Ravens left 'vulnerable' after sloppy loss in Buffalo Print
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Monday, 22 October 2007 12:09
NFL Headline News

 OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -The Baltimore Ravens bolted for their luxury cars and SUVs, revved up their engines and zoomed out of the team's practice facility to begin a seven-day vacation.
The scene took place Monday afternoon, even though it seemed as if the Ravens launched their bye week 24 hours earlier with a lackluster performance in Buffalo.
Eleven penalties. A costly turnover. Not one single point during the first half against the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL.
It all added up to a bitter 19-14 loss, leaving Baltimore with a mediocre 4-3 record at the break.
``Being at 4-3 we have left ourselves vulnerable, like every team that has two or three losses,'' coach Brian Billick said Monday. ``At some point, one of those losses will come back to bite you.''
Granted, the Ravens faced Buffalo without several injured players, most notably quarterback Steve McNair, tight end Todd Heap, cornerback Chris McAlister and defensive end Trevor Pryce. But that doesn't explain five offside penalties on the defense and two false start calls against the offense.
The players just didn't have their minds in the game, and it showed.
``It was a lack of focus on offense and defense. We had both sides jumping offsides,'' said Willis McGahee, who ran for 114 yards and a touchdown.
In the days before the game, the Ravens' coaching staff realized there was a chance the players would be looking past the struggling Bills.
``We talked and tried to bring focus, recognizing the potential for that in playing a 1-4 team before the bye week,'' Billick said. ``You address it as best you can. But it's after the fact now.''
The Ravens learned a lesson. Unfortunately, it cost them a chance to wrest the AFC North lead from Pittsburgh, their next opponent on Nov. 5.
``It certainly would be a much more enjoyable week sitting here at 5-2 than at 4-3,'' Billick said. ``I don't what the lingering effects (of the loss) are.''
He does, however, realize that it would be pointless to punish the players by making them work this week. The Ravens are collectively tired, sore and very much in need of some time off.
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Billick said everyone but tight end Daniel Wilcox (foot) should be available to practice when the team returns next Monday. That includes Ogden, who played in two series - his first action since the season opener. The 6-foot-9 left tackle has been dealing with a hyperextended left big toe for nearly 11 months.
``I didn't aggravate it again so that's the good thing,'' Ogden said. ``I did what I had to do out there. A couple more weeks and I should be full-go.''
McNair will also be back after missing two straight starts - and much of the first seven games - with groin and back injuries.
``I think we're where we hoped he would be in terms of his health going into Pittsburgh,'' Billick said. ``I have nothing to lead me to believe he won't be as healthy and fresh as when we started the season. Which is kind of unique.''
 

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