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A Memorable Win for Ravens

September 11, 2000|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — The scenario was all too familiar to the Baltimore Ravens and their fans.

Baltimore had rallied from a 17-point deficit, only to fall behind with 1:45 left after Mark Brunell put together a drive that seemingly doomed the Ravens' bid for their first win over Jacksonville.

This time, however, Baltimore had an answer. Tony Banks' career-high fifth touchdown pass, a 29-yarder to Shannon Sharpe with 41 seconds left, lifted the Ravens to a rousing 39-36 victory Sunday.

Baltimore's first win over the Jaguars in nine tries enabled the fifth-year team to reach another significant milestone: sole possession of the AFC Central lead for the first time.

The victory seemed improbable after the Ravens trailed 17-0 in the first quarter and 23-6 at halftime. It seemed virtually impossible after Brunell hooked up with Jimmy Smith for a 41-yard touchdown to make it 36-32.

"In most situations, that's a victory," Brunell said.

"How many fans looked at that score and said, 'Here we go again?' " Raven Coach Brian Billick said. "And I can't blame them. But our guys were not going to allow that to happen."

Banks moved the Ravens 75 yards in seven plays. Sharpe, signed in the off-season for his prowess as a tight end and his playoff experience, caught the ball near the goal line and bulled into the end zone.

"It was like we won the Super Bowl," Banks said.

Sharpe's score ruined a magnificent performance by Smith, who had 15 catches for a team-record 291 yards and three touchdowns.

"The stats are good, but it doesn't matter when you don't win," Smith said.

Baltimore, 2-0 for the first time, has never finished a season with a winning record or participated in the playoffs. This year is supposed to be different, and the Ravens might have announced their arrival by ending their skid against the playoff-toughened Jaguars (1-1).

Early on, the Ravens made one blunder after another and fell behind, 17-0, in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, everything was going the Jaguars' way. Smith had 10 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns by halftime.

But the second half was all Baltimore.

Rookie Travis Taylor caught his second touchdown pass and Obafemi Ayanbadejo reeled in a five-yarder to cut the deficit to 26-22 entering the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville third-string running back Chris Howard, playing ahead of injured Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack, then lost his second fumble on the Jaguar 12 with 10:09 left. Banks passed to Jermaine Lewis in the end zone to give the Ravens their first lead.

It was 32-29 before Brunell brought the Jaguars back with a 61-yard drive that ended when Smith caught a deflected pass and broke a tackle by Duane Starks to score.


Better to Receive

The 291 yards receiving by Jacksonville's Jimmy Smith Sunday was the fifth-highest total in NFL history. The top 10:


Player (Team, opponent, date) Rec Yds TD Willie Anderson (L.A. Rams vs. New Orleans, Nov. 26, 1989) 14 336 3 Stephone Paige (Kansas City vs. San Diego, Dec. 22, 1985) 8 309 2 Jim Benton (Cleveland vs. Detroit, Nov. 22, 1945) 10 303 1 Cloyce Box (Detroit vs. Baltimore, Dec. 3, 1950) 12 302 4 Jimmy Smith (Jacksonville vs. Baltimore, Sept. 10, 2000) 15 291 3 Jerry Rice (San Francisco vs. Minnesota, Dec. 18, 1995) 14 289 3 John Taylor (San Francisco vs. L.A. Rams, Dec. 11, 1989) 11 286 2 Del Shofner (N.Y. Giants vs. Washington, Oct. 28, 1962) 11 269 1 Steve Largent (Seattle vs. Detroit, Oct. 18, 1981) 15 261 3 Wes Chandler (San Diego vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 20, 1982) 10 260 2


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