Ravens hope offensive improvement continues

<b>Bonus Free Story - please consider a site subscription.</b><br> OWINGS MILLS - Brian Billick didn't issue bold declarations and declined to make grand assumptions about any major revisions to the Baltimore Ravens' winning equation. One day after the offense awoke from a touchdown slumber that had lasted eight quarters to engineer a 44-41 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Billick operated under his usual approach despite an epic breakthrough.

He was encouraged and optimistic, but didn't sound like a football coach who expects the profile of his team to undergo much change. Remember, Billick was an eyewitness to the Ravens' previous 10 football games that were a case study in a running game and a defense that excelled while the offense stumbled. "It gives you a chance to consider the possibilities," Billick said after watching the film of interim quarterback Anthony Wright passing for four touchdowns to former Pro Bowl receiver Marcus Robinson. "That is all you can ask. Is this the defining moment, the watershed moment for this young team? We'll see when we look back on it, based on what we do going forward, but it has that potential." 

Baltimore (6-5) remains the last-ranked passing offense in the league and its centerpiece is NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis. Yet, Sunday was different as Wright and the offense led a comeback from a 17-point deficit in fourth quarter to emerge with an overtime win decided by Matt Stover's field goal. "I think we found ourselves," said Wright, a former third-stringer who posted a career day with 20-of-37 accuracy for 319 yards, four second-half scores and a 119.1 quarterback ranking. "It shows the world the kind of character we have. It lets us know what we can do if we set our minds to it." 

Meanwhile, Wright's wife, Nicole, delivered a baby girl they named Trinity on Monday night. Billick noted how several circumstances, including officials' calls that went in the Ravens' favor, could have affected the outcome Sunday. That was one reason why he had the team review the game Monday instead of giving players the day off. The officials erred, according to NFL supervisor of officials Mike Pereira, when they failed to restart the 40-second clock and the game clock after conferring about a penalty call with 58 seconds left in regulation. Seattle had the football and was leading 41-38 when offensive tackle Floyd Womack reported into the game as an eligible receiver and an official tossed a flag, stopping the clock. "We expected that the clock would be restarted and we were calling the timeout, but as they were administering it, the clock wasn't starting," Billick said. "I haven't talked with the league yet, but there was, I think, an administrative error in there in that the clock should have been wound more quickly." 

Baltimore also benefited from a tipped pass to Robinson that Frank Sanders corralled for a 44-yard reception on 4th-and-28 to set up a touchdown that closed the gap to 41-38. Before Stover's game-tying field goal, Seahawks rookie cornerback Marcus Trufant was assessed a 44-yard pass interference penalty with 25 seconds left. Plus, Baltimore wasn't hit with a 10-second runoff in the final seconds of regulation when tight end Terry Jones lined up parallel to the line of scrimmage in an illegal formation call that pushed Stover's field-goal attempt back five yards. 

Officials ruled that Jones wasn't trying to help stop the clock before Wright spiked the ball. "They recognize that had any one of those things not happened, then we would feel differently right now," Billick said. "Not to be negative, but we have to hold on to, 'What can we correct?' What can we do to not put ourselves in that position?' "Any one thing could have changed the outcome. Any one tip of the ball, any one yard not gained, any different call. It was just the combination and just the way we needed it. Sometimes, fate takes a hand that way." 

Baltimore committed a season-high 14 penalties for 112 yards and dealt with Lewis and Chester Taylor losing a fumble apiece. Plus, the defense allowed Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to pass for 333 yards and an opposing team record of five touchdowns. So, the offense had to contribute heavily in a way it never had previously. For instance, Robinson entered the game with nine receptions and no scores, but exploited Seattle for seven catches, 131 yards and touchdowns of 13, 50, 25 and 9 yards. "That game gives us confidence in each other that we are a team," Robinson said. " You can definitely see how much it helps the offense to have two dimensions. We can go to the Super Bowl. I know there's a lot of things that have to happen to get to that point." 

Such as winning the AFC North, which Baltimore is currently tied for the lead with the Cincinnati Bengals. Can the Ravens' offense become truly multi-dimensional with Lewis running and Robinson, Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap, Travis Taylor and Sanders catching passes from Wright? Or was this a one-week aberration against a vulnerable Seahawks defense? "All the stats tell you is what happened," Billick said. "They don't tell you what's going to happen. If they did, none of our stock portfolios would look the way they are right now." 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times. This story is provided free of charge. If you would like to read more of Aaron's work and gain access to other premium site features for about $0.25 per day, please consider a BynersInsiders subscription.

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