For starters, Morris carries Ravens' offense Running back's yardage: 109 rushing, 73 receiving


November 11, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht and Vito Stellino | Gary Lambrecht and Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The debut of Bam Morris as the featured running back in the Ravens' offense was a smashing, 250-pound success yesterday.

After spending three weeks warming up for his first game as a starter, Morris took over the Ravens' offense with gusto by producing 182 total yards. He was easily the brightest spot in the Ravens' 30-27 loss.

Morris rushed 26 times for 109 yards -- the sixth 100-yard game of his three-year career -- and added three catches for 73 more, including a 52-yard scoring play in which he knocked Jacksonville safety Dana Hall off his back at the Jaguars' 25.

"Bam played a fine ballgame," Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said. "We ran the ball much more and Bam certainly did what he was brought here to do."

Following his 52-yard scoring pass with 5: 39 left in the first half, Morris needed time to catch his breath on the sideline, although it was surprising that he remained there for the rest of the half.

The Ravens held the ball for the last four minutes during the 58-yard scoring drive, in which veteran Earnest Byner rushed six times for 27 yards. Byner carried for 3 yards on a first-and-goal at the Jacksonville 5. Quarterback Vinny Testaverde then ran out of bounds to stop the clock with five seconds left. Matt Stover then kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 17-3 halftime lead.

Would Morris have been a good fit in the goal-line offense?

"We thought we needed some fresh legs in there," Marchibroda said.

"I was all right," Morris said. "I needed a couple of minutes after that 52-yarder, but after that, I was cool. They [the coaches] wanted Earnest in there, and that's cool, too. It's their call."

1-2 punch at tight end

Last month, it appeared Eric Green would soon pass Brian Kinchen as the Ravens' No. 1 tight end. That hasn't happened yet. What has happened is they have combined to make the position a dangerous one for the opposition.

Kinchen started yesterday, then shared time with Green, and between them they had seven catches for 86 yards. Kinchen even contributed as a blocking back, since Carwell Gardner did not play because of a sore shoulder.

"It was fun doing that, but it's hard to have much fun after something like this happens," said Kinchen of the Ravens' blown lead. "As long as I've been here, we were always trying to get an offense that could put points on the board. We've got one now, and we still can't win. It's amazing, absolutely amazing."

J. Lewis breaks loose

Rookie Jermaine Lewis had his most productive day of the season. The fifth-round draft pick out of Maryland averaged 21.2 yards on four kickoff returns and 11.3 yards on four punt returns. He nearly broke off a punt return for his first touchdown in the second quarter, but Jacksonville punter Bryan Barker flipped him with a hard tackle.

Lewis took some ribbing from his teammates after that play.

"I saw some daylight as I came flying around the corner, but he hit me before I could make the cut on him," Lewis said.

M. Lewis looks for answers

Marvin Lewis is looking for answers.

The Ravens' defensive coordinator, who switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 last week because he's so short of players, saw his defense contain the Jaguars for three quarters and then give up 17 points in the fourth quarter on drives of 89, 90 and 66 yards.

Lewis said the Jaguars did the same things in the second half that the Ravens stopped in the first half.

"You have to learn how to finish," he said. "You have to make the same plays throughout the game. In the two-minute situation, you can't make errors. You can't make mistakes."

Lewis said Mark Brunell is tough to defend against because he's mobile and the receivers adjust to his moving.

The Ravens couldn't stop him when they had to.

"Good players got to win the game for you," he said. "You've got enough young guys and guys who haven't been through the wars. Your good players, your older experienced players have got to make the plays to win the games. That's what it comes down to."

T. Jones: Playoffs tough

Offensive lineman Tony Jones was distraught after the game.

"It'll be real hard to make the playoffs," Jones said. "I don't know if 9-7 will get us there or not. We're still going to fight. We're not going to give up, because we deserve to win. We deserve to be happy. Right now, I don't know where we'll go from there. We're not going to cash in the season and quit. We needed this game and we didn't get it."

No consolation for Goad

Defensive lineman Tim Goad took little consolation in the effort the team gave compared to last week against Cincinnati.

"This one, we didn't give up," he said. "We fought right down to the end. We gave everything we could give. Last week, we didn't. Each loss is tough to swallow. But this one is a little tougher than last week because we fought right down to the end. We didn't make the plays."

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