Master of trickery

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' extensive repertoire of gadget plays and trickery has revealed the creativity of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens' extensive repertoire of gadget plays and trickery has revealed the creativity of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Whether it's his variation of the trendy single-wing offense, wide receiver option passes, double reverses or utilizing big defensive tackle Haloti Ngata as a blocking tight end, Cameron hasn't hesitated to use his imagination to forge an imprint on an offense that had been notoriously stagnant for years until his arrival.

Could the Statue of Liberty play, flea-flickers or perhaps even a few touches for the 6-foot-4, 345-pound Ngata, a former standout rugby player, be in the offing?

"There's always a creative mind, right?" Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "There's always things you can go to."

In a 34-3 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mark Clayton hit fellow wide receiver Derrick Mason in stride on a 32-yard option pass for a touchdown.

It was Clayton who scored on a 42-yard double reverse to open the season against the Bengals.

And rookie quarterback Joe Flacco caught a 43-yard pass from backup quarterback Troy Smith against the Oakland Raiders operating the so-called "Suggs package."

If Cameron ever runs out of bright ideas, his suggestion box is overflowing with players lobbying to be included in the game plan.

"I think our motto has been, by any means necessary," Mason said. "We're going to find a way."

There has also been a liberal amount of old-fashioned option plays with Smith operating under center.

The result has been a less predictable, higher-scoring attack.

The Ravens are now tied for 10th in the NFL in scoring with 24.3 points per game, leading the league over the past seven games with a 30.6 average since Oct. 19.

"I think the offense is only going to open up more things for more guys," tight end Todd Heap said. "I think this is what we've been waiting for in an offense: being versatile and a lot of guys making plays and a lot of different guys getting the ball in their hands. It's a lot of fun, and it's what we need as an offense."

Against the Bengals, the Ravens revealed a lot of their playbook in one defender's opinion.

"They dialed up everything that they had," Cincinnati defensive tackle John Thornton said. "They had Troy Smith in there and were running reverse passes and stuff. I think we got to see their whole playbook, we were out there so much."

The Ravens gained a season-high 451 yards of total offense against the Bengals, but are confident that they have more in store for the future.

"Offensively, we're doing so much moving the ball around and everyone is getting involved," middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. "All of those pieces over there, I just think it's exciting the way we're playing football overall."

One key to Clayton's touchdown pass was the convincing block Mason threw at the beginning of the play to make cornerback Leon Hall believe it was a reverse, not the spiraling pass that wound up sailing over his head.

"Derrick Mason did a great job of selling the stalk block," Harbaugh said. "He didn't just give it a perfunctory stutter-and-go. He got in there and dug in and blocked their corner for a good period of time and made it seem like a run.

"And then he took off. That's what really sells a play like that. It's really the execution of it more than anything."

At the heart of the Ravens' emerging offense, though, is the bedrock of a physical running game that ranks third in the NFL with 143.8 yards per contest.

Without that benchmark, it would be extremely difficult to orchestrate these higher degree of difficulty, razzle-dazzle displays.

"I think the trick in the whole thing is to build a foundation first and , within that, to be creative," Harbaugh said. "So when you talk about coach Cameron and what he's done with our offense, we're a fundamentally sound offense.

"We're built on a foundation that is fundamentally rock solid, and that's what we believe in. And within that, you build some creativity in, and I think guys understand that is what your offense is about."

NOTES: Harbaugh said during his weekly radio show that Flacco's hand is not injured, refuting a broadcast report out of Washington. ... The Ravens plan to wear their black jerseys for Sunday night's game against the Washington Redskins.

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