Ravens notes from the Insiders

With rookie quarterback Kyle Boller continually being pressured by the Pittsburgh Steelers blitzing linebackers, the Baltimore Ravens lost 34-15 in Pittsburgh.<br><br> Starting his first regular season game, the Ravens' number one draft choice was besieged and battered by Steeler defenders seemingly almost every time he dropped back to pass.

Boller completed 22 of 43 passes for only 153 yards, many of which were short stop routes and dump-offs. Boller was sacked twice and threw one interception.

"Give the Steelers credit. They played very well," said Boller. "They were quick."

Breakdowns by both the offensive and defensive units contributed to the Ravens finding themselves down 27-0 in the closing minutes of the third quarter.

The Ravens offensive line had trouble opening holes for Jamal Lewis, who managed to rush for 69 yards on 15 carries.

Baltimore finally got on the board when Lewis raced 14 yards with 1:56 remaining in the third quarter. The Ravens' scoring drive covered 80 yards in only three plays, but 62 of those yards were from penalties. Two of the three penalties assessed to the Steelers on that drive were for pass interference.

"We'll have to look at the films and see where the breakdowns were," said head coach Brian Billick. "We had to throw short as they were protecting deep and taking away our deep balls. Kyle has a good head about him. He has a good thought process."

Trailing 34-7, Pittsburgh's Verron Haynes coughed up the ball when hit by Marques Douglas. Kelly Gregg fell on the ball at the Steeler two yard line. Three plays later, Boller rolled right, slipped, righted himself and then ran back to his left where he found Travis in the left corner of the end zone. Going for two, Boller hit Todd Heap for the two-point conversion, making the final score 34-15.

BRIAN BILLICK

"It was very disappointing," said Ravens head coach Brian Billick moments the loss. "We'll have to go back to the drawing board and see what worked and what didn't," said Billick as he wiped the sweat from his head with a towel. "We have another shot at them at the end of the year." Billick went on to say, "I think we reacted to adversity fairly well, being only down by six points. But then, we fell apart. We blew assignments. We'll have to look at the film and see where the breakdowns were."

Asked how the Ravens stacked up against the Steelers, Billick responded, "We have to match up with them if we want to win this division. They're 1-0 and the rest of us are 0-1. We're only one game behind them."

Offensively, the Ravens were not able to use their vertical passing game as much as they would have liked. Stifled deep, they had to resort to stop routes and dump-offs. One reason for this was the intense pass rush that was created by the Steelers' blitzing linebackers. That pass rush kept rookie Kyle Boller on the run all afternoon.

There also another reason.

"They were protecting against the deep routes," said Billick. "They took away the deep balls."

Even though the Ravens lost, Billick saw bright promise in Boller's debut.

"Kyle has a good head about him. We'll look at the film and see what needs to be done. He has a good thought process. Kyle, like the rest of the team, is resilient and will go forward. This is not the end of our season; it's the beginning.

KYLE BOLLER

Kyle Boller may have been bent by Sunday's intense pass by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Baltimore Ravens rookie quarterback was unbowed.

"Give the Steelers credit. They played very well. They were quick. The game was played at a very fast pace," said the Ravens number one draft choice. "I'll take some experiences away from this. I have to expect better performances from myself."

Boller was not happy with the way the Ravens struggled on offense, picking up only 240 yards in total offense.

"When you get a little momentum going, you have to keep moving the chains. We didn't do that," said Boller matter-of-factly. "When we take a look at the films, I'll be able to see what I did wrong."

When asked about tailback Jamal Lewis's contribution, Boller said, "Jamal is awesome. He runs so hard and gets to the hole so fast."

The game ended with the Ravens on the Steelers' 27 yard line. Baltimore had even called a timeout with only three seconds remaining, trying to get one more play off.

"The game is not over until the last second," said Boller. "It would have been nice to build a little bit of momentum with one more score."

"I hate losing. Losing is the worst thing that can happen to you," declared Boller. "I have to make up for losing. Losing is something that is not on my agenda."

In regards to being intercepted by Pittburgh's Kendrell Bell at the Steelers' 30, Boller said, "I needed to put the ball out there. I read the defensive back, but I didn't read the linebacker. I'm going to make mistakes. I just don't want to make the same mistake twice."

With that, Boller walked away, mentally starting to prepare for next week's home game versus the Cleveland Browns.

Chuck Greenwood


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