Ravens struggle against surprising Raiders

OAKLAND – The Oakland Raiders' venerable receiving tandem of Jerry Rice and Tim Brown didn't spell doom for the Baltimore Ravens' secondary. However, the perennial All-Pro selections didn't resemble football players ages 41 and 37, respectively, as they combined for seven receptions, 89 yards and a score. All of this production with journeyman passer Rick Mirer throwing them the football no less in the Ravens' 20-12 defeat Sunday at Network Associates Coliseum

It wasn't a poor performance by any stretch of the imagination by the Ravens' defense. It was simply below the sterling standard that Baltimore had mounted of late in shutting down formidable pass-catchers like the Rams' Torry Holt, the 49ers' Terrell Owens and the Bengals' Chad Johnson.

"They completed some passes," cornerback Gary Baxter said. "It wasn't anything we weren't ready for. They didn't turn the ball over and executed very well. We had our hands on the ball, but we weren't able to come down with the ball. My hats off to them."

A week ago in a 27-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mirer was 10-for-25 for 68 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 14.6 quarterback rating. Against Baltimore, he completed 16-of-35 passes for 186 yards, the touchdown pass to Rice and no interceptions.

He was never sacked, a major reason why he was able to simply casually stand in the pocket and go through his progressions.

"They played mistake-free football," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "They were not going to let our defense start flying around. They used very safe routes and we didn't get to make big plays against them."

RETURN TO CLEVELAND: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown will be setting foot for the first time next Sunday at the stadium where he nearly lost the sight in one eye when he was struck accidentally by a weighted penalty flag.

Brown was playing for the Cleveland Browns three years ago when an official's flag sailed inside his helmet. He regained his vision, was cut by the Browns, sued the NFL and reached a confidential settlement before joining the Ravens after a three-year hiatus.

And Brown still holds a grudge and maintains that Browns executive Carmen Policy tried to get him to sign a waiver giving away his right to sue while he was still in the hospital after the incident.

"I always want Carmen, whoever," Brown said. "I want to beat them bad. This will be a big rivalry game for us and a very emotional game for me. That's the field I got hurt on. I've been through so much that's not going to stop me. Nothing can stop me except for a bullet."

QUOTABLE: Ravens running back Jamal Lewis on a loss to a team that entered the game 3-10 overall: "Yeah, it's shocking, but you got to put that out of your mind. They still won the AFC division last year."

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden on allowing the Bengals to gain back the ground they had lost to Baltimore in the division race: "You don't like to ever have control and lose it and kind of give it away. It kind of frustrates you as a team. We're better than them, but they won. That's the frustrating part about it."

Offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo on squandering the opportunity with miscues: "We made mistakes we shouldn't have made. We thought we were over the offsides. We have these issues. You can always say road game, cross-country trip and make up excuses day and night, but it comes down to woulda, could, should and we didn't."

Defensive end Tony Weaver on never mounting a pass rush on Mirer: "That's a disappointment to us. We pride ourselves on that. He was just in a rhythm. We're definitely shocked. We feel like we're a Super Bowl-caliber team and we didn't play well."

INJURY UPDATE: The Ravens reported no new injuries although fullback Alan Ricard did leave the game with a jammed neck. He said he doesn't believe he'll be listed on the injury report on Wednesday.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Ravens Insider Top Stories