when they post at least a plus-two turnover margin. … Quarterback Troy Smith was inserted into the game late in the fourth quarter and completed 1 of 2 passes for four yards.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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