Gregg rumbles with fumble against Raiders

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens are cornering the market on hefty defensive linemen in desperate need of an oxygen tank. For the second consecutive week, the Ravens had a behemoth bolt upfield with the football like a track star only to rapidly run out of energy.

In the second half of a 28-6 victory Sunday over the Oakland Raiders, 310-pound nose guard Kelly Gregg rumbled a franchise-record 59 yards on a fumble return down to the Raiders' 15-yard line. It was reminiscent of how 340-pound rookie defensive tackle Haloti Ngata rambled 60 yards on an interception last week only to intentionally run out of bounds shy of the goal line because he was so tired. "I think we have to time their 40-yard dashes with a sun clock," linebacker Bart Scott said. With middle linebacker Ray Lewis coaxing him to pitch him the ball, Gregg complied. Then, the stocky interior lineman collapsed in exhaustion and laid on his back near the Raiders' sideline.

When asked if he was faster than Ngata, Gregg replied: "I think I am. I was trying to squeeze by, but I got knocked out of bounds. "I wish I had heard Ray earlier. Give it to Ray or those guys, they can punch it in. We definitely can't. We're 0-for-2." Ravens coach Brian Billick joked that he might need to hire a track coach while outside linebacker Adalius Thomas offered a suggestion for Gregg's training techniques. "I'm going to get him some parachutes for the offseason," he quipped. Scott, however, said that Gregg is clearly more nimble than Ngata. "I give him a better grade, a B-plus, because Kelly went out of bounds not on his own," Scott said. "Kelly has short legs and a little more balance. He was moving pretty good for a little while."

TRAINING ROOM: Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden hyperextended his knee in the second half and didn't return. The injury isn't believed to be serious. "I should be fine for next week," he said. Cornerback Samari Rolle sprained his foot and left the game. His X-rays were negative. "It just wasn't getting better," Rolle said. "At this point, second game, I felt I would be hurting the team."

SHUTDOWN: The Raiders wanted to involve perennial All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss, but they rarely had time to throw the football deep. When quarterback Andrew Walter wasn't being battered by the defense, Moss was usually guarded closely by cornerback Chris McAlister and finished with two catches for 32 yards. "I think it went pretty well," McAlister said. "I would have liked to have had better technique, but it didn't really hurt us."

MESSAGE SENT: Rookie safety Dawan Landry is trying to build a reputation as an enforcer. He appeared to deliver that message in the second half with a devastating blow that knocked the helmet off a Raiders wide receiver Johnnie Morant to force an incompletion. "As a defensive back , you want to let them know that the next time you come through the middle you better watch out," said Landry, who had a team-high eight tackles.

FIRST PICK: Rookie cornerback Ronnie Prude demonstrated why the coaching staff has been praising him since he was signed out of LSU as an undrafted free agent. He returned an interception 54 yards in the final two minutes of the game to allow Baltimore to run out the clock. "It was a great feeling to be able to contribute," Prude said. "The coaches put me in position to make a play like that."

SALUTE: Once Mike Anderson christened the end zone for the first time as a Raven on a 34-yard touchdown run, the veteran runner hearkened back to his military heritage by snapping off a salute to the crowd. "It was a lot of fun," Anderson said. "Everybody had a hat on a hat. I slid out the backdoor and got in there."

ALL-TIME LEADER: Running back Jamal Lewis became the Ravens' leader in all-purpose yardage, eclipsing return specialist Jermaine Lewis' mark with 70 rushing yards to boost his career total to 8,067 yards. "We're starting to feel it, we had some good runs," Lewis said. "It showed at the end of the game what we can really do."

INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated outside linebacker Dan Cody, who doesn't play special teams, for the second consecutive week. Plus, Baltimore scratched cornerbacks David Pittman and Derrick Martin, running backs P. J. Daniels and Cory Ross, center-guard Chris Chester, wide receiver Devard Darling and defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin (thigh). With Darling out, wide receiver Clarence Moore was active. However, he didn't catch a pass.

QUICK HITS: It was only the second time the Ravens haven't allowed a touchdown in consecutive games in franchise history. The other time it happened was in 2000. … The Ravens have a plus-8 turnover ratio, improving to 36-0 under Billick when they post a plus-2 or better. … Matt Stover booted four field goals and has made his last 26 for a personal-best and the Ravens' all-time record. He hasn't missed since Week 7 of last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

Ravens Insider Top Stories