Boulware's shoulder gives way


status for next week in doubt

Another dislocation sends linebacker to sideline

Woodson puts on show

Ravens 34, Bengals 31

November 22, 1999|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

CINCINNATI -- Ravens coach Brian Billick sounded surprised that linebacker Peter Boulware had lasted nine games without re-injuring his right shoulder enough to threaten his playing time seriously.

Boulware could be facing that scenario after coming out of yesterday's 34-31 victory over Cincinnati early with another dislocation of his right shoulder.

Boulware appeared to re-injure the shoulder during the Bengals' second possession. And after Cincinnati had taken a 7-0 lead with 7: 12 left in the first quarter, Boulware slumped on the Ravens' bench, with his left arm wrapped heavily in ice.

He was replaced by Cornell Brown, and Boulware watched the second half in street clothes on the sidelines. Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said Boulware would be re-examined today or tomorrow. At best, Boulware figures to be listed as questionable for next week's game against visiting Jacksonville.

"He's one of the guys we're worried about," Byrne said.

"For [Boulware] to have lasted the way he has, and to have played the way he has, that's impressive," Billick said. "We knew this coming in, that this would be a week-by-week thing. It becomes the composite effect [of all the hits he has taken on it this season]."

Boulware has played in some degree of pain since injuring the shoulder 14 months ago. He elected not to have off-season surgery, then dislocated the shoulder again at the end of the team's final minicamp in June.

Boulware has protected the shoulder with a harness for the entire season. The shoulder has dislocated on several occasions during games this year. Still, Boulware leads the Ravens with eight sacks.

Boulware, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has said he plans to have surgery after the season.

Brown was not especially effective in his place. He recorded one assist and could not provide the pass rush on quarterback Jeff Blake the Ravens count on from Boulware.

"I guess it kind of came as a shock, because Peter has been able to fight through it so much. But the pain was too much for him today," said Brown, who took more snaps than he has since preseason, when he replaced Boulware for nearly all four games. "I did all right, but I'm sure there are some mistakes I have to correct."

The Rod Woodson Show

Safety Rod Woodson had an eventful day. First, he picked off his 50th career interception. He joined Lem Barney as one of two players in NFL history with at least 50 career interceptions, 1,000 interception return yards and seven interceptions returned for touchdowns.

Then, with about three minutes left and the Bengals driving for what would be a game-tying field goal to knot the game at 31, Woodson leaped and let a Jeff Blake pass sail through his hands at the Ravens' 25. Had he made the catch, Woodson had a clear path to the end zone for what would have been his eighth career interception returned for a score.

That would have put the game away early. But Woodson atoned for his error by hitting tight end Tony McGee in the back of the end zone, knocking the ball loose and spoiling what could have been a game-winning touchdown by the Bengals with 1: 55 left.

That forced the Bengals to settle for a field goal, and it gave the Ravens a chance to win.

"We shouldn't have been in that situation," Woodson said. "I should have picked that other one and taken it back [for the score]. Elementary football. Catch it first and then run.

"We didn't do a lot of things well, on offense, defense or special teams. But we got out of here with a win. I'd feel a lot worse about dropping that pick if we hadn't won."

Stover has Bengals' number

Matt Stover's game-winning 50-yard field goal marks the first time he has kicked a game-winner as time expired since the Ravens moved to Baltimore.

Stover kicked a game-winning 37-yarder with 34 seconds remaining to beat the New York Giants, 24-23, Sept. 14, 1997.

The 50-yard distance is usually a stretch for Stover, who had made six of 18 from 50 and beyond coming into yesterday's game during his 10-year career. But he said the perfect conditions at Cinergy Field -- 65 degrees, light winds -- helped him. Stover also said he told himself to follow through smoothly, without trying to kill the ball.

"I hit it nice and easy, and I hit it great, right down the middle," he said.

Stover, who also kicked a 25-yarder, continued his curious mastery of the Bengals. He owns no team like the Bengals, against whom he has hit 27 of 31 field-goal attempts. Stover also is 42-for-42 on extra points against them.

"It's fun place to kick in," Stover said. "They're in our division, I've been here a lot, and I can envision things."

Six weeks ago, Stover wondered if he were destined to be kicking for another team this year. Billick brought in kicker Joe Nedney to put pressure on Stover, after Stover's place-kicking and kickoff performances left Billick dissatisfied. But Stover preserved his job. Nedney has been cut.

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