This time it's the Jets who are being accused of cheating.
Ravens coach Brian Billick yesterday accused New York of using an "illegal" ploy to draw Baltimore offside during Sunday's game.
Billick said the Jets' defense shouted out signals to intentionally throw off the Baltimore offense. The coach claimed the tactic led to the three illegal procedure penalties against the Ravens.
"They did an outstanding job. I credit the New York Jets. Their defensive line and linebackers did a very, very effective job of illegally simulating the snap count," Billick said. "They did it the whole game long. It needs to be caught."
Tackle Adam Terry bolted offside in the first and third quarters. Tight end Quinn Sypniewski jumped in the first quarter.
"That's not an excuse by any stretch of the imagination. But it is illegal," Billick said. "Our guys have to deal with it. I don't know how to help my linemen with that because, you're in the heat of battle and you're calling the snap count, and the guy across from you is also calling a snap count - which is illegal."
The Ravens won the game, 20-13. Baltimore took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter but nearly wilted under a comeback by the Jets, who benefited from four fourth-quarter penalties vs. Baltimore.
For the game, New York received two penalties for 10 yards and the Ravens were penalized 11 times for 100 yards.
The Ravens expect to have injured quarterback Steve McNair (groin) back for this Sunday's game against Arizona, but defensive end Trevor Pryce will miss at least three weeks after undergoing surgery on his broken left wrist. Pryce was hurt in the third quarter.
Kevin Everett is showing some movement in both hands and greater strength in his leg muscles, further positive signs for the Buffalo Bills tight end following a life-threatening spinal-cord injury.
"Kevin Everett remains medically stable in the intensive care unit, and continues to make daily improvement in his neurological status," Bills doctor John Marzo said yesterday in a statement released by the team.
Everett was hurt making a tackle during Buffalo's season-opening game against Denver Sept. 9. He arrived at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in Buffalo paralyzed from his neck down, and doctors feared he never would walk again.
Fisher pact extended
Titans owner Bud Adams said more than a year ago that coach Jeff Fisher wouldn't be going anywhere. Yesterday, the NFL's longest-tenured coach with his current team said he hopes to finish his career in Tennessee.
Adams picked up the 2007 option on Fisher's contract at the end of last season, and an extension had been expected since then. Fisher said they finally worked out the last details last week.
"Never at any time was I of the opinion it was not going to get done," Fisher said. "What was most important to me was the team and the players and winning games."
Fisher is in his 13th season with the franchise that used to be the Houston Oilers.
He is 18-32 since the team's last playoff berth and winning record in 2003.
The news wasn't as positive for the Titans on another front, as assistant coach Chuck Cecil was arrested and charged with drunken driving and violating Tennessee's implied consent law by refusing a blood alcohol test Saturday night.
Metro Nashville police stopped Cecil, a former NFL safety and now the Titans' defensive backs coach, for driving 42 miles per hour in a 30-m.p.h. zone.
Cecil appeared before a night court officer just before midnight and was on the sideline Sunday.
Andersen is back
The Atlanta Falcons again are turning to kicker Morten Andersen. One day after Matt Prater missed two field goals in the Falcons' 13-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Falcons cut him and signed the 47-year-old Andersen. Andersen, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL's career scoring leader with 2,445 points, is also the Falcons' leader with 707. He was Atlanta's kicker from 1995-2000 before coming back for a second stint with the team last year. Andersen was 20 for 23 in field-goal attempts in 14 games with the Falcons last season, including 7 for 8 from 40 to 49 yards . . . Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington could soon have a new backup. Byron Leftwich, cut by Jacksonville in a surprise preseason move, could sign a deal with the team this week. ESPN reported Leftwich will take a physical today, but a Falcons spokesman said there has been no agreement with the 27-year-old Leftwich, who has had ankle and knee woes.
As the QBs turn
Lane Kiffin is sticking with Josh McCown as his starting quarterback this week against Cleveland even after the Oakland coach called the Raiders' passing game "embarrassing" in their latest loss. McCown went 8 for 16 for 73 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted three times and failed to generate any consistent offense through the air against the Broncos. But Kiffin said McCown gives the team a better chance to win than Daunte Culpepper and would remain the starter at least for this week . . . Despite an impressive fourth-quarter performance by backup Kellen Clemens at Baltimore, Chad Pennington will remain the Jets' starter - as long as he's healthy. "Chad's the starter and I'm the backup. That's been clearly communicated," Clemens said. "Whoever's healthy and ready to go will go on Sunday and we trust the coaches to put us in the best position to hopefully get that first victory." Whether that means Pennington, who didn't play against the Ravens because of an ankle injury, will be healthy enough to start against the Miami Dolphins remains to be seen. "If he can, he will," coach Eric Mangini said. "We'll just assess it throughout the week." . . . New York Giants rookie receiver Steve Smith probably will miss at least two games with a broken shoulder blade. Smith was hurt in the first quarter of the Giants' 35-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers after catching a 10-yard pass. The Giants also announced that backup defensive end Adrian Awasom suffered a fractured transverse process in his neck . . . According to Bloomberg News, Michael Huyghue, a former professional football executive and player agent, was named the first commissioner of the new United Football League, scheduled to begin play in August 2008 . . . Besides the Patriots-Bills game, the other locally televised game Sunday will be Giants at Redskins at 4:15 p.m. on Channel 25.