Mulitalo out for season


PITTSBURGH -- Ravens left guard Edwin Mulitalo tore his left triceps muscle yesterday and will not play the rest of the season.

Mulitalo was hurt in the second quarter of the Ravens' 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a play he described as routine.

He is expected to have surgery soon and will have further tests on the arm today.

"We'll take a look at it [today] to know when for sure," Mulitalo said. "But it's pretty bad."

Mulitalo was replaced by Bennie Anderson, who had been rotating at right guard with Mike Flynn.

Known as one the Ravens' most durable players and a solid run blocker, Mulitalo has not missed more than two games in a season since he became a full-time starter in 2000. He and Casey Rabach are the only offensive linemen to start every game this year.

It is not known yet whether Mulitalo's surgery will hinder him heading into training camp next season, but it's likely he'll make a full recovery by then.

Former Ravens offensive tackle Leon Searcy tore his triceps during training camp in 2001 and was projected to be out 10 to 12 weeks, but he did not return that season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Anthony McFarland also had season-ending triceps surgery earlier this year, and his rehab is expected to last two months.

Anderson likely will start Sunday's regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins, and the Ravens will make Brian Rimpf the top backup.

"I'll get it ready for next year," Mulitalo said.

Next for Ravens

Matchup: Miami Dolphins (4-11) vs. Ravens (8-7)

Site: M&T; Bank Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

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

Line: Off the board

Series: Dolphins lead 4-1

Last meeting: Dolphins won, 9-6, in overtime on Nov. 16, 2003, in Miami.


The score of the Jacksonville Jaguars' game against the Houston Texans appeared throughout the stadium, but center Mike Flynn said the Ravens never got caught up in scoreboard watching.

The Texans pulled a 21-0 upset, a win that would have significantly helped the Ravens had they won.

"I didn't see it [the scoreboard]," Flynn said. "But with this league, you always have to anticipate the team you're trying to catch is going to lose. There is a lot of parity in the league, and we had every intention of making the playoffs. We felt confident against Pittsburgh but just didn't get it done."


Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller's 28-yard rushing total was his best since Week 2, when he ran for 34 in a victory over the Steelers.

Boller running around is not always a good sign for the Ravens, but one of his scrambles did convert a third-down situation.

"There are a lot of times when teams ... don't have anybody on the quarterback, and if I see a lane, I might be able to take off," Boller said. "It makes it tougher on them because they have to kind of put a guy on me. I had some opportunities to take off and run."

The major tarnish on Boller's statistical sheet was a first-quarter interception by linebacker Joey Porter, but that was largely set up by James Harrison's hit as Boller was throwing.

"It gave [Porter] kind of a belated Christmas present," Boller said.

The last time Porter intercepted a pass came against the Ravens in 2002.


The Steelers' Jerome Bettis last rushed for more than 100 yards against a Ravens defense seven years ago.

Yet his 117 yards on 27 rushes yesterday provided a vintage glimpse of Bettis, who passed Eric Dickerson for fourth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list with 13,294 career yards.

"The milestones have been incredible [but] it pales in comparison to what this meant to the team," Bettis said. "We accomplished everything we can possibly accomplish in a [regular] season in terms of home-field advantage [throughout the AFC playoffs]. It was really special."

One run included a head-and-shoulder smash into the midsection of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, whom Bettis eluded a time or two on sweeps as well.

"It was just a matter of pounding on them," said Bettis, who had a 100-yard-plus game for the 60th time in his career and 49th time with the Steelers.

It also was his sixth 100-yard game this season in seven starts, all within the past nine games in place of injured starter Duce Staley.

"We have been doing that all year," Bettis said. "That is how we are going to win a football game. We ran it, we ran it and we ran it. At that point, it showed that they could not stop us and we could pretty much do what we wanted."

- Chuck Finder, special to The Sun


The Steelers' touchdown on their opening possession was just the second the Ravens have given up in the first quarter this season. ... Travis Taylor, Wade Richey, Bart Scott, Brian Rimpf, Tony Pashos, Aubrayo Franklin, Dwan Edwards and Anthony Wright were the Ravens' inactive players.


Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress ran a perfect corner route for a 36-yard touchdown catch on Pittsburgh's opening drive, a play in which cornerback Gary Baxter could only shake his head in appreciation.

"What can you say? It was a touchdown," said Baxter, who was trailing Burress on the play.

It was the longest completion of the day for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who drew equal praise from Baxter. Before leaving the game in the third quarter with a rib injury, Roethlisberger was 14-for-19 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 125.1.

"One of the things that hurt us was him making things happen, scrambling and keeping the play alive," Baxter said. "It's hard to cover when a guy is making plays like that."


Kicker Matt Stover missed his second straight field-goal attempt, the first time he's missed two in a row this season, hooking to the right his only attempt from 44 yards. Stover's previous attempt was blocked against the Indianapolis Colts.

As for what happened on a kick that would have brought the Ravens within a touchdown in the third quarter yesterday, Stover said, "It was just a bad kick. I didn't hit it very clean, a little slice on it. It stayed right on me. It started in the middle, then went right on me. You've got to hit it clean in that environment, and I didn't."

Stover had not missed back-to-back field-goal attempts since 2002.



For the first time in his five-year career, receiver Travis Taylor was deactivated despite being healthy enough to play. The Ravens chose to have Randy Hymes available after he had been inactive the previous two games.

Taylor, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, leads the Ravens with 34 catches for 421 yards but has no touchdown catches.

The Ravens thought Hymes provided a better matchup, and he led the team with four catches for 55 yards yesterday. Taylor also has a nagging back problem.

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