Flying start for Ravens in 17-9 win Bring down Eagles in return of NFL before record 63,804

Lewis secures victory

Ex-Terp returns punt 75 yards with 2: 09 left

August 04, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

The sneak preview was fairly successful, both on the field and at the gate.

The Ravens defeated the Philadelphia Eagles last night in the first NFL game played in this city involving a Baltimore team in 13 years.

Jermaine Lewis, a rookie receiver out of the University of Maryland, ended the spectacular and emotional night with a 75-yard punt return down the left sideline with 2: 09 left in the game to secure the win for the Ravens.

The Ravens' first string also showed some guts and promise despite playing in only the first half of the game.

Quarterback Vinny Testaverde was impressive in the two quarters, completing 11 of 14 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Michael Jackson also put on a show (( with four receptions for 83 yards.

And those two first-round picks? Top rookie and offensive guard Jonathan Ogden was impressive with his pass protection, but his run blocking seemed a little suspect.

As for rookie linebacker Ray Lewis, well, no one will be mentioning Pepper Johnson's name this week. Lewis was physical and emotional, even registering his first NFL sack in the third period.

But the Ravens probably will have to work on the running game, which netted only 25 yards in the first half, and possibly find another starting cornerback to pair with starter Antonio Langham.

The Ravens played in front of a crowd of 63,804 last night, the largest ever to see an NFL game in Baltimore. The previous mark was 61,479 set in 1983, the same year the Colts left Baltimore for Indianapolis.

The Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half, going 48 yards in 12 plays as Gary Anderson kicked a third field goal of 41 yards to cut the Ravens' lead to 10-9 with 7: 54 left in the third period.

Philadelphia had a good balance of pass and run during the drive, but Ty Detmer's completed pass to Freddie Solomon on third-and-seven from the Ravens' 27 was 3 yards short of the first down, forcing Anderson on the field.

But Lewis ended any thought of a comeback with his punt return. Lewis took the ball, started to his right and then darted to his left. He got a great block from fullback Richard Thomas on Derrick Witherspoon to burst through the wedge, and then turned on the sprinter's speed for the touchdown.

The Ravens took a 10-6 lead into the half thanks to two goal-line stands and some nifty passing from Testaverde to Jackson.

Testaverde led the Ravens on the final drive of the half, going from the Ravens' 31 with 1: 40 left in the half to the Eagles' 14.

Testaverde completed passes of 12, 17, 17, 3 and 2 yards during the drive, but his last pass fell short to wide receiver James Roe on a third-and-two at the 14 with 29 seconds remaining. But Matt Stover kicked a 32-yard field goal three seconds later to complete the seven-play drive and give the Ravens a 10-6 lead at the half.

The Eagles had several opportunities to score in the first half, but only could manage field goals of 28 and 24 yards from Anderson.

Anderson's first field goal came after an eight-play, 43-yard drive with 14: 08 left in the second quarter to put the Eagles ahead, 3-0.

The Ravens came back, though, on their next possession, going yards in five plays. The Testaverde-to-Jackson connection clicked again as Testaverde threw to Jackson for a 23-yard reception on one play, and then threw a 31-yard touchdown reception to Jackson down the right sideline for a 7-3 lead with 11: 04 remaining in the half.

But Philadelphia came back, mounting a drive that started at its own 30 and going down to the Ravens' 13, the big play being a 23-yard scrambling run by quarterback Rodney Peete on third-and-six at the Ravens' 47.

But on fourth-and-one at the Ravens' 4, defensive tackle Dan Footman penetrated and stopped running back Vaughn Hebron for a 1-yard loss.

Pub Date: 8/04/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.