Besides Yanda, the Ravens' scratches included wide receiver David Reed (ACL surgery), linebackers Sergio Kindle (left shoulder stinger), Josh Bynes (cracked vertebrae), Darryl Blackstock (groin, ankle) and Suggs, offensive tackle (strained right calf), safety Sean Considine (concussion), tight ends Dickson (sprained right shoulder) and Dennis Pitta (broken right hand) and defensive lineman Ryan McBean (broken left
ankle).

Pitta is out of his cast after undergoing surgery.

"It feels a wholelot better," Kindle said. "I think I'm pretty close."

McPhee returns

Excused from practice all week following the death of his father, defensive end Pernell McPhee played in the game and blocked a Josh Scobee field goal attempt.

McPhee's father was 66.

"We were real close," McPhee said. "Old age, it was just his time to go. When it's your time, it's your time and you never know when it will happen."

McPhee said he appreciates the support of his teammates and coaches, including several text messages and telephone calls.

"That's one thing about this team is everybody loves everybody," McPhee said. "As soon as I got back, everybody surrounded me like I was home and put a smile on my face and said they were happy to see me back. They're proud of me that I took it like a man."

McPhee deflected Scobee's 30-yard field goal try in the third quarter.

"Actually, I just tried to penetrate through the gap," McPhee said. "I jumped and got my hand up. It wasn't nothing spectacular. I try to block every field goal, but I just got that one. I tell myself, 'Never take a play off.'"

Improvement from replacement refs?

Although the NFL's replacement officials have been almost universally criticized for a series of suspect calls
during the preseason, NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson said he's noticed encouraging signs of improvement.

"We expected going in, just like the players going through the preseason, that every week they would get
better," Anderson told The Sun. "The first week, we had some rough spots and we got better from the first week to the second week and we expect to get better this week, too, and on and on.

"This is the third week and it seems to me they've had a pretty solid first half. Uneventful, that's exactly what you want. That's the improvement we expect."

The NFL has instituted clinics to try to upgrade the standards of the replacement officials' work.

Meanwhile, no labor peace is in sight as the NFL and the regular referees are reportedly far apart in
negotiations as the impasse continues.

"Labor peace, absolutely, that's the goal, but it's got to be under circumstances that we believe are
reasonable and hopefully they believe are reasonable," Anderson said. "We're not there yet. Eventually, hopefully, we'll get there. In the meantime, these current officials are the ones out there and we'll work with them."

End zone

Rookie running back Bernard Pierce hurdled a Jaguars defender in the third quarter, but paid for his acrobatics as he was pummeled into the ground. ... Jaguars rookie first-round wide receiver Justin
Blackmon had success against the Ravens' secondary, catching four passes for 72 yards. That included a 27-yarder at the expense of starting cornerback Cary Williams, who's had a rough preseason following offseason surgery on his right hi

awilson@baltsun.com