49ers' complain about Ravens running up the score

OWINGS MILLS - It was a rare occurrence in Ravens Nation. An opponent actually complained about the once-dormant Baltimore offense running up the score. San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora took exception to the Ravens padding their advantage in the final minutes of a 44-6 rout Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Already leading by 31 points, Baltimore (7-5) completed a 33-yard pass to Marcus Robinson on third down. That led to rookie running back Musa Smith scoring his first NFL touchdown on a 4th-and-2 with 1:21 remaining. Mora said he expected that type of action from Billick after his experience when Billick was the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator and Mora was coaching the New Orleans Saints' secondary. Mora said he had to restrain Jim Haslett, then the Saints' defensive coordinator "by the neck" to keep him from going after Billick. "I should have been more aware because I've been in a game with Brian Billick," Mora told San Francisco reporters. "They have every right to do that." 

Billick said Monday that he has communicated with the 49ers, the club that drafted him as a tight end and used to employ him as their assistant director of public relations. "I have a great deal of respect for Dennis Erickson and that organization," Billick said. "The game just went down the way it did at the end. Do you take a knee at the end? Do you want to embarrass somebody? "You want to embarrass me, and I am sure that there are plenty that do, get me in that situation and take a knee at 4th-and-1 or 4th-and-2. I have no problem with it. I don't think they have a problem with it. There is a lot of frustration there." 

Erickson didn't seem too concerned about the margin of victory, more consumed with addressing his team's variety of problems. "What the hell's the difference if it's 34 points or 51?" Erickson said. "It's still a loss." 

SECONDARY CONFIGURATION: One day after cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Gary Baxter combined to shut down 49ers All-Pro receiver Terrell Owens, Billick said he's loath to break up the tandem. Baltimore is 3-1 when Baxter shifts over from free safety to start at cornerback ahead of veteran Corey Fuller. Fuller played a lot in nickel packages against the 49ers. "Right now, Gary and Mac, that's a good combination and Corey coming in on nickel," Billick said. "At this point where he is, 30-35 snaps is a good number for Corey. The profile we're in right now is probably one we'll try to sustain because it's a good balance for us." 

WRIGHT STUFF: Quarterback Anthony Wright was complimented by Billick for his vocal presence on the sidelines and in the huddle. Wright completed 15 of his 24 passes for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for an 88.2 quarterback rating. "He is very comfortable interacting with players in that manner, challenging one another: 'This is what I need from you,'" Billick said. "We are getting positive leadership from him in that regard." Not to mention Wright played after requiring a pain-killing injection before kickoff for a sore neck and shoulder. "I didn't even know I was hurt until Wednesday when I threw my first pass after my wife's delivery," Wright said. "It just crept up on me. Hopefully, it won't feel too bad when the pain-killer wears off." 

NO FINE EXPECTED: Billick said he doesn't anticipate linebacker Ed Hartwell will be fined for inadvertently giving line judge Carl Johnson a concussion during a leaping celebration after Ray Lewis' interception return for a touchdown. "He took a pretty good shot, but there is no misinterpretation for what happened there," Billick said. 

INJURY UPDATE: Billick said he expects defensive end Tony Weaver to return after missing last game with a neck injury. Nickel back Tom Knight's status is uncertain after missing the 49ers contest with an ankle injury. Billick said Ray Lewis has a mild thumb injury. Running back Chester Taylor is recovering from a strained neck. 

QUICK HITS: The Ravens were warned by the league for allegedly attempting to incite crowd noise on third downs against the Seattle Seahawks by flashing, "It's Third Down" on the scoreboard in conjunction with announcing the down over the loudspeakers. A repeat offense would cause the club to be fined $50,000. Such warnings are fairly commonplace. … Billick awarded game balls to linebackers Ray Lewis and Hartwell along with kickoff specialist Wade Richey. 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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