Banks fails to pull encore out of mud

Career day is followed by red-zone breakdowns and frustration in Miami

Dolphins 19, Ravens 6

September 18, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

MIAMI - A week after celebrating, Tony Banks is recuperating.

The Ravens' quarterback didn't match his career-day performance and came crashing back to the reality of the NFL in a 19-6 defeat to the Miami Dolphins last night. And he showed it.

Banks completed 19 of 31 passes for 189 yards, and that was only the tip of his frustration.

He fumbled twice. He was intercepted once. And he was sacked six times.

After throwing his final pass of the game behind Travis Taylor, Banks dropped his helmet near the sideline and gave it a soft kick. With his uniform caked in mud and grass stains, he plopped to the ground.

"It's going to be a long ride home," he said.

Just like last week, Banks struggled in the first half. Unlike last week, there was no highlight finish.

Trailing 19-3 in the fourth quarter, Banks did drive the Ravens down to the Dolphins' 15. But in a game that demonstrated the difference from last week, Banks overthrew an open Shannon Sharpe in the end zone on second down.

On the next play, fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo dropped a pass from Banks, leading to a 33-yard Matt Stover field goal.

"We're making it so hard on ourselves to have to come back against good football teams in the second half," Banks said. "No matter how good the football team is, you don't want to keep putting yourself in magical comeback situations."

Banks, though, was on top of his game last week, when he passed for 262 yards and five touchdowns. He said throughout the week that this game would be a test of his consistency.

So, did he fail?

"I don't think so," Banks said. "Under the circumstances, I didn't play well enough to win. But I don't think I slipped back."

Ravens coach Brian Billick seconded that opinion.

"This was not Tony Banks doing anything singular by himself," he said. "This was a setback for the entire team. Tony played about as well as anybody else."

One of the biggest stumbling blocks was inside the red zone.

Banks hit his first four passes there, but misfired on his last three. Yet Banks can't take all the blame.

He was sacked three times in the red zone and had to scramble several other times. Those factors seemed to wear on Banks.

"It was a combination of everything," Billick said. "Whether it's the weather, whether it's the press or the coverage outside, whether it's guys up in his face. Yeah, it affects a quarterback. He stood back there and had people flying around at you. Yeah, it affects you."

What may affect Banks more is disappointment.

He wanted to back up last week's performance. He wanted to succeed on national television.

"We knew they were a quality football team," Banks said. "I think a lot of us are feeling like we're turning the corner around here. But I think we're looking to come out here in the national spotlight and redeeming ourselves."

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

Site: PSINet Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Series: Ravens lead 5-3.

Last meeting: Ravens won, 22-0, on Dec. 26, 1999, at PSINet Stadium.

Ravens' results, schedule

Date .....................Opponent................Res./Time

9-3 ....................at Pittsburgh .......... ....W, 16-0

9-10 .................. Jacksonville ...............W, 39-36

9-17 ...................at Miami ...................L, 19-6

9-24 ...................Cincinnati ....................1 p.m.

10-1 .................at Cleveland ....................1 p.m.

10-8................. at Jacksonville ..............8:35 p.m.

10-15 ............... at Washington ..................1 p.m.

10-22 ................Tennessee .......................1 p.m.

10-29 ................Pittsburgh .......................1 p.m.

11-5 .................at Cincinnati .....................1 p.m.

11-12 ................at Tennessee ....................1 p.m.

11-19 ................Dallas ..........................4:15 p.m.

11-26 ................Cleveland ........................1 p.m.

12-3 ...................Open

12-10 ................San Diego .......................1 p.m.

12-17 ................at Arizona .....................4:15 p.m.

12-24 ...............New York Jets ................. 1 p.m.

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