As much as Ravens fans and media flog coach Brian Billick for calling more passing plays than running plays, at least Billick trusts quarterbacks Steve McNair and Kyle Boller to throw the football.
It is clear that San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan and offensive coordinator Jim Hostler do not have a similar faith in Trent Dilfer. The former Raven has gone back to pass just six times in the first half. Dilfer completed two for eight yards and was sacked by linebackers Bart Scott and Jarret Johnson.
The lack of confidence was never more apparent than when on three third-down situations of at least 5 yards, Dilfer handed the ball off to his running backs. After the third time, the crowd at Monster Park booed. Other notes:
• The team's medical staff is reviewing X-rays on left tackle Adam Terry's left ankle and taking a look at center Mike Flynn's right knee. It would appear that Terry's injury -- suffered as Terry planted his left foot, which bent awkwardly in his attempt to block 49ers linebacker Tully Banta-Cain -- is the more serious of the two.
• The loss of Flynn and Terry saps the Ravens' offensive line of experience, but the line of (from left to right) Jared Gaither, Jason Brown, Chris Chester, Ben Grubbs and Marshal Yanda may inject some youthful energy into the offense. At 24 years and nine months, Chester is suddenly the elder statesman of the group.
• The disparity between return specialists Yamon Figurs and Cory Ross is startling. Ross may protect the ball better than the rookie, but he does not have nearly the burst of speed that Figurs can provide on returns. Ross looked slow out there compared to Figurs.
• Running back Willis McGahee is averaging more than five yards per carry (12 rushes for 62 yards), but he is not the focus of the offense. McNair has thrown 25 passes, completing 18 for 126 yards. Surprisingly, the Ravens began their two-minute drill before halftime by handing the ball off twice to McGahee.