Sehorn, Giants' secondary rue lapses

Ravens 34, Giants 7

January 29, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

TAMPA, Fla. - Life, New York Giants cornerback Jason Sehorn said last week, would be perfect once his team won the Super Bowl and he married his fiancee, actress Angie Harmon, later this year.

Looks like Sehorn will have to settle for less than perfection.

The Giants won't be NFL champions this season. And to make matters worse, Sehorn has to accept some of the blame for his team's 34-7 loss to the Ravens last night. Sehorn gave up the Ravens' first touchdown when receiver Brandon Stokley beat him on a simple fly pattern for 38 yards.

"Maybe Jason should have had better coverage," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "But [safety] Shaun [Williams] should have been a little deeper and then come up to play the ball."

OK, so it was not all Sehorn's fault.

But the first half of the game was not one Sehorn will want to remember.

He might have been beaten for two other touchdowns if not for off-target passes by Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer. Patrick Johnson raced right past Sehorn up the sideline on the Ravens' second possession, but could not quite catch up to Dilfer's pass.

Johnson got past Sehorn again for what would have been a 77-yard touchdown after Sehorn slipped on the turf, but Dilfer's pass sailed out of bounds.

The cause of Sehorn's early problems? He said he was fooled. Tricked by all the film he had watched of the Ravens' offense.

"We were expecting something different," he said. "We were squatting, playing short. They kind of caught us a couple of times, although they didn't really catch us because they overthrew them. I guess they were trying to soften us up.

"If you look back over their last few games, they weren't [throwing deep]."

But that seemed to be part of the Ravens' game plan. Once Sehorn showed early that he could be beaten, the Ravens kept going after him.

Videotape from a preseason game against the Giants last August proved helpful. "We hadn't been able to get real vertical the last couple of weeks," Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "We went back to our preseason game and saw that both our wide-outs ran past their cornerbacks a couple of times. We felt we had to get the ball up and take our shots."

"It was a great throw," Sehorn said of the scoring pass. "That was his only great throw of the day. And he made it on me. Thanks, Trent."

Sehorn's troubles were part of a larger problem for the Giants, not just in the game, but for the season.

When New York struggled, it was because of breakdowns in the secondary, leading to big plays in the passing game for opposing teams.

It happened yesterday with Sehorn and when cornerback Dave Thomas gave up a 44-yard completion to Qadry Ismail, which set up Matt Stover's 47-yard field goal that put the Ravens up 10-0.

Earlier this season, Washington's Brad Johnson, Tennessee's Steve McNair and St. Louis' Trent Green all had close to 300 yards passing in wins over the Giants.

Yesterday, Dilfer finished with 12 completions for 153 yards, not great numbers statistically. But he found the same holes in the secondary those other quarterbacks did earlier - the ones that looked to be closed after the NFC championship game, when the Giants shut out Cris Carter, Randy Moss and the high-scoring Minnesota Vikings.

Instead, the Giants had a relapse, and Sehorn had one of the worst starts to a game he could remember.

"It was very disappointing, especially with two weeks to prepare for the game," Sehorn said. "I really felt good heading into this game."

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