Green catches red-hot reviews Tight end's banner game ends with nine receptions

Ravens Notebook

R. Lewis has up-down day

November 03, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF Vito Stellino and Brian Heyman contributed to this article.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. FTC — EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tight end Eric Green's day started with a catch, continued with a fight, got interrupted by a concussion, and ended with a clutch performance that was his )) most notable as a Raven.

The Ravens would not have forced overtime had wide receiver Derrick Alexander not caught Vinny Testaverde's 16-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left in regulation. But the Ravens would not have been in position to tie the game without Green.

Four times during the Ravens' 80-yard, game-tying march, Testaverde hooked up with Green. Two of the receptions went for first downs, and Green's catches combined to produce 35 yards. His 9-yard reception preceded Alexander's sparkling reception in the left corner of the end zone.

"It was an opportunity for me to make some plays to help my team, and that's what I'm here for," Green said. "Vinny was throwing me the ball, and I just had to make the catches."

That capped off a nine-reception, 80-yard effort for Green, who ,, was lucky to be around long enough to make those late grabs. Three minutes into the contest, Green's day took a blurry turn. After catching Testaverde's first pass for a 7-yard gain, Green was drilled into the Giants Stadium turf by Jets linebacker James Farrior with a hard tackle. Several minutes later, Green left the game with a concussion.

"It was a good, legal play. He hit me in the back of the head," Green said. "That's the first time that's ever happened to me."

Shortly before Green left the game, though, he got in another lick -- on the Jets sideline, where Jermaine Lewis was hit hard out of bounds by linebacker Marvin Jones after a 14-yard pass completion.

Jones was flagged for a personal foul. Amazingly, Green got away with a retaliatory strike. Green shoved the offender hard enough to send Jones sprawling in front of the Jets' bench.

"That's my teammate, and I'm going to hit anybody who messes with my teammate," Green said.

Bam Morris also was in the thick of the brief melee.

"That was one of the turning points, when that guy took a cheap shot at [Lewis]," Morris said. "That was a bad shot. That ain't football. They threw the first blow, and it was time to go to war."

Highs and lows

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis was his typical, busy self, leading all players with 14 tackles, including 11 solo.

But Lewis' pass coverage problems also surfaced again. On third-and-five at the Ravens' 37 early in the second quarter, Lewis drew a holding penalty while trying to cover Jets slot receiver Wayne Chrebet. The Jets got an automatic first down, ** and eventually settled for a 28-yard field goal to take a 10-6 lead.

Later in the fourth quarter, Lewis drew a pass-interference call on a third-and-six play while trying to cover Chrebet over the middle.

Lewis questioned both calls.

"Both of those calls could go either way in the NFL, and [the officials] made them [the Jets'] way," Lewis said. "The referees get paid to do their job, and they don't get everything right. We've seen that enough this year.

"We just have to live with the calls. And to avoid those calls, you don't put yourself in that situation."

Lewis has 120 tackles this season. He had 142 as a rookie last year.

Morris not satisfied

With his 31-carry, 130-yard rushing effort, Morris is officially on a roll. In his past two games, Morris has carried 67 times for 306 yards.

But the bottom line of yesterday's contest left Morris unfulfilled.

"I feel good to a degree, but I didn't finish as well as I should have today," Morris said.

Morris pointed to the fourth-quarter fumble he lost at midfield, foiling a drive with the Ravens trailing, 13-9. He also recalled numerous short-yardage situations in which he failed to gain first-down yardage.

The Ravens were especially inept on third-and-short early. On their first three possessions, they failed to record first downs on third-and-one, resulting in punts.

Center Wally Williams credited the Jets with an effective scheme out of their 3-4 defense.

"We had a chance to get into the [Redskins'] linebackers last week, but [the Jets'] linebackers were real aggressive clogging up the gaps for a while," Williams said. "It was hard for us to get momentum going against those guys. We have to go back to the drawing board and make sure we don't have to worry about third-and-one."

Said Morris: "Just like last week, the line got stronger as the game went on. But they [the linebackers] were real quick off the ball. We knew the line wasn't going to block the linebacker on every play, but it's up to the running back to make some plays, too. I made plays most of the time, but I need to do more."

Mixed reviews

Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware had an up-and-down day. Early, he was burned for a touchdown by blowing a pass coverage on tight end Fred Baxter. Later, Chrebet flattened Boulware with a run block.

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