Stover working on form after bad outing

OWINGS MILLS – Matt Stover believes he's figured out the problem. After hooking three field goal to cost the Baltimore Ravens nine points in a 24-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the veteran kicker said he was rushing his approach. Stover missed as many kicks Sunday night as he did all of last season.

"Technique-wise, I was a little too fast to the ball," said Stover, the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history with an 82 percent average in 15 seasons. "The snaps and holds were so good, I just thought I had to jump on it a bit. My time is usually five, six, seven one-hundredths of a second lower, but even that can make a difference.

"I just wasn't setting my body up properly. I pride myself on if I miss one, don't miss the next. I didn't do that, and that's what the heartbreaking thing is."

Stover missed attempts from 38, 47 and 45 yards, missing the first two wide left and the third wide right. Stover connected on 29 of 32 kicks last season, a 90-percent clip.

The last time Stover missed three field goals in a game was in 1998 in a season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers where he went 2-for-5.

"In that Pittsburgh game, I was too fast to the ball," said Stover, adding that having to kick off didn't affect his form. "I just have to settle myself down out there. Believe it or not, it's not that easy. It may appear to be, but it's not."

Ravens coach Brian Billick expressed confidence in the former Pro Bowl kicker.

"You've got to go out and stroke through it," said Billick, who could re-sign Wade Richey to kick off this week. "It wasn't going to happen that night. Matt has been too consistent too long and too good. I'm sure he'll work his way out of it."

FANS CHEER BOLLER'S INJURY: One day after some fans cheered while embattled quarterback Kyle Boller was helped off the field with a turf toe injury, the Ravens remained disappointed in a response that caused arguments in the stands.

"I do believe that the overwhelming majority of our fans are displeased with that as you can imagine we would be," Billick said. "It doesn't take much of a minority of the fans to make their presence heard. I don't imagine those that did that feel real good about themselves this morning. Our fans are better than that, the vast majority are."

Opinions on Boller, who had a rough preseason, have divided the fan base.

"I was disappointed in that," defensive end Tony Weaver said. "I love the fans of Baltimore, but that was a little bit classless, and that's not them. I know they want us to go out there and win, but Kyle is our guy."

Backup Anthony Wright, who led the Ravens to an AFC North title in 2003 when Boller was hurt, was cheered loudly when he entered the game.

"That's not right," Wright said of the booing. "That's totally disrespectful. I didn't appreciate that. Hopefully, some of the fans that did that will look at what they did and think twice next time. I want them to cheer for me, but not in that way."

QUICK HITS: Running back Jamal Lewis broke the tip of a finger in his left hand, but indicated he'll play next week after rushing for 48 yards on 16 carries. Billick said that Lewis' ankle came out of the game unscathed. "I felt like it was more of a finesse game," said Lewis, who was limited to three yards per carry. "I didn't feel like we were ready as an offense." … Fullback Alan Ricard, who was a late scratch with a calf strain, said he expects to play next week. ... Safety Ed Reed's thigh contusion isn't believed to be serious. ... The Ravens are 2-1 over the last three years after season-opening losses. ... With nickel back Deion Sanders guarding him primarily, former Ravens starter Brandon Stokley caught a game-high seven passes for 83 yards. "Once we got up on them, it's hard to talk," Stokley said. "You get a little jawing back and forth for fun. Will Demps got a good hit on me, and they were jawing a little after that, so that was fun."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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