Ravens' Ismail makes catches count

Wide receiver strikes with 57-yard scoring play to highlight big night

Ravens 16, Titans 10

November 13, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the midst of his finest pro season, Qadry Ismail took awhile to warm up to the bright lights of Monday Night Football.

The Ravens' offense was a fiasco for most of three quarters, and Ismail played his part. He wasted the best penetration of their first five drives with that rarest of penalties for a wide receiver, roughing. On their first possession of the second half, he turned a pass from Elvis Grbac into a 17-yard gain, but then fumbled the ball away, setting up a short Titans drive that resulted in the game's first points.

With the Ravens and Titans both putting out incredible shrinking offenses, Ismail stepped up and made one of the biggest plays of his nine-year career.

With the Ravens down 10-3 and on their 43-yard line as the third quarter wound down, Ismail took a short pass from Grbac on the left flank. He cut to the middle and followed a convoy of blockers to the right sideline and into the end zone for a 57-yard touchdown that returned momentum to the Ravens, which they parlayed into a 16-10 victory.

The play started with Ismail beating cornerback DeRon Jenkins, whose bump-and-run coverage didn't scare Grbac.

"The Titans were in press coverage," said Ismail, who finished with eight catches for 129 yards. "They thought they were going to get away with bump-and-run coverage. He [Jenkins] got a good bump on me, but we stayed with our technique. Elvis stuck with the play, and that took a lot of guts."

Ismail tangled with Jenkins, a former Ravens teammate, in the second quarter.

After a missed field-goal try by Joe Nedney, completions to Travis Taylor and Ismail moved the Ravens to the Titans' 26. Terry Allen lost a yard on his first carry of the night and left the game with a hand injury that turned out to be a fracture, but the immediate pain came in the form of a 15-yard penalty against Ismail.

On a wrestling mat, Ismail would have gotten two points for his takedown of Jenkins. On the football field, it was a rare bonehead play for a veteran who is having a career year.

Ismail's third-quarter fumble could be attributed to a case of too much hustle, as he attempted to break tackles and add yardage after moving to the Ravens' 47-yard line.

"This game is about ebbs and flows. It is also about trusting in one another," Ismail said. "We had an opportunity to take the ball down the field, but I got a little careless with the ball. I wanted to do too much. Both Travis [Taylor] and [Brandon] Stokley came over to talk to me after that, and help me regain my focus."

On the Ravens' only touchdown, Ismail got key blocks from Taylor on Samari Rolle and Shannon Sharpe on Perry Phenix, the latter a blindside beauty.

"He's a detail guy," Ismail said of Sharpe. "Once again, Shannon delivered."

Ismail busted open the Ravens' 26-7 rout of the Titans at PSINet Stadium last month with a 77-yard catch and run from Grbac. Last night's big play marked his fourth 100-yard game of the season, as he represented the Ravens' biggest offensive weapon. The last of his eight receptions was a crucial 11-yarder that kept the Ravens' final scoring drive alive.

"My first 100-yard game was in a Monday night game," Ismail said. "I was a rookie in 1993, against the Giants at Giants Stadium. This one definitely feels good."

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