Stover cuts to the quick on missed field goals Kicker says responsibility lies with him, and not with wind and low snaps

Ravens notebook

December 11, 1997|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Before Sunday's 31-24 victory over Seattle, kicker Matt Stover had not missed two field-goal attempts in the same game for the entire season.

Out of three attempts, Stover missed from 45 and 42 yards, and had his 42-yard try not sailed wide right with 1:05 left, the Ravens would have sealed their first victory in six weeks without having to sweat out one last Seahawks possession.

Although the wind was whipping through Memorial Stadium all day, and low snaps disrupted his timing slightly on each miss, Stover cut past the excuses and went directly to the bottom line. As did coach Ted Marchibroda.

"I'm not blaming [Stover] for [the misses], but that's his job," Marchibroda said. "In the final analysis, if the ball is down, he's supposed to get it up in the air and through [the uprights]."

"I'm good enough to make those kicks, and I should have made them, without a doubt," Stover said.

"My fire is always lit, but things like that put more wood on my fire. I've got to make sure I finish the season strong. I know we're going to have some offensive movement in these last two games [against Tennessee and Cincinnati], so I know I'm going to get a chance to make some field goals."

Stover, who has an outside shot at making the Pro Bowl, has converted 26 of 31 field-goal attempts, including 20-for-20 from inside the 40.

Sellout expected

Late yesterday, about 1,600 tickets remained for Sunday's Memorial Stadium finale against Tennessee, and the Ravens expect the game to sell out by 1 p.m. today, ensuring that it will be televised locally.

"We feel there is a good chance of a sellout," Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said. "We've had a good response from the fans, and we've had calls from a number of companies who want to make sure that [a sellout] happens."

Tickets can be purchased at the Memorial Stadium box office or by calling 410-481-SEAT.

Siragusa expected to play

The walking wounded returned to practice yesterday, beginning with defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who sported a soft cast on his fractured right hand and did not practice.

Marchibroda said he expected Siragusa to work out by tomorrowand to play against the Oilers.

Also missing practice were wide receiver Michael Jackson (shoulder), cornerback Eugene Daniel (thigh), running back Jay Graham (ankle) and defensive end Michael McCrary (knee). Cornerback Antonio Langham (thigh bruise) also cut his practice short.

And safety Stevon Moore, who had surgery on Monday to repair osteochondral fractures in both knees, is expected to complete his rehabilitation in time to be ready for the team's June minicamp.

Colts connection

Tennessee guard Bruce Matthews has an interesting connection to Memorial Stadium. The 15-year veteran played his first pro game there, in the then-Houston Oilers' preseason opener on Aug. 4, 1983. The Colts won, 15-0.

Matthews then returned for the regular-season finale that year on Dec. 18, when the Colts completed a 2-14 season with their second victory. It turned out to be the last NFL regular-season game at Memorial Stadium for 13 years.

"It was the last game of my rookie year. We lost, 20-10. It was muddy. Baltimore wasn't very good. We weren't very good. [Former Colts linebacker] Vernon Maxwell had a big game," Matthews said.

"It [going back] really has that feel of nostalgia. Unitas, Ameche, all those great players from the Colts history. I've always been a big fan. It feels like we're playing the Browns, even though [the Ravens] are not the Browns."

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Tennessee Oilers

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m. TV/Radio: Ch. 11 (subject to blackout rule)/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Oilers by 2

Tickets: 1,600 remain

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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