Notebook

BALTIMORE – Fabian Washington didn't have to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames after being scorched by speedy Buffalo Bills wide receiver Lee Evans. It only felt that way for the Baltimore Ravens' cornerback. Evans beat Washington for two of his three touchdown catches during the Ravens' 37-34 overtime victory Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

It got so bad that Washington was benched in the fourth quarter and replaced by Josh Wilson. "It wasn't my day," said Washington, who answered every question following a substandard performance. "The Bills had my number. The coaches decided to pull me and go with Josh." The Ravens allowed four touchdown passes to Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Besides the two scores surrendered by Washington, cornerback Lardarius Webb was beaten for a touchdown by wide receiver Steve Johnson. When Washington allowed a 33-yard touchdown to Evans in the first quarter where he missed a jam attempt in press coverage and the veteran wideout got wide open, he knew what was coming next. He was going to be used for target practice until he proved he could stop Evans deep. He never shut him down, though, as Evans finished with six receptions for 105 yards. "Once they start going after somebody, you've got to get them off you then," said Washington, who wears No. 31. "[Sunday] was, ‘check, check 31.' That's what it was. This week, they got me, but please believe I will be back." Even with Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble in his season debut, the NFL's third-ranked pass defense was off

Fitzpatrick passed for 374 yards. In the past three games, the Ravens' secondary has allowed 980 yards.

Webb said he had his groin wrapped as a precaution, but took it off after Johnson beat him for a 33-yard score in the second quarter. "That's not an excuse," Webb said. "I'm still supposed to make that play. I took it off then, and didn't have any problems. I'm thinking I never should have put it on in the first place. It's the NFL. Everybody makes plays. "I guess me and Fabian had a rough day. These things do happen in the NFL. We're going to go to work. I know when Fabian comes back next week, he'll be on top of his game. I need to make sure my side is on top of my fame."

SPLITTING TIME: One week removed from running back Willis McGahee not playing at all against the New England Patriots, he split the workload with Pro Bowl runner Ray Rice on Sunday. Rice rushed for 72 yards on 16 carries. And McGahee gained 64 yards and scored a touchdown on 11 carries with a long run of 25 yards.

McGahee started the game, but Rice played more than he did. "It was just like any other game," McGahee said. "Whether Ray starts or I start really wasn't anything special. We work together, just giving each other rest. We worked on it all week the rotation."

McGahee dashed into the end zone on a two-yard run in the third quarter, getting past a pursuing defensive back.

"I'm not going to beat him to the corner, so I just turned it up," McGahee said. "It's my business to get in there. It's just my job to get in the end zone. I wasn't going to let anybody stop me." Rice averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He didn't seem to mind sharing carries with McGahee.

"It was our game plan going in, and I think it was smart on the end of our coaching staff," Rice said. "I came out of the game healthy, no wear and tear on the body. I think we both did a pretty good job of running the ball." PLAYING THROUGH PAIN: Despite a right shoulder stinger that's still aching after last week's illegal hit by Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, tight end Todd Heap gutted it out to catch two touchdown passes. He finished the game with three receptions for 59 yards.

Afterward, Heap said the shoulder was affecting him in the second half. He aggravated it on Anquan Boldin's touchdown catch seconds into the third quarter.

"I really don't remember exactly what happened," Heap said. "I was in extreme pain at the time. So, I wasn't quite sure if it was the neck or the shoulder. At that point, I was just trying to make the pain go away. It was contact. It was the way I was trying to block one guy and get a hand on another guy.

"It was a similar hit on the shoulder, a similar stinger to last week. It's frustrating. I hate sitting out and watching, especially when I know the rest of my body is strong. There are certain injuries you've got to be smart with. Obviously, this is one of them."

Heap said he didn't notice any differences in how defenders are approaching the game after last week when Meriweather was fined $50,000 and several other players were punished by the league office.

NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, who doles out the fines, attended this game.

"Obviously, it's behind us," Heap said. "You're playing football, you know what you signed up for. It's a physical sport. We all know what the rules are. The rules have been in place. So, I'll see a hit and think, ‘How is this guy going to pull up and not him.' I see other hits where you can't do that.

"The defense has to play. They're playing physical, we're playing physical and we're playing football. What the NFL is trying to come down on are the hits where a guy really doesn't see it coming. Those are the ones the NFL is trying to avoid and I agree with them." As far as Heap is concerned, the game is the same. He hasn't seen any changes yet.

