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Ravens Put Foot Down in Victory

October 09, 2000|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Baltimore Ravens are winning games with defense and field goals. The Jacksonville Jaguars are losing every way imaginable.

Matt Stover kicked five field goals and the Ravens came up with a team-record six turnovers in a 15-10 victory Sunday night that gave the defending AFC Central champions a three-game losing streak for the first time since 1996.

Baltimore (5-1), trying to become the first team since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers to record three consecutive shutouts, instead had to settle for its eighth consecutive division victory.

Jacksonville (2-4) lost at home in consecutive weeks for the first time since its expansion season in 1995. In a crucial stretch of their season, they fumbled four exchanges from center, losing two of them, and Mark Brunell was benched after two interceptions early in the fourth quarter.

"Some of these things are so bizarre it's hard to explain," Coach Tom Coughlin said. "I've lost games in my time, but I've never lost one like that. We just made some of the dumbest things I've ever seen happen."

Jamie Martin completed seven consecutive passes during a 75-yard drive, and Fred Taylor scored from the one to make it 15-10 with 4:04 to play. The Jaguars got one last try, but Martin's pass was intercepted on the desperation drive.

Brunell was visibly upset at being pulled.

"I was very surprised," said Brunell, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 167 yards. "I would have liked to have a chance to win the game. This is new territory for me."

The Ravens, who hadn't beaten the Jaguars before this season, swept the series and have one more leg left on their journey. Baltimore is the only NFL team to play five of its first seven games on the road, and its only loss so far was at Miami.

The Ravens have gone two games without scoring a touchdown. They gained only 193 yards and were only three for 17 on third-down conversions, but they never had to go far to score. On two drives, they actually lost yards before Stover kicked chip-shot field goals.

The Jaguars fumbled eight times, and even lost on the challenges--one of them cost Jacksonville a touchdown, the other prevented a fumble recovery.

On a bizarre play that embodied the Jaguars' fate, Tony Banks tried to get rid of the ball under pressure in the end zone and defensive end Tony Brackens snagged it for an interception. But he fumbled as he tried to bull across the line, and Baltimore recovered.

The Ravens were called for holding on the play, putting the ball on the two. Coughlin challenged unsuccessfully, and the Ravens escaped.

Two teams who combined for 75 points last month in the Ravens' 39-36 victory fizzled under the lights.

The Jaguars crossed midfield on every possession but their first one, and twice got inside the 15 without scoring.

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