Stoney makes his case, 28-24

Ravens' 3rd-string QB sparks 2 late scores to turn back Carolina

August 29, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Third-string quarterback Stoney Case completed a 41-yard touchdown pass on a slant-in play to wide receiver Billy Davis with 10 seconds left in the game as the Ravens remained unbeaten in preseason play with a 28-24 win over the Carolina Panthers last night before 66,247 at PSINet Stadium.

Case caught the Panthers in a double safety blitz and cornerback Cliff Shamburger couldn't handle Davis on the short 10-yard pass that he turned into the touchdown. Less than four minutes earlier, Case had completed a 49-yard pass to Justin Armour to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Jay Graham.

Case has been with the Ravens for only about two weeks, but he wasn't going to let that stand in the way of late-game heroics.

"I always have high expectations," Case said. "I want to complete every pass. I wasn't going to let two weeks in camp be an excuse for me not going out and trying to give us a chance to win the game."

Said Davis: "We kind of took what they gave us. We took the short route at the right time, which allowed us to take it to the house."

Carolina scored two defensive touchdowns, including a fumble recovery returned for a 52-yard score by defensive tackle Eric England with 6: 19 left in the game to put the Panthers ahead 24-16. Case fumbled while dropping back to pass, getting hit by free safety Lee Wiggins.

The Ravens came back on their next series. On the first play, Case lofted the long completion to Armour to the Carolina 15. Graham, battling Errict Rhett for a spot on the roster, had several tough runs before diving over right guard for the 2-yard touchdown with 3: 31 remaining. The Ravens went for two points to tie the game, but Armour was unable to hold onto a pass off a fade route in the right corner of the end zone.

Brian Billick, coaching in his first game at home, said it was a special night, even before the late heroics.

"I felt like the head coach tonight," Billick said. "I walked out in the stadium for the first time and to hear the support and the enthusiasm, well, this is the first time I've felt like this since the news conference in the room."

The Panthers put a scare into the crowd on the game's final play -- Steve Bono threw a 51-yard pass to Donald Hayes, who was tackled on the Ravens' 7 as time expired.

"They made the plays. We had a shot at the end, but they deserved to win," Carolina linebacker Kevin Greene said.

Billick went with reserve quarterback Tony Banks to open the third quarter. On their second possession, thanks to a 23-yard run by Rhett, the Ravens went 33 yards in six plays before Matt Stover converted a 39-yard field goal that put the Ravens ahead 13-10 with 5: 37 left in the period.

The Panthers had a chance to at least tie the score in the third period when Metcalf was accidentally bumped by Chris McAlister while trying to field a punt. The punt bounced off McAlister's back and was recovered by Sam Manuel at the Ravens' 24. But on third-and-nine from the 23, the Ravens blitzed and linebacker Brad Jackson stripped quarterback Jeff Lewis of the ball. Lewis recovered, but he was tackled by linebacker Jamie Sharper for a 12-yard loss.

On fourth-and-21, Carolina went for it, but Lewis fumbled the snap and gained only 14 yards before Jackson tackled him.

The Ravens went 58 yards in 12 plays on their next possession as Stover ended the drive with a 38-yard field goal that put the Ravens ahead 16-10 with 13: 14 left in the game. Rhett had the big gain in the drive, an 18-yard run around right end. Billick has to make a tough decision on which running back to release. Priest Holmes, Rhett and Graham have played well in recent weeks. One may have to go.

Carolina answered with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Steve Bono to tight end Kris Mangum that finished a seven-play, 63-yard drive for a 17-16 lead with 9: 25 left in the game.

In the first two preseason games, the Ravens couldn't get through their opening series without a fumble. It happened again last night. On the third offensive play of the game, Holmes was flipped at the line of scrimmage and fumbled. Cornerback Doug Evans picked it up and ran 21 yards for a touchdown as Carolina went ahead 7-0 only 58 seconds into the game.

The Ravens came back on their next possession. After two Holmes runs netted 16 yards and Qadry Ismail had a catch of 10 yards, Holmes took a handoff into the line of scrimmage and pitched it back to Mitchell, who threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Ismail. Evans was victimized on the play, charging hard to support the run as Ismail slowly walked by him and then ran unnoticed deep in the Panthers' secondary.

The Panthers responded, however, going 40 yards in eight plays. But on third-and-one from the Ravens' 27, Ray Lewis and Sharper combined to stop running back Tim Biakabutuka for no gain.

Then on fourth-and-one, fullback William Floyd was stuffed by Lewis, linebacker Cornell Brown and defensive end Rob Burnett for no gain.

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