Sunday morning felt unusually good to me. I threw on my Todd Heap jersey and Ravens cap Iíd secured during the Blackbirdsí 2000 Super Bowl Run. I bounced out the door, took a deep breath of the crisp late summer Baltimore air, started cranking the new Harvey Danger record.
Every bit of me believed the Ravens were going to wallop the defending AFC East champion Colts.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Anthony Wright throws in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, in Baltimore. Wright entered the game after quarterback Kyle Boller was injured. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Visiting my mom, I asked her for a prediction. A fan from the days when the Colts played at Baltimoreís beloved Memorial Stadium, she said the Ravens didnít stand a chance in hell.
Hanging out with my Sunday NFL buddies, digesting a cheeseburger, a gigantic Blue Moon ale, and ten simultaneous games, I heard further predictions of Baltimoreís doom.
Even the bag boy at my local grocery store called me out, declaring Baltimoreís defense would have a brilliant day, but it was time to bench Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright a chance. I kind of shrugged him off. Kyle still deserves a chance, right?
Anthony Wright. That name keeps popping up in Baltimore.
Boller looked a bit more than decent in the first quarter of Sunday eveningís debacle, but his game fell apart in the second quarter. The boy quarterback couldnít complete a pass longer than four yards, and anything he threw beyond the first down marker cleared the intended receiverís head by at least five feet. Ugh.
When Larry Trippletís vicious tackle put an end to Bollerís night, he gave so Baltimore fans what they wanted. A chance to see a healthy Anthony Wright lead the O. Sure, it wasnít an ideal situation, down by 17 with the 3rd quarter winding down, but itís what a vocal majority of the Ravens faithful were waiting for.
To give a little backround, Anthony Wright is something of a folk hero in Baltimore. After engineering a brilliant comeback against Seattle in 2003, he went 5-2 as the clubís starting QB, leading the Ravens to the playoffs. A first-round loss to Tennessee did little to dissuade fans that Wright was the man. Regardless, Boller started every game in 2004. Wright nursed an injured shoulder for much of the season.
Head Coach Brian Billick has been the president of the Kyle Boller apologists club for the last two seasons. Give him time, he told the fans. Heís right around the corner from developing into a franchise quarterback. Coach Billick lectured fans to not boo him, that it would just empower the opposing defense.
The tempo change when Wright started out of the shotgun was amazing. Boller seemed afraid to make a mistake; he played like a frightened child. Play it safe, donít to anything to shake things up. Wright made plays decisively; trying to make something happen in a game many fans had to believe was already a lost cause. Two interceptions and a fumble be damned, Anthony Wright played to win, finally securing a TD pass with a mere 15 seconds left in the game.
For now, the starting situation is obvious. With Kyle Bollerís ďsevereĒ case of turf toe, itís fair to assume heís out for a couple of weeks. But if Wright shows the same fire in the pocket against Tennessee, how can Brian Billick justify re-instating Boller as the starter?
I wonít be Kyleís apologist anymore.
God knows the Ravens have other questions to answer.
Time to replace one of those question marks with a period.
Miles Moscareillo returns to MOP Squad after a two-year hiatus spent at the Television Hill Insane Asylum. Now mostly healthy, he roots a little too enthusiastically for Baltimore sports in all forms.