These closed doors didn't belong to locker room 7 coaches get trapped in elevator, miss over half of third quarter


November 25, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Roch Eric Kubatko and Vito Stellino contributed to this article.

More than 57,000 fans at Memorial Stadium watched the Ravens extend their 16-10 halftime lead to 22-10 over the Jacksonville Jaguars during the third quarter yesterday, but nearly a third of the Ravens' coaching staff was not around to see it.

That's because five Baltimore coaches, along with two from Jacksonville, got stuck on a stadium elevator while trying to make their way to the coaches box after intermission.

Defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, receivers coach Mike Sheppard, tight ends coach Pat Hill and quality control assistants Jim Schwartz and Eric Mangini spent 25 minutes inside the faulty elevator.

They missed the Ravens' 54-yard touchdown drive to open the half. They didn't see Jacksonville's Mike Hollis miss a 41-yard field-goal attempt. They didn't see Jaguars defensive tackle Andre Davis go down with a dislocated ankle.

With 6: 50 left in the third quarter, the coaches emerged, running single file behind a police escort through the press box to pick up their headsets and take their places. Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, had even jumped in to keep the lines of communication open with the Ravens' sideline.

What were they thinking during their unexpected imprisonment?

"I tried to stay in there," Lewis said. "We finally got an update and we had the lead. When I heard the score, I was thinking stay in here and don't screw it up.

"Just one more thing in a series of things that have gone wrong for us this year," he added. "How ridiculous was it? It took them so long to figure out which elevator wasn't working. They were fixing the wrong elevator."

While the coaches were missing upstairs, the Ravens adjusted on the sideline. Head coach Ted Marchibroda and quarterbacks coach Don Strock ran the offense, and linebackers coach Maxie Baughan called the defenses, with help from defensive line coach Jacob Burney.

"If there's one thing about Marvin, he's always prepared," Baughan said. "We have a call sheet on the sideline in case something like this happens. But we were scared to death they were going to get stuck in there for the whole game."

On the officiating

The Ravens have been fairly diplomatic handling questions about the quality of officiating, but yesterday, the gloves came off after the men in stripes had a particularly shaky day.

It started when the Ravens had a fumble recovery taken away midway through the first quarter. Greg Montgomery's punt bounced off the chest of Jacksonville's Chris Hudson and the Ravens' Mike Frederick appeared to fall on the ball inside the Jaguars' 25. But the play was nullified by an inadvertent whistle, which automatically ruled the play dead where Hudson muffed the play at the Jacksonville 15.

Seven plays later, Ravens cornerback Antonio Langham appeared to force a fumble when he hit tight end Pete Mitchell after he had begun to turn upfield. Stevon Moore recovered the ball, but it was ruled that Mitchell never had possession. The Jaguars ended up punting from inside their 20.

The fourth quarter stood out, as well. Ravens safety Eric Turner was called for roughing the passer when he hit quarterback Mark Brunell just after he released an incomplete pass, setting up Brunell's 11-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell, which cut the Ravens' lead to 25-17 with 12: 04 left. On the Ravens' next possession, the officials apparently missed some calls.

First, they elected not to call pass interference on cornerback Bucky Brooks, who wrapped up Ravens tight end Brian Kinchen's arms as Vinny Testaverde's third-and-nine pass sailed by.

Then, on fourth down, the Ravens committed a false start, but that didn't stop a Jacksonville player from roughing Montgomery as he followed through on his kick. A scuffle ensued, after which Ravens running back Earnest Byner was penalized for retaliating. No penalty was called on Jacksonville.

"I think it's always a problem when a call is made and there is no call to be made," said Marchibroda, who was especially miffed about the inadvertent whistle call. "I've never seen that kind of call made in that situation. That's the thing that boggles the mind. Make a call or don't make it. But make sure there is a call to be made."

Marchibroda said he was not going to appeal to the league office.

"And what happens if I do that? The score will be the same and we lost. What good would it do? You tell me, what good would it do? I wish I knew the answer. Do you think I'd like to hear on Thursday, 'Gee, you were right Ted'?"

Long wait for Brew

Rookie cornerback Dorian Brew waited nearly 55 minutes to get into the game on defense, and his day did not have a happy ending. He got beat by Jacksonville receiver Willie Jackson on the 7-yard touchdown pass from Brunell, who ran in the ensuing two-point conversion to tie the game at 25 with 1: 24 left.

Streak continues

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