With victory comes license to talk trash

October 27, 1997|By Ken Rosenthal

LANDOVER -- They left 'em crying.

Gus Frerotte on the bench. The booing fans in the stands. And the late Jack Kent Cooke, wherever he may rest in peace.

Some might suggest the rain amounted to tears from heaven, but that's assuming Cooke made it to a place even higher than the upper deck at his new stadium.

Let's take a poll in Baltimore.

And let's rename Raljon, while we're at it.

It shall now be known as Dajohn, after Art Modell's sons, David and John.

The Ravens liberated the town formerly known as Landover yesterday, and for the next week the flags in D.C. will fly at half-staff.

Where should Baltimore hang its state championship banner?

Maybe at the entrance to the Inner Harbor. Maybe over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Maybe from the raven's beak at the new stadium.

Decisions, decisions.

All because of a silly 20-17 victory in a silly little football game that represented greater justice than anything ever decided by the Supreme Court.

Yes, the lowly Ravens beat the mighty Redskins, even on a day when Vinny Testaverde thought he'd get a break on his taxes if he kept turning the ball over to Washington.

Yes, the lowly Ravens matched their victory total from last season, handing the Redskins their first defeat at a stadium that appears to have been purchased at IKEA.

Oh, it's not a rivalry, Washington told us. It wasn't a game with any particular meaning. It was just kooky little Baltimore, getting all in a huff over nothing.

As usual, the nation's capital is out of touch with the real world, both on and off the field.

The Redskins figured they'd go 7-2 after beating Dallas two weeks ago. But guess what? They're now 4-4, just like the lowly Ravens.

All week, Orlando Brown heard it from his Washington buddies, heard how the Redskins were going to smoke the Ravens, blah, blah, blah.

"They were saying that we were going to lose, and that if I lose, I've got to wear a Redskins hat around our complex," said the Ravens' offensive tackle, a native of Washington.

"I was like, 'Nah, I ain't about to lose. And I ain't wearing no Redskins hat around the complex.' "

Did he plan to seek out his friends?

"I'm going to see 'em right now," Brown said, smiling. "I'm about to give 'em some Ravens hats. And they're going to have to sport 'em."

Ravens receiver Jermaine Lewis, a native of Lanham, went even further. His parents are Redskins fans. Most of his friends are Redskins fans.

He viewed the victory as validation.

"You do it against them, you're all right," Lewis said. "Now I get to talk some trash."

Isn't it amazing the way everyone still perceives the three-time Super Bowl champion Redskins as an NFL power?

They're 6-10 in their past 16 games.

Beating them only means you've beaten a mediocre team.

Several players mentioned that the Ravens won "bragging rights" yesterday. Coach Ted Marchibroda said the team played "close" to its best game.

Easy, fellas.

The Ravens got a career game from Bam Morris. They sacked Frerotte three times and intercepted him once. They had the ball for 10 minutes more than the Redskins.

And still, they almost blew it.

Two fourth-quarter plays stood out, two fumbles by Testaverde, two audibles that would have gone down in Baltimore infamy if the Ravens had lost this game.

The first came on a first-and-goal at the Redskins' 6, with the Ravens leading 17-14. The Ravens were supposed to run, but Testaverde changed the play after seeing the Redskins line up six men in the box against five blockers.

Someone -- it might have been Morris -- knocked the ball out of Testaverde's hands. Morris recovered, "wrasslin' " the ball away from a Redskins lineman at the bottom of the pile. But the Ravens had to settle for a field goal.

"We didn't need that," said Brown, who leaped several times in anger while officials sorted out the play. "It was crunch time. That's the time to score, not to be fumbling the ball."

The second Vinny moment (actually the third, if you count an earlier fumble he lost and recovered) occurred on second-and-three at the Ravens' 27.

Morris had just rushed for 7 yards, but Testaverde again changed the play to a pass. He had so much time to throw, he stood flat-footed for several seconds. But then he scrambled and fumbled, and the Redskins recovered.

Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden appeared to scream at Marchibroda as he left the field. The Redskins wound up with a field goal, again closing within three points.

"Stop audibling, stop fumbling, right?" Testaverde said. "I wish it was that easy."

Sadly, it's always something with Vinny, a stand-up guy and above-average quarterback who has a unique knack for screwing up at the wrong time.

But at least he's better than Frerotte.

The Redskins' beleaguered quarterback had two chances to drive for the tying field goal. He botched the first with an incompletion, sack and illegal forward pass. He botched the second with an interception.

But at least he's better than Heath Shuler.

Oh, those Redskins. They'll spend a week debating whether Jeff Hostetler should replace Frerotte. And then maybe they'll lose to the 0-7 Bears in Chicago.

Sing along, Baltimore:

Hail to the Ravens, hail victory.

Champions of Maryland!

The kings of JKC!

Pub Date: 10/27/97

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