Heap quickly regaining form


Todd Heap stood at a podium and answered questions about Kyle Boller's stellar game and what that might do for the quarterback's confidence.

Could it be, though, that the Ravens tight end, who had a memorable game of his own with two touchdown catches, received a boost as well?

"I don't think I needed [it]," Heap said. "I'm comfortable with myself. I know what I can do."

What Heap did in the Ravens' 37-14 win over the New York Giants yesterday was look remarkably similar to the Pro Bowl tight end upon which his team has relied heavily the past two years.

Heap finished with five catches for 76 yards, but it was his first touchdown catch that showcased the strength in his previously injured ankle.

Midway through the second quarter and with the Ravens up 10-0, Boller found Heap 3 yards shy of the end zone cutting across the field. While Heap's momentum was carrying him toward the sideline, he stopped on a dime, cut back toward the middle of the field and ran through two arm tackles to score.

"The move I made wasn't that great," said Heap, who missed nine consecutive games with the ankle injury before returning last week. "But luckily it got in the end zone."

The concern about the ankle was mostly taken care of last week.

"Confidence-wise in my ankle, last week was the week that I needed," Heap said. "Now it's just about going out and playing football. I have confidence in my ability, and now it's just time to build our offense."

Heap's second touchdown catch was a more familiar sight. Late in the third quarter, he outjumped and outfought cornerback Will Allen for the ball in the end zone.

"I stepped it up this week," Heap said. "I was just glad to get in there and be a part of the offense."


Safety Ed Reed notched his eighth interception of the season, setting a Ravens single-season record.

Reed's interception, which helped set up Matt Stover's field goal at the end of the first half, gave him 20 for his career, tying the team mark held by Rod Woodson, Ray Lewis and Duane Starks.

"That doesn't mean anything until [the season] is done," Reed said. "Somebody else is going to come and break it sooner or later. Right now I'm just focused on winning football games. I couldn't care less about individual accolades."


After watching his former team suffer its second-worst beating of the year, Ravens senior offensive consultant Jim Fassel was not gloating.

Fassel, who coached the Giants for seven seasons before losing his job last year, said he felt for his old team.

"With all those guys that I'm so close to, it's like you're playing your brother or cousin," he said. "You know them. You still want to beat them bad. But there is nothing more to it. I really don't take pleasure in beating ... people I have respect for."


Ravens receiver Travis Taylor surpassed the 200-reception mark for his career. Taylor finished with three catches for 33 yards and has 202 receptions for his career. ... The Ravens signed long snapper Mike Solwold to the roster. Solwold snapped in place of Joe Maese. ... Ravens linebacker Bart Scott injured his knee and will have a magnetic resonance imaging test today. ... Linebacker T.J. Slaughter suffered a mild concussion. ... Ravens coach Brian Billick is 25-11 after a loss, second best in the NFL among active coaches. .. Maese, Anthony Wright, Wade Richey, Tony Pashos, Randy Hymes, Cornell Brown, Maake Kemoeatu and Dwan Edwards were inactive.


Nickel back Deion Sanders returned from a toe injury that had sidelined him the previous four games.

While Sanders' biggest contribution came on a lateral by Ed Reed after an interception - setting the Ravens up for a field goal at the end of the first half - he did not appear to be favoring the injury while playing about 30 snaps.

"It's good," Sanders said. "I think it's just a trust issue going on with myself and my toe. But throughout the game I was able to dismiss the pain and perform."


Chester Taylor has had two of the quietest 100-yard rushing games imaginable.

The Ravens' backup running back topped the mark for the second straight game yesterday, finishing with 104 yards on 25 carries.

But Kyle Boller's four touchdown passes, Todd Heap's return to his Pro Bowl form, Jamal Lewis' presence, the Ravens' defense shutting down No. 1 draft pick Eli Manning and acrobatic catches by Clarence Moore pushed Taylor to the background, the same place he was last week after the Cincinnati Bengals' amazing fourth-quarter comeback.

"I'm not tripping as long as we're winning," Taylor said. "I don't like all the attention anyway."

Taylor has 674 yards this season, just 9 fewer than Lewis.

"We had that discussion," Taylor said. "I told him I'm on him, so he has to step his game up. I like competing. We're after each other. If he gets healthy, I'm sure he's going to get back to his regular carries, and I won't get that many."


The Giants left little to the imagination about part of their offensive game plan, attacking cornerback Gary Baxter early and often in the first half.

The Giants tried to go after Baxter with Amani Toomer four times in the first quarter, but Baxter met the challenge and recorded his first interception of the season on a deep ball down the sideline.

Baxter fumbled without being hit on the return, but the ball went out of bounds and the Ravens took over at their 32-yard line.

"As I was running, I was thinking about my bad shoulder," Baxter said. "I was like, 'I need to get this ball out of my bad shoulder.' But I've got to work on my ball skills a little bit because I fumbled the ball. I'm in the interception club now, so it's all good."

Cornerback Chris McAlister, meanwhile, said only one pass was thrown his way all day.

"It was a boring day," McAlister said. "It was like I just showed up and put my uniform on."


Quarterback Kordell Stewart took his first snaps of the season with slightly less than four minutes left in the game.

Though Stewart did not attempt a pass on any of his six plays, the 10-year veteran said he considered the experience worthwhile.

Kyle Boller had played every offensive snap for the Ravens until yesterday.

"Everything matters," Stewart said. "Were there any implications in the sense of the game? No. But every time you get a chance, it's always positive. Always."

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Ravens (8-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (10-3)

Site: RCA Dome, Indianapolis

When: Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13, ESPN/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line: Colts by 8 1/2

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