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Penalty negates a big play for the Giants


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001

The biggest play of the second quarter never happened.

Officially, anyway.

With 10:36 left in the first half, Baltimore quarterback Trent Dilfer dropped back and lofted a short pass toward running back Jamal Lewis. The ball ended up in the arms of Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead, who sprinted 43 yards for a potential game-tying touchdown, which sent much of the crowd into a frenzy. Before the Giants could celebrate, the play was wiped out by a defensive holding penalty.

The drive later ended with a punt, but Dilfer and Co. had dodged a big one.

A very big one.

New York had two other scoring opportunities, but the drives ended with interceptions.

The first came with 10:44 left in the quarter, when a Kerry Collins pass was picked off by Jamie Sharper at the Baltimore 43 after being tipped by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. The second miscue came with 1:03 left and the Giants on the move. One play after a 27-yard Tiki Barber run to the Baltimore 29, Collins underthrew receiver Ike Hilliard and was intercepted by Chris McAlister at the Baltimore 1.

Neither of Collins' miscues led to Baltimore points, but both helped Baltimore stay in control. And the Ravens, who did little on offense, needed all the help they could get.

Much of their second-quarter offense came on one play.

With 2:56 left in the half, Dilfer connected on a 44-yard pass with Qadry Ismail, who beat Giants defensive back Dave Thomas on the play. Thomas recovered to tackle Ismail at the New York 36, but four plays later Matt Stover was good on a 47-yard field goal that gave Baltimore a 10-0 lead.

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