Mulitalo must savor victory later


1st-quarter concussion dulls memory

recovery for big game expected

Special teams exceptional

Ravens 16, Raiders 3

Ravens Extra

January 15, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

OAKLAND, Calif. - Ravens left guard Edwin Mulitalo will wait until later to fully celebrate.

He suffered the first concussion of his career in the first quarter yesterday and couldn't remember his name at first. But he has two weeks to recover before the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla.

"I don't feel very well," Mulitalo said. "I vaguely remember what went on on the field. I know we won and we're going somewhere in Florida. I'll be ready for the Super Bowl."

Mulitalo was hurt on a cut block. He intended to take out the legs of a Raiders defensive tackle; instead, he took a knee to the head.

"We're anticipating full recovery," Ravens trainer Bill Tessendorf said.

Backup Kipp Vickers, who had to fill in as a starter for the Washington Redskins during last year's playoffs, held his own as Mulitalo's replacement.

"He did a great job, especially considering he wasn't prepared to play left guard," left tackle Jonathan Ogden said. "He did what he had to do."

Special tactics

The Ravens' special teams played the game of field possession to near perfection.

Jermaine Lewis had a 38-yard punt return in the first quarter, which seemed to shake Raiders punter Shane Lechler the rest of the game. After Shannon Sharpe scored the game's only touchdown, David Dunn misplayed Matt Stover's kickoff and put the home team in a hole at its 14-yard line.

Kyle Richardson had three punts blocked in the two previous playoff games, but he pinned Oakland on its 9 and 14 in the first half, and at its 2 in the second.

"With our defense being as good as it is, field position is the game we're playing," Richardson said.

`Veteran savvy'

Receiver Qadry Ismail had only one catch for 18 yards, but he still frustrated Charles Woodson, the former Heisman Trophy winner who was flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Ravens failed to convert a third down with 9:51 left, but Woodson's push of Ismail after the whistle allowed them to run off another 2:23 before Stover's field goal closed out the scoring.

"That was a little veteran savvy," Ismail said. "Early on, [Woodson] used a technique called a quick jam, which is used to throw off a wide receiver's timing. I told him, `Don't quick-jam me.'

"When we got into the red zone later, he used it on a running play, and I told him, `You wasted a quick jam on a running play.' I don't belong in the WWF, but I definitely deserve an Oscar nomination for that one. I guess he got frustrated, and cooler heads prevailed."

The Ravens were penalized twice as many times (10-5), and the last one came with 16 seconds left, when former Raider James Trapp plowed into punt returner Darrien Gordon well before the ball.

Big day for Bailey

Robert Bailey, a 10-year veteran, was one of the Ravens' unsung heroes. The extra defensive back made the Raiders' second possession another three-and-out with a tackle of James Jett that turned a pass play into no gain.

On Oakland's next possession, he filled a lane and got the Ravens' first turnover, an interception at the Raiders' 19-yard line. Rich Gannon's pass was intended for Tim Brown.

"From watching film, I knew they liked to use him on an under route," Bailey said. "I just jumped right in front of him. We've got a great defensive scheme, and he [coordinator] Marvin Lewis has made it so easy for us."

Stokley a target

The Ravens' offense also made full use of all of its talent. Brandon Stokley was not part of the game plan when the season began, but he started over Patrick Johnson yesterday and was their most active wide receiver.

He had three catches, the biggest being a 13-yard "out" pattern on a third down in the third quarter. Trent Dilfer threw over Woodson and Stokley tap-danced his way in bounds, right in front of the Raiders' bench.

"I knew I would get more reps, but I didn't know I was going to start until last [Saturday] night," Stokley said.

Gradual impact

The game had been over for more than 40 minutes, yet the realization of what his team had just done had not hit Rob Burnett.

Burnett is in his 11th year in the NFL, all with Ravens owner Art Modell's franchise. He is the Ravens' longest-tenured player.

"I'm going to go to bed and dream about the game," Burnett said. "But I don't think it's truly hit me yet. But it will. ... This is something else. It's for the city of Baltimore and Art Modell."

Quiet time pays

It appears shutting himself off to the outside world worked for Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer.

Dilfer said he stopped taking phone calls early last week, going so far as to ask his wife to turn off the phone.

His numbers in yesterday's game were again modest, 9-for-18 passing for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception. But he managed the offense with much the same effectiveness as he did in the Ravens' previous two games.

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