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Best 36 seconds in Super Bowl history


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001

With their offenses struggling as expected, the Ravens and Giants exchanged defensive and special teams broadsides in perhaps the most exciting 36 seconds in Super Bowl history.

When the amazing half-minute was over, Baltimore had opened a 17-point lead and seemingly was ready to huddle around the Lombardi Trophy.

The Ravens landed the first mega-blow when cornerback Duane Starks stepped in front of Amani Toomer and returned a Kerry Collins pass 49 yards for a 17-0 lead.

But New York's Ron Dixon counterpunched on the ensuing kickoff with a 97-yard touchdown return, igniting hope on the Giants bench.

The euphoria was brief, however, as Jermaine Lewis delivered the knockout blow seconds later, taking Brad Daluiso's kickoff 84 yards up the sideline for a touchdown.

Baltimore led 24-7, and that margin looked even bigger as its defense continued to harass Collins. The Ravens intercepted him two times in the third quarter.

Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer briefly was knocked out with two injured fingers on his left hand but returned for easy duty: handing the ball off to Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes as the Ravens began to drain off precious seconds.

Lewis, a rookie, had 67 yards on 19 attempts after three periods. Dilfer, who took several hits in the quarter, continued to play well enough to win, ending the quarter with 136 yards and a touchdown on 11-for-24 passing.

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