Team Notes - Baltimore Ravens

Instant replay didn't cost Brian Billick in Sunday's 26-6 win over the Denver Broncos, but the Ravens coach continued his tirade on the system in his Monday news conference. Billick's anger centers on Denver's replay challenge that took an 11-yard touchdown away from tight end Todd Heap.

From the replays, the officials said there was definitive proof that Heap -- who lost his helmet in the end-zone collision with linebacker Al Wilson -- had lost possession of the ball.
"The idea of instant replay was to remove the egregious error and I don't know if that's happening," said Billick, who had a more expletive-laden rant after Sunday's game. "I am among those group of people -- and that number is growing based on the phone calls I've gotten today from coaches around the league -- if indeed this is put to a vote in the offseason, the Baltimore Ravens will vote no to keeping instant replay in its current form."
Billick, whose Ravens remain in first place in the AFC North, has only won one of four challenges this season while opposing coaches have won one of their two challenges against the Ravens. His only correct challenge came two weeks ago in Cincinnati, when the officials reversed their call and gave Heap a 24-yard reception.
"The league says the officials are right over 90 percent of the time on the call from the field," Billick said. "Maybe it's better if we just live with that."
Billick, though, said he doesn't foresee getting fined by the league for his comments.
"I've seen that floating around," Billick said. "Believe me, the fine that I'm getting at home and from my mother is adding up. I did not criticize an official. I did not criticize the league. I can't imagine it that being a fineable offense."

--Cornerback Corey Fuller strained his hamstring as well as his groin in the fourth quarter and did not return. Ravens coach Brian Billick said the team did not know the extent of his injury but the veteran would be re-evaluated Wednesday. Fuller walked without a limp in the locker room Monday.
--Punt returner Dedric Ward has officially replaced Lamont Brightful and will continue to field punts for the next couple of weeks, according to coach Brian Billick. Ward could also surpass Marcus Robinson as the team's third receiver.
--Punt returner Lamont Brightful has lost his job to Dedric Ward, according to coach Brian Billick. Brightful could see time in the Ravens' nickel package if cornerback Corey Fuller's hamstring injury lingers.
--Receiver Marcus Robinson has continued to struggle dropping passes and could be surpassed by Dedric Ward as the team's third receiver.
--Tight end Todd Heap complained of a sore neck after taking a hard hit in the end zone in the second quarter. He played the rest of the game but could be listed on the injury report this week.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Jamal (Lewis) came up to me in the first quarter and said, 'Throw a couple downfield to take the pressure off of me.' He's exactly right: the more that we can complete downfield, the more lanes we're going to open for him. Teams are going to be in trouble if we can work on both sides of the ball." -- Quarterback Kyle Boller on the Ravens' offense, which produced 151 yards rushing and 137 yards passing.

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Kyle Boller didn't seem too limited by a mild sprained left (non-throwing) shoulder. The rookie quarterback was efficient in completing 55 percent of his throws (15 of 27) with no interceptions and no fumbles. The Ravens weren't able to stretch the field and need to deliver more big plays after recording one completion over 16 yards. Receiver Frank Sanders made his biggest impact this season, converting two third downs.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Gaining 100 yards has become virtually automatic for running back Jamal Lewis, who cracked that mark for the sixth straight game. With 134 yards, he is 23 yards shy of 1,000 for the season. This time, the yards were hard fought for Lewis against a defense that hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Before his 28-yard touchdown run, he averaged 3.4 yards on his first 31 carries.
PASS DEFENSE: A -- The Ravens almost had as many yards on interception returns by Ray Lewis and Gary Baxter (71) as the Broncos had passing yards (114). Third-string quarterback Danny Kanell looked like he had been out of football for two years, consistently overthrowing receivers and finishing 16 of 31. Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister took receiver Rod Smith out of the game, holding him to four receptions for 23 yards. Peter Boulware recorded his first sacks of the season.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Controlling Denver running back Clinton Portis (86 yards on 22 carries) was key to the Ravens' victory. Take away Portis' meaningless 17-yarder in the final minute of the game and the Ravens limited Portis to 3.3 yards per carry. Over the past month, the Ravens have held Portis, Priest Holmes and Corey Dillon to 90 yards or less. 
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- After missing wide right on a 45-yard field-goal attempt, the Ravens' Matt Stover converted from 25, 39, 22 and 29 yards. Denver punter Micah Knorr only netted 32.8 yards on his five punts, helping the Ravens win the field-position battle. Dedric Ward, who replaced Lamont Brightful as the Ravens' punt returner, added a little spark with a 16-yard return but finished with an 8.7-yard average. Once again, the Ravens were excellent on coverage teams.
COACHING: A -- The Ravens are 4-3 and atop their division, which is a tribute to the direction of coach Brian Billick. Offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh managed his best game of the season and effectively used the play action. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan rotated between three and four-man fronts to contain Portis and put pressure on Kanell.

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