Notebook: Long day for Ravens' Cousins

PITTSBURGH – Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Oniel Cousins' matchup against Pittsburgh Steelers explosive outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley got off to an inauspicious start. Woodley spun past Cousins with ease in the first quarter to hit quarterback Joe Flacco while he was attempting to throw. And the pass deflection triggered an easy pop fly for middle linebacker James Farrior to intercept.

That breakdown set up the Steelers' first score. It was a sign of more bad things to come during the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.

Woodley wound up beating Cousins repeatedly to finish with a game-high 10 tackles and two sacks. "They're good players," Cousins said. "Me, personally, I got to continue to get better and learn from this and move on."

In the fourth quarter after Cousins went back in the game after suffering a mild left knee injury, Woodley beat him two plays in a row for sacks.

His second one caused Flacco to fumble with rookie defensive lineman Ziggy Hood recovering the loose football.

"I think we were going against a pretty good pass-rushing team," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I think our guys competed. I'm sure there were some situations where we could have held more and some situations where we didn't hold.

"Maybe we were on the wrong side. You've got to help on those outside guys and you do the best you can when they're inside and outside. Sometimes, we weren't in the right spot. For the most part, we held up okay."

Harbaugh said the team never gave serious consideration to shifting right guard Marshal Yanda to right tackle when Cousins got hurt and having Chris Chester step in for Yanda.

"It came up in conversation," Harbaugh said. "At that point of the game, you haven't practiced that way all week, I don't think it would be wise. Oniel was competing."

Cousins was also flagged for a personal foul in the fourth quarter that pushed the Ravens out of field goal range.

"I thought the play was still going," Cousins said. "I was just trying to finish. There's nothing I can do about it. I got to learn from it and grow from it."

It was only Cousins' third start of his NFL career.

The inexperienced former third-round pick fared well against the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears.

The Steelers' pass rush is an entirely different breed, though. It's an elite defense.

"They're a great team, they're great players," Cousins said. "We got to watch the tape and learn from it and move on."

SECONDARY PLAYS WELL: Overall, the Ravens' shorthanded defensive backs held up well against a formidable Steelers passing game.

One week removed from piling up 503 yards passing and three touchdowns in a win over the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 17 of 33 passes for 259 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 75.2 passer rating.

He had two interceptions nullified by Baltimore penalties.

"I thought they played well," Harbaugh said. "I thought they competed. I thought they covered well. We had a couple plays and situations where we tried to come after him and had him singled up in situations and I thought Santonio Holmes made some nice plays.

"You can't just stay back in coverage, so we got to him a few times, too. That's the give and take, that's the back and forth of football."

The Ravens were playing without free safety Ed Reed (groin) for the fourth game in a row. And cornerback Chris Carr replaced Lardarius Webb as the starter with the rookie out for the season with a knee injury.

In the second quarter, Holmes scored on a 24-yard touchdown pass to extend his scoring streak against Baltimore to seven consecutive games.

Foxworth also allowed Holmes to secure a 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter that set up Jeff Reed's game-winning field goal.

"Holmes knew what he was running, I knew what he was running, we all knew what he was running," Foxworth said."There's a lot of grass out there, and it's a play that I honestly feel like I should've made but didn't. And that's kind of the moral of the story. We didn't make plays that we should have."

Signed this week, Corey Ivy played in the nickel package along with Frank Walker.

The Ravens' secondary played well overall, but Foxworth wasn't satisfied.

"We didn't win," Foxworth said. "That's the main accomplishment, and they have a great defense over there. We feel strongly about how good our defense is, so that when we go into games like this, it's important for us, in our minds to outplay the other defense, which we didn't do.

"They made play after play. We made quite a number of plays, but, when it came down to it at the end, we didn't make enough."

BIG GAME FOR RAY RICE: Running back Ray Rice had another strong game against the Steelers, rushing for 141 yards on 30 carries. In doing so, he became the first running back to top the century mark in 33 games against the Steelers' top-ranked rushing defense.

Rice also caught one pass for 14 yards to finish with 155 yards from scrimmage. For the season, he finished with 305 yards of total offense against Pittsburgh.

"They're a stout defense," Rice said. "I don't know my stats, but we look for wins. We didn't get the job done, and we've just got to come out and get ready to play against Oakland. Our minds are on Oakland."

STRONG DEBUT: Returning kickoffs for the first time since he was a senior at Toledo, reserve running back Jalen Parmele made a strong impression in his first game in place of Carr.

He returned five kickoffs for 145 yards, including a 49-yard return, to average 29 yards per return.

"I can't even take credit," he said. "There was some great blocking. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win. I definitely felt comfortable out there considering I hadn't taken a live kickoff since college."

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens didn't report any new injuries after the game.

When asked if he's going to play next week, Reed replied: "I don't know, man."

Foxworth seemed to suggest that Reed might not play again this year.

"Since we lost Reed as one of the leaders in the secondary, I think we all look at it that way," Foxworth said when discussing the lost opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

QUICK HITS: The Ravens deactivated offensive tackle Jared Gaither (foot) for the third game in a row, respectively.. … The Ravens also scratched defensive tackle Kelly Talavou (knee), offensive lineman David Hale, safety Keith Fitzhugh, wide receiver Justin Harper (knee), linebacker Tavares Gooden (groin) and third quarterback John Beck. Zbikowski started his fourth game in a row with Reed and out Dannell Ellerbe started for Gooden.… The Steelers deactivated strong safety Troy Polamalu (strained posterior cruciate ligament), offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu (sprained medial collateral ligament, wrist), cornerback Keenan Lewis, fullback Carey Davis, offensive guard Kraig Urbik, defensive end Sunny Harris, wide receiver Joey Galloway and third quarterback Charlie Batch. … The Ravens' game captains were safety Tom Zbikowski, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, wide receiver Derrick Mason, quarterback Joe Flacco and middle linebacker Ray Lewis. … Flacco was as surprised as Mason following the two-time Pro Bowl selection's dropped touchdown in the second half. "I think we were all surprised, but you just have to move on and continue that drive," Flacco said. "We were still in a position, where we think we're going to put the ball in the end zone, ended up hurting ourselves there, and not getting anything." … Wide receivers Mark Clayton (knee, hamstring) and Kelley Washington (ankle) returned after missing the past two and one games, respectively. … Long snapper Matt Katula had a high snap on punter Sam Koch's 21-yard shank. The Ravens signed rookie Nick Sundberg to the practice squad last week, but didn't activate him despite Katula's tendinitis in his snapping elbow. … Roethlisberger now has 4,000 passing yards for the season and running back Rashard Mendenhall went over the 1,000-yard mark.


Ravens Insider Top Stories