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Elvis Sighting Propels Ravens

November 26, 2001|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Shannon Sharpe knew Elvis Grbac could play better. On Sunday, Sharpe did his best to help the quarterback prove that point.

Grbac drove the Baltimore Ravens 74 yards in the final 90 seconds and Sharpe made a foot-dragging catch in the back of the end zone to rally the defending Super Bowl champions to a 24-21 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It was Sharpe who criticized Grbac last week after his five turnovers in a loss to the Cleveland Browns, prompting Coach Brian Billick to muzzle his players.

What Billick didn't do was completely rule out a change at quarterback. But now that debate is over.

"Anyone want to ask me who my quarterback is next week?" Billick said. "Again, remember now, that's why owners own, coaches coach, players play and writers write."

Grbac threw for 259 yards, and his winning touchdown pass with nine seconds left kept the Ravens (7-4) 11/2 games behind AFC Central leader Pittsburgh.

It ruined quite a comeback by the Jaguars (3-7), who used the no-huddle offense to rally from 17-0 down for a 21-17 lead on Stacey Mack's three-yard run with 1:32 remaining.

It was the third time in five games the Jaguars have blown a fourth-quarter lead.

"It's extremely frustrating to watch that take place, then talk to these kids about losing another football game we should have won," Coach Tom Coughlin said.

Tony Brackens recovered a fumble at the Baltimore 38 with 4:19 remaining and Jimmy Smith drew a pass-interference call to keep Jacksonville's go-ahead drive going at the Baltimore five. Two plays later, Mack sliced in and the Jaguars thought they had a victory that might have kept their slight playoff hopes alive.

But Grbac started doing his Joe Montana impression, hitting Qadry Ismail for 25 yards, Brandon Stokley for 17, Sharpe for 10 and Ismail again for 16.

On second and goal from the one, T.J. Slaughter tackled Jason Brookins for a two-yard loss. Then came the game-winner.

Sharpe slid behind safety Ainsley Battles and Grbac lobbed a perfect ball to the back of the end zone over Sharpe's head.

Sharpe dived to make the catch, dragging his feet just inbounds, and ended up flat on his back beyond the end line. He was smothered by his teammates, who helped celebrate the Ravens' fourth straight victory over the Jaguars.

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