Breathtaking returns: Starks, Dixon, Lewis
In back-to-back-to-back plays in the third quarter, the three players total 230 yards and three touchdowns.
By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001
TAMPA -- Two decades from now, those who were here will tell those who weren't a litany of tall tales. They will say that at Super Bowl XXXV, on a Sunday when the Ravens dismantled the Giants 34-7, the defining moment was on this play or that.
For the benefit of those who didn't see the game, here's a candidate for the time capsule:
Late in the third quarter, the Giants fell behind 17-0 when Duane Starks intercepted a Kerry Collins pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. The Giants, desperately needing a big play, got it when receiver Ron Dixon ran the ensuing kickoff back for a breathtaking 97-yard touchdown return to make the score 17-7.
Just like that, the Giants were alive again.
Their players were energized.
Their fans, and their signature white towels, were bubbling.
Fifteen seconds later, Jermaine Lewis slapped them in the face.
Last month, Lewis was crushed when son Geronimo was stillborn.
He found a reason to smile on this cool night.
He fielded Brad Daluiso's kickoff at the Ravens 16 and began a most exhilarating run to redemption.
With teammates Corey Harris and Sam Gash providing downfield assistance, and Geronimo watching from above, Lewis dodged and deeked into history.
His 84-yard touchdown return not only negated Dixon's heroics, but sucked the life from New York for good.
There were other critical plays.
Take for instance Trent Dilfer's shining moment, a 38-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley that gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
It was still early, and the lead was still just one touchdown, but for a man once possessed by Raymond James Stadium demons, the softly thrown deep ball that burned cornerback Jason Sehorn might as well have been an exorcism.
Then there was Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister's interception late in the second quarter. In a game dreadfully lacking offensive punch, the Giants seemed to be rolling toward erasing most of Baltimore's 10-0 lead. They combined a 16-yard reception by Dixon and a 27-yard run by Tiki Barber to get a first down at the Baltimore 29.
But on first down Collins tried to hit tight end Pete Mitchell in the end zone, only to see McAlister time his jump perfectly and intercept the pass at the 1.
With less than a minute left before halftime, the Ravens ran out the clock.
Kickoff returns for TDs in the Super Bowl:
Fulton Walker, Dolphins (98 yards vs. Redskins, 1983)
Stanford Jennings, Bengals (93 yards vs. 49ers, 1989)
Andre Coleman, Chargers (98 yards vs. 49ers, 1995)
Desmond Howard, Packers (99 yards vs. Patriots, 1997)
Tim Dwight, Falcons (94 yards vs. Broncos, 1999)
Ron Dixon, Giants (97 yards vs. Ravens, 2001)
Jermaine Lewis, Ravens (84 yards vs. Giants, 2001)
Today's Super Bowl story lineup
- Rockin' Ravens
- MVP caps Lewis' strange journey
- 'We're the greatest of all-time'
- Q&A with Brian Billick
- Modell savors a Super year at last in a different city
- Ravens win doesn't improve Cleveland's mood
- I see your return, and raise you one
- Ravens defense stakes its claim
- Mizell: Trent in land of wonder
- Shelton: Baltimore's defense leaves a lasting impact
- Fry: QB Collins should shoulder the blame
- Ginn: CBS' new replay system a look into the future
- Zucco; For some, it's the party, not the game
- Deggans: Pregame coverage lacked local images
- Auman: Third quarter tests Internet's immediacy
- Trigaux: Ads, not football, supreme in Super Schmooze XXXV
- Giants grasp for answers
- Q&A with Jim Fassel
- Dungy a bit surprised by game's outcome
- Ravens rose on Giants' mistakes
Inside the game
- Super Bowl XXXV by the numbers
- Breathtaking returns: Starks, Dixon, Lewis
- Sehorn coverage error leads to touchdown
- Look familiar? Defense gets ball, offense runs
- First quarter: Play by play
- First quarter: Best & worst
- Penalty negates a big play for the Giants
- Second quarter: Best & worst
- Second quarter: Play by play
- Third quarter: Play by play
- Third quarter: Best & worst
- Best 36 seconds in Super Bowl history
- Fourth quarter: Play by play
- Fourth Quarter: Key Play
- Fourth quarter: Best & worst
- Big game and week before it seen as win for bay area
- What they're saying: Stupidity rules the roads
Beyond the sidelines
- Four bars' patrons quaff winnings of Bud Bowl
- Big crowds, big spenders
- Altruism? That's the (free) ticket
- Many avoid traffic nightmares
- Tickets stolen? Too bad
- Unusual musical pairings bring fire to day's festivities
- Area dancers show pregame joy, nerves
- Corporate America buys star execs ultimate party
- Some just don't care about the big game
- On Super Bowl Sunday, the party's anywhere
- Celebrity watch
- Brought to you by ...