Mistakes by the lake

The Ravens picked up today where they left off last week against the Arizona Cardinals, with their secondary getting shredded. Instead of a former Super Bowl MVP named Kurt Warner doing the shredding, it was a third-year Ravens castoff named Derek Anderson.

The only difference is that the Browns went after Ed Reed and Chris McAlister rather than Corey Ivy.


It started right on the opening possession of the game. Reed got twisted up trying to cover Joe Jurevicius, who caught a 27-yard pass down to the Ravens' 8. Jurevicius then caught a bullet from Anderson for a 2-yard score in front of Derrick Martin, playing in place of Ronnie Prude as Baltimore's nickel back.

Then it was McAlister's turn. Not used to being thrown at, McAlister bit on a fake to Jamal Lewis on the first play of Cleveland's next possession. It resulted in Anderson lobbing a ball over McAlister's head to a wide-open Braylon Edwards for a 78-yard touchdown, the longest throw in Anderson's brief career.


Just to show that they wouldn't let the secondary be the only culprits, the defensive line had its problems against Lewis and backup Jason Wright. After a slow start, Lewis broke free for a 28-yard run and Wright for a 12-yard run to set up another Cleveland touchdown, a 1-yard run by Lewis.

The touchdown came after the Ravens were called offside on what had been a missed field goal attempt.

Just like his players, Brian Billick was a little slow in reacting. After Lewis tried to leap over from the 1-yard line, he held the ball in front of his body, and officials ruled it a touchdown. Billick didn't throw his red flag in protest until after Phil Dawson had kicked the point after for the Browns to make it 24-3.

To make it a collective collapse, the Ravens also had trouble on offense and special teams.

Steve McNair appeared to still be having trouble making his throws because of a tender groin, often throwing flat-footed as he did on a pass that fell short of Todd Heap and was intercepted by Leigh Bodden. The normally automatic Matt Stover shanked a 46-yard field goal attempt and rookie Yamon Figurs, who ran back a punt 75 yards last week against the Cardinals, fumbled a return to set up the touchdown by Lewis.

When the Ravens had a chance to get back into the game -- this was the Browns after all -- with a first down at the Cleveland 11 with a little more than a minute left in the first half, McNair missed badly on three straight passes -- to backup tight end Daniel Wilcox, to wideout Demetrius Williams and to Heap that was nearly picked off. They had to settle for a field goal by Stover and a 24-6 halftime deficit.

That the Ravens were playing one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL -- next to last overall -- might have given Baltimore fans some hope of a big second-half comeback. But the Ravens would have to do something in the second half that they didn't do in the first half. They would have to come out looking as if they were ready to play.