Stopping Dillon is goal - again


Bengals' star runner held to 33 yards a game in past 5 tries vs. Ravens

NFL notes

September 21, 2001|By Jamison Hensley and Paul McMullen | Jamison Hensley and Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

The Ravens' success against Cincinnati running back Corey Dillon has been dominating, yet not surprising.

Dillon, who set the NFL single-game record with 278 yards last October, has only averaged 33.6 yards over his past five games against the Ravens. His futility has become status quo for the Ravens, who have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 38 games.

"We've had a lot of success against a lot of great backs," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "We're in a division where we face a lot of good backs. When we face that, it's not `Oh my gosh, this is a great back,' because we see it all the time. We have a healthy respect for Dillon.

"Their coaches have made it very clear that this is the basis of their offense, as it should with a talent like that. They know if they're going to win, they're going to have to get Corey Dillon cranked up."

Known for his big-play ability, Dillon has not had a run of more than 8 yards in his past three games against the Ravens. For his career, he has yet to score a touchdown against them.

"He's one of those backs that can break out at any time," outside linebacker Peter Boulware said. "He has the ability to outrun you or run through you. So, we have to be extra tight on defense. If you want to stop Corey Dillon, you have to play excellent team defense."

Grbac: easy decision

Bengals middle linebacker Takeo Spikes has not forgotten about Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac's decision from six months ago.

Spikes said Grbac "snubbed" the Bengals by signing as a free agent with the Ravens despite Cincinnati offering more money. But Grbac reiterated that he could not pass up the chance to play for the defending Super Bowl champions.

"It was my decision and I wanted to come here," Grbac said. "I think both places were a great opportunity for me. You come here with a world championship team and going there I think they have some great players offensively. In my heart of hearts, I think I made the right decision for my family and me."

Injury report

Ravens return specialist Jermaine Lewis left in the middle of yesterday's practice with a strained hamstring. According to trainer Bill Tessendorf, Lewis' status will be determined today.

Defensive tackle Sam Adams rested his shin bruise and did not practice. He will likely play and is listed as probable.

There were no other changes to the injury report, with defensive back Gary Baxter (knee) questionable and receiver Qadry Ismail (hip) and defensive tackle Tony Siragusa (knee) both probable.

Thanks for your time

The routine of the Ravens and everyone associated with the NFL was altered by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but pro football will regain some stability in the officiating department when it resumes play Sunday, as the officials' union approved a six-year contract that will put them back to work.

"That all lends itself to the normalcy that we want to get back to," Billick said, "but I do want to thank the replacement officials. They came in under tough circumstances. They came under a lot of criticism, and took a lot of fire within their profession, to help us get through this tough time, so I want to thank those guys for stepping up when they did.

"There are so many ambiguities about what we're dealing with, given the circumstances, that this is one less we now have to address."

End zone

Matt Stover can move into a three-way tie for second place for most consecutive games with a field goal. Fred Cox connected in 31 straight games for the Minnesota Vikings from 1968-70. Jim Turner (Jets, Broncos, 1970-72) and Chip Lohmiller (Redskins, 1988-90) had field goals in 28 straight games, a feat Stover can match Sunday. ... Stover has scored 178 points against the Bengals, a career high, and a career-high 10 of Rod Woodson's 58 interceptions have come against Cincinnati. ... Through the Ravens Foundation for Families, SunTrust Bank will donate $500 for each Ravens touchdown in 2001 to the United Way of Central Maryland. Last year, SunTrust donated $27,000 to the United Way as part of this program. ... The Quarterback Club of Baltimore kicks off its sixth season Tuesday with its monthly luncheon at PSINet Stadium, with net proceeds to benefit the Quarterback Club Charities. Linebacker Jamie Sharper will be the keynote speaker at the first event. Individual tickets cost $45. For more information, please contact Kevin Foley at 888-488-2597 ext. 3116. ... This week's winners of the Ravens Champions Athlete of the Week are Catholic High's Laura Dantoni (soccer) and Arundel's Erik Pedley (golf). Each athlete receives a $250 donation to the school's athletic department and two tickets to the Ravens game against Cincinnati on Dec. 23, where all the winners will be recognized.

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