Ravens' Brightful dashs for career-long return

<b>Bonus Free Story. Please consider a site subscription.</b>BALTIMORE - Lamont Brightful caught the kickoff and spotted his wedge of blockers setting up in front of him toward the left sideline. The Baltimore Ravens' return specialist began to follow their lead, but quickly changed his mind during Sunday's 44-6 win over the San Francisco 49ers. He darted in the opposite direction.

Racing up the right sidelines in the second quarter, Brightful was the beneficiary of a few crack-back blocks and burst upfield for a career-long 75-yard kickoff return. He was tackled at the 49ers' 19 to set up kicker Matt Stover's 28-yard field goal. "We've been talking a lot the past few weeks that we've had a lot of returns to the left," Brightful said. "They gave me the option to go to the right." 

It was the second time in three weeks where Brightful had set a career mark. In a 9-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Brightful had a 73-yard return. For a while, it looked like Brightful was going to finish his return off Sunday for a score. "I thought it would at least get me to midfield," Brightful said. "I took a little cutback and got some blocks. The guys flowed back and did a good job of getting me some blocks." 

DOWN FOR THE COUNT: During a raucous celebration that followed Ray Lewis' interception return for a touchdown, linebacker Ed Hartwell accidentally crashed into line judge Carl Johnson. Johnson suffered a concussion and was carted out of the stadium on a stretcher. "It's always a risk when you're on a field with a bunch of gladiators," Hartwell said. "We get hurt out there. I truly didn't feel him, didn't see him. I was just going to celebrate with my teammate. I saw somebody laying there and I was like, 'How did that happen?' When asked if he thought he would be fined for knocking into an NFL official, Hartwell said, "No, I don't think you should be fined for stuff you don't do on purpose." 

BOLLER'S PROGRESS: Even though Anthony Wright is 2-1 as an interim starter, Billick is making contingency plans for rookie quarterback Kyle Boller's return to the lineup. Boller's recovery from quadriceps surgery has gone well and Billick expects him to be back against the Cleveland Browns in three weeks. "Based on what the doctors told me and where he is right now in his rehab, he might be up as maybe the third quarterback by Oakland and then be ready to go by the Cleveland game," Billick said. 

FIRST TOUCHDOWN: Limited to watching Jamal Lewis the majority of the season, rookie running back Musa Smith scored his first NFL touchdown at the end of the game. The third-round draft pick from Georgia fumbled three plays before his 2-yard score, but Baltimore recovered. Smith finished with 10 yards on five carries. "I knew my turn was coming up pretty soon and they called my number," said Smith, who entered the game after Chester Taylor complained about his strained neck. "It felt good to be in the end zone in my first experience actually running the ball in the NFL." 

INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated Boller and quarterback Ray Lucas, cornerback Tom Knight, defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin, offensive tackle Damion Cook, receiver Ron Johnson, tight end John Jones and defensive end Tony Weaver. 

INJURY UPDATE: Baltimore reported no serious injuries. Taylor got treatment for a sore neck. Baltimore cornerback Corey Fuller didn't start, but played a lot of snaps as Gary Baxter moved over from free safety in his place and Will Demps played free safety. "I feel real good for the first time in a bunch of weeks," Fuller said. 49ers running back Garrison Hearst strained his knee and didn't return. 

QUOTABLE: Cornerback Chris McAlister on whether shutting down 49ers All-Pro Terrell Owens will lead to his first Pro Bowl recognition: "The last three years, I've been matching up. Regardless of whether they notice or not, I'm going to continue to do it as long as I'm here. I've been doing this. To me, it's really nothing new." 

QUICK HITS: Lewis broke his own team single-season rushing mark with 78 yards on 19 carries. He has 1,442 rushing yards and eight touchdowns for the season. Lewis' eighth touchdown also set a team mark, breaking Priest Holmes' old record of seven scores set in 1998. … Wright's three-game totals are 608 yards, six touchdowns, three interceptions and an 85.8 quarterback rating. … … After committing a total of 34 penalties and a dozen turnovers in its previous three games, Baltimore had four penalties and two turnovers. … Rookie defensive end Jarret Johnson started in Weaver's place and had two tackles as veteran Riddick Parker chipped in with three stops. Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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