Ravens' offense still misfiring

OWINGS MILLS -- Derrick Mason was open by a few steps, so Anthony Wright intently looked at his primary read and delivered the football Sunday on the Baltimore Ravens' fourth offensive snap.

The problem was the quarterback's spiral was underthrown and behind Mason, a lack of precision that cost him. It allowed Detroit Lions cornerback Dre' Bly to recover from a stumble to break on the first of his two interceptions.

Although the Ravens' 35-17 loss to the Lions was heavily impacted by their misbehavior, including a franchise-record 21 penalties and two ejections, four turnovers made the transgressions nearly impossible to overcome.

"Interceptions are going to happen," Wright said. "I don't think that's what lost the game. Turn on the film and you'll see Peyton Manning thrown an interception, that's going to happen.

"The thing is we went in at halftime down 10-14 and still had an opportunity to win the game. It got to the point where we just gave up too many penalties and gave up too much yardage and it was hard for us to battle uphill."

The first interception set up the Lions' first score as Baltimore (1-3) lost its fifth road game in a row. It continued the Ravens' trend of not starting quickly regardless of the locale.

On his second interception to Bly, Wright tried to improvise on 3rd-and-goal. He was looking for Randy Hymes after leaving the pocket and forced the football into traffic in the end zone. Bly, who later recovered a fumble, swooped in for another interception.

"From a physical and execution standpoint, Anthony knows very well some of the mistakes he made and what he needs to do better," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They were very easy to see. One was a physical error where he threw the ball a little bit behind the receiver.

"The other was a mental error, forcing the ball into the end zone trying to make something happen as opposed to taking the three points. You show that to him, cover what happened and hope that he internalizes it so that he can take us forward."

Wright completed 20 of 37 passes for 230 yards, throwing two touchdowns and finishing with a 68.5 passer rating. He made some decent plays downfield, completing passes for 48, 23 and two 21-yard completions.

He connected with tight end Todd Heap and running back Jamal Lewis for 6 and 15-yard touchdowns, respectively, with Lewis scoring on a shovel pass.

"We did some things throwing the ball," said Billick, whose running game generated a season-high 159 yards on 30 carries.

Ultimately, though, the penalties were overwhelming. Plus, fullback Ovie Mughelli and Mason both lost fumbles in Lions territory.

A quarter of the way through the season, Baltimore ranks 16th in passing with an average of 216 yards per game.

Wright has completed 79 of 129 passes for 800 yards, a 61.2 completion percentage. He has four touchdowns and six interceptions for a 69.9 passer rating, which ranks him 27th in the NFL.

The Ravens did register a season-high for points against the Lions. They entered the game averaging a mere 10 points, but only improved to 11.8 points per contest. They rank 31st in scoring with only five touchdowns and four field goals.

"We've been growing and maturing as an offense," Wright said. "Each week, it seems like we've been getting better. It seems like every week we're putting up more points. That's what we'll continue to try to do."

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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