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Ravens defense stakes its claim


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001


DEFENSE: Okay, okay the Ravens have the greatest defense of all time. (Unless Mean Joe Greene is reading this, in which case Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain is clearly the greatest.)

IMITATION OF A DANCING FOOL: Ray Lewis, sans helmet, showing off his most, um, unique dance-floor moves during pregame introductions.

RENDITION OF AN ANTHEM: Ray Charles, singing America the Beautiful. The Backstreet Boys did a pretty version of the Star Spangled Banner, but Charles sounded true and oh-so-blue.

SENSE OF HUMOR: Ticket holders were provided a one-shot disposable camera and given these instructions in the box: "Every single person in this stadium simultaneously flashing (we're talking about the flash on this camera of course) in the single biggest flash stunt ever created."

SHOW OF COURAGE: Okay, it is not like he pulled a Ronnie Lott and had part of his finger amputated, but Trent Dilfer continually stayed in the pocket and absorbed hits while waiting for his receivers to get open. Kerry Collins looked more like Lou Brock dropping into a slide whenever a defender came within 5 yards of him.

BLOCK ON A RAVENS KICKOFF RETURN: Corey Harris took out the final two Giants with a shot at tackling Jermaine Lewis on his 84-yard touchdown.

BLOCK ON A GIANTS KICKOFF RETURN: Ryan Phillips had the block that sprang Ron Dixon on his third-quarter return.

TIME FOR A PENALTY: New York's Lomas Brown was called for false start with the ball shy of the Giants one. New York was penalized half the distance to the goal, which may have been about 15 inches.

OLD COOT ROCK ACT: They may have dated 'N Sync's mothers -- okay their grandmothers -- but Aerosmith still has some bite. Albeit with their dentures.

PREDICTION: That it would be a defensive struggle. The special teams and defenses outscored the offenses.

FIELD GENERAL: Norman Schwarzkopf.

IMITATION OF A BUCS QUARTERBACK: No, it wasn't Dilfer. Collins wiped out New York's only scoring chance of the first half by throwing into double coverage and getting picked off at the goal line.

HIT: Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper sending receiver Ike Hilliard into next week with a vicious shot on an incomplete pass to open the second quarter.

VOICE IN THE STADIUM, NON-SINGER CATEGORY: Paul Olden, normally voice of the Devil Rays, as the public address "Voice of God" announcer.

LOOKING BARBER: Tiki or Ronde? Ahh, call it a tie.


DECISION BY A SAFETY: New York's Shaun Williams failing to respond when Brandon Stokley ran a fly pattern past Jason Sehorn on a 38-yard touchdown.

REACTION BY A TEAMMATE: Sehorn immediately turning and looking at Williams after the touchdown, blatantly passing the blame.

ATTEMPT AT A MAKEUP PLAY: After slipping on a first-quarter play, Sehorn tried to trip receiver Patrick Johnson. Sehorn missed Johnson, but so did Dilfer.

OFF-FIELD ISSUE: Traffic, which was enough to delay the Giants team bus and the media shuttles.

DISAPPEARING ACT: Paging Shannon Sharpe. If he is in the building, will Shannon Sharpe please pick up the courtesy telephone.

COACHING DECISION: New York's Jim Fassel who, two years ago, advised Brian Billick to accept an offer from Baltimore instead of Cleveland for his first job as head coach.

CASE OF TIME MANAGEMENT: When it became painfully obvious the halftime show was going to go way too long, the stadium clock froze its countdown at 6:00. When the music acts left the stage and the stage was being taken down, the clock came back to life.

TIME TO GO TO THE BATHROOM: Three touchdowns were scored in 36 seconds late in the third quarter.

"YESTERDAY'S NEWS' PROMOTION: CBS all week trotting out the supposed celebrities from the original Survivor to hype the debut of the next show.

TIME FOR A PENALTY: Holding on Giants defensive tackle Keith Hamilton, negating what would have been a game-tying interception return by Jessie Armstead five minutes into the second quarter.

SITUATION TO STEP INTO: Tony Banks made his Super Bowl debut in the third quarter when Dilfer left with a hand injury.

FIELD GENERAL: Kerry Collins.

CASE OF LOBSTER CLAWS: Ravens defensive tackle Larry Webster dropping a deflected pass deep in Giants territory in the first quarter.


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