"I didn't sense that, I don't know," Heap said. "As an offensive player, you expect to get hit. It feels a lot better if you catch it. So, you might as well catch it." MAKING IT UP: In the first quarter, Josh Wilson committed the cardinal sin of all kickoff returners.

He fumbled away the football, setting up a Bills field goal.

At the end of the first half, Wilson recovered a C.J. Spiller fumble to set up a Heap touchdown. "I always think God is going to give you a chance and another opportunity," Wilson said. "It's not redemption for me as much as I gave us bad field position on my mistake. Then, we got good field position that we turned into a touchdown." The Ravens' kick return game struggled again, averaging only 16.6 yards with Wilson and Jalen Parmele each returning three kickoffs.

"I guess you could call it a work in progress," Wilson said. "You could definitely say that. It's a long season and we'll get better."

RETURN OF KRUGER: Defensive end Paul Kruger made an early return from his sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Kruger was active and played several snaps against the Bills, playing for the first time since injuring his knee against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although he wasn't particularly effective with no tackles and one pass deflection, Kruger was glad to get back on the field.

"Yeah, it felt really good," Kruger said. "It's been a rough time for me. I was dying to be out there. Fortunately, practice went well and my knee felt good. The trainers did a good job of getting me ready and it all worked out. "I honestly couldn't tell you how much I played. I have no idea. My knee felt solid. It felt tight. Everything was good." FIRST GAME BACK: Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo played in his first game since tearing his quadriceps tendon last October against the Patriots.

"It was good to get out there," Ayanbadejo said. "It felt good to contribute. I definitely have a lot of improvement ahead of me. I've got a lot to work on during the bye week." The three-time Pro Bowl selection wasn't credited with any tackles while playing strictly on special teams.

"I got double-teamed, I think I got blocked once on all the kickoffs," he said. "I didn't get in on any tackles. I didn't have any big hits or anything like that. I'll try to contribute as much as I can and eventually get back to my normal self."

Ayanbadejo acknowledged that he didn't expect this game to be so close.

"We thought we were going to come out here and put it on this team, but they gave us everything we could handle," he said. "It was exciting to come back and win in overtime."

NOT INJURED: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was lying on the ground at the end of regulation, forcing the Ravens to take an injury timeout. However, he said it was just cramps. "I needed to hydrate," Suggs said. "It was a long game, got to hydrate."

BYE WEEK PLANS: Rice said he intends to visit paralyzed Rutgers lineman Eric LeGrand during the bye week. "I'm going home to see my boy and see my mom," Rice said.

Rice also plans to rest and relax. "I need to get in about three spa days," Rice said. "We get to have some time off to heal, recovery and spend time with our families. That's what the bye week is all about. It's time to get healthy, time to get our minds right." Wide receiver Derrick Mason said he's going to Nashville, Tenn., to visit his kids.

And Suggs said he has no plans to travel. "Where am I going? Nowhere," he said. "Right here, we got kids. It's going to a lot of time with the children at Chuckie Cheese.

" QUICK HITS: Punter Sam Koch didn't like it when a referee accused him of exaggerating contact with a Bills player to try to draw a roughing penalty. The referee went so far as to make an announcement on his microphone, too. "I thought he ran into me," Koch said. "That's not how I play. I don't flop. I don't like to flop. If somebody hits me, you want to take full advantage, but I don't fake it." … Defensive end Brandon McKinney started for the second consecutive game ahead of veteran Cory Redding. … The Ravens deactivated wide receivers Donte' Stallworth (foot) and David Reed (thigh), safeties Tom Zbikowski (bruised heel), linebacker Tavares Gooden (dislocated left shoulder), offensive tackle Scott Kooistra and defensive tackles Arthur Jones and Lamar Divens. …

The Bills scratched third quarterback Levi Brown, starting cornerback Terrence McGee, starting offensive tackle Cornell Green, defensive ends John McCargo and Alex Carrington, linebackers Aaron Maybin (Mt. Hebron) and Keith Ellison and offensive tackle Ed Wang.

… The Bills started rookie Cordaro Howard in place of Green and Leodis McKelvin in place of McGee…. The Ravens' game captains were McGahee, Ayanbadejo and Reed.


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