Webb still finding his way

OWINGS MILLS – Lardarius Webb remains one of the fastest cornerbacks on the Baltimore Ravens even after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last December. Since his return this season after missing the entire preseason and offseason, Webb has flashed impressive recovery speed.

In particular, Webb did a nice job of containing speedy Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace during a win at Heinz Field. Webb was initially beaten on a fly route, but caught up to a Charlie Batch pass to knock it down.

During a 23-20 overtime loss to the New England Patriots, Webb wasn't nearly as effective against a superior quarterback. He bit on Tom Brady's pump fakes and got caught looking in the backfield.

In one instance, he simply had to cover too long on a touchdown pass to wide receiver Deion Branch. In general, Webb has been susceptible to fakes. "Yeah, the touchdown is a scramble rule-type of a deal," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "So when you get in that situation where the quarterback begins to scramble, it becomes block-on-your-man-type coverage. And he did [react to the fake]. He got his eyes in the backfield, and then he got shook and lost coverage on that. "So, I think that's a little bit of a lack of experience thing on an extended play. He's got to learn from that. I don't think there was a double move on Lardarius that I can remember in the game. The back shoulder fade got him at the end, but he was in tight coverage there. I thought that was really well executed by them. That's a tough one to cover in press man."

HEAP IS GOOD TO GO: Tight end Todd Heap didn't suffer a concussion or a neck injury when he absorbed a flagrant hit to the head from New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, a magnetic resonance imaging exam confirmed. Harbaugh made the announcement tonight on his weekly WBAL radio program. Heap returned to the game after missing a few plays in the second quarter. Meriweather was fined $50,000 by the league office as a consequence for his actions. "Todd's doing well," Harbaugh said. "I think he's in good shape."

Harbaugh commented on the league's punishment of Meriweather, who committed two infractions during the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Patriots. "I think the league does a great job of determining what needs to be done," Harbaugh said. "I appreciate their efforts to try to protect our players and create the safest environment possible for our guys to play in." RETURN GAME STRUGGLING: The Ravens aren't getting adequate production out of their kickoff return and punt returns.

They're averaging 21 yards per kickoff return, which is tied for 22nd in the league. They're averaging 5.7 yards per punt return, which ranks 29th in the NFL. Against the Patriots, Jalen Parmele returned kickoffs again with Josh Wilson out with a strained hamstring.

"We shouldn't have brought those two balls out of the end zone," Harbaugh said. "There's no reason to go left and come back right from three yards deep, and you don't bring one out when it's 4. hangtime or thereabouts. "So, that's just decision-making. But we will find a returner that will make good decisions and run the ball where we want it run. We just have to do that. It's really important."

UNPLANNED SQUIB: The Ravens weren't trying to squib the football on a flubbed fourth quarter kickoff by kicker Billy Cundiff that landed out of bounds, setting the Patriots up at their own 40-yard line.

The Ravens were trying to contain Brandon Tate, who has returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season and had a 19-yard return against Baltimore. "Like, ‘Kick it out of bounds?'" Harbaugh said when asked if he spoke to Cundiff before the kickoff. "No, we didn't. We were into the wind, and there was a corner wind coming from that corner. We were trying to drive the ball low and hard to the left hash, thinking the wind would blow outside the left hash a little bit. I think probably two things happened. I think probably he overcooked it a little bit, bringing it over to the left.

"Probably the wind caught it a little more than he anticipated, and then it scooted out of bounds by one yard. It was tough. We were covering kicks well. We were kicking off well. There was no reason to think they would've gotten the ball past the 25 there. And that probably gave them 15 or 20 more yards that made a big difference in that drive. That was disappointing."

QUICK HIT: Over 35 members of the Super Bowl XXXV championship team will return to M&T Bank Stadium this weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their victory over the New York Giants. They'll be introduced at a halftime ceremony.

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