Ravens remember last year's game vividly

OWINGS MILLS - Will Demps hasn't forgotten many details of a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers to end last season. The Baltimore Ravens' free safety is able to recount exactly how the Steelers marched down the football field to pull out a 34-31 victory at Heinz Field.

Baltimore squandered a 31-20 advantage gained minutes into the fourth quarter on a Chester Taylor touchdown reception. Now, the Ravens get another shot at the Steelers on Sunday in the same venue.

"We're going in with more passion and we can't give the game away like we did last year," Demps said. "It left a bitter taste in our mouths." First, Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox led a 10-play drive for 67 yards that lasted 5:06 by spreading the football around liberally between Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward. The drive was capped by a short Amos Zereoue touchdown run. After safety Chad Williams stopped Zereoue on the subsequent two-point conversion try, Taylor's fumbled kickoff return at the Ravens' 31-yard line led to the Steelers' game-winning score.

Maddox located Antwaan Randle El from eight yards out and padded the lead with a two-point pass to Burress. "We just have to play our game and not let Plaxico do the things he does," Demps said. "He's good so we can't let him make big plays."

For Taylor, a reserve running back who fumbled in last week's loss to the New York Giants to close the preseason, it's another opportunity. "I still remember when I fumbled that kickoff return because it was a changing point in the game," Taylor said. "I'm looking for revenge. Last week, I just timed it wrong, so I've got to get better at that. I've already put it behind me."

NICKEL PACKAGE: Ray Walls is the Ravens' healthiest cornerback besides starters Chris McAlister and Corey Fuller.

With Tom Knight (hamstring) and Alvin Porter (groin) listed as questionable and doubtful on Wednesday's injury report, Walls is likely to see action in nickel and dime situations.

That is, unless defensive coordinator Mike Nolan opts to shift free safety Gary Baxter over and insert Demps.

"Right now, I want to make sure I know everything in case they need me," said Walls, who signed last month after leaving the Cleveland Browns' camp. "I'm really focused on my role, on learning some nickel. I won't be nervous. It's just football."

Knight has practiced without any setbacks, but is unsure if he'll play Sunday.

Meanwhile, Porter said his groin probably needs another week to heal. "I don't want to put my team or myself at risk if I can't run the way I need to," he said. "I don't want to hurt it worse or hurt the team."

MEDICAL UPDATE: The Ravens have ruled running back Musa Smith (knee) out, listing receiver Frank Sanders (toes) as doubtful and center Casey Rabach (knee) as questionable.

Rabach isn't sure if he'll be able to go while Sanders is confident he'll return since he incurred the injury almost a month ago.

The Steelers' injury report: outside linebacker Joey Porter (thigh) is out; receiver Chris Doering (ankle), offensive tackle Todd Fordham (ankle), center Jeff Hartings (ankle), offensive tackle Oliver Ross (ankle) and tight end Jerame Tuman (groin) are probable.

HUNGRY FOR A SACK: The last sack for rookie outside linebacker Terrell Suggs dates back to his college days as a Lombardi Award winner at Arizona State.

Considering he set an NCAA mark last fall with 24 sacks, the first-round draft pick is understandably eager to generate heat on NFL quarterbacks. Suggs will get ample chances against the Steelers as a situational pass rusher.

"To be successful in this league, I've got to turn it up a notch," Suggs said. "I definitely have to turn my game way up."

QUICK HITS: Ravens outside linebacker Peter Boulware, a Florida State alumnus, said he expects his brother, Michael, and the Seminoles to easily handle the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday.

… Ravens coach Brian Billick on what advice he would give rookie quarterback Kyle Boller to prepare for the Steelers: "Tape your ankles and grab your [butt], son, because it's going to be a hell of a day."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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