Sharpe: record could wait, not block


Tight end ties mark for catches, helps spring Ismail for long score

Ravens 16, Titans 10

November 13, 2001|By Brent Jones and Paul McMullen | Brent Jones and Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The record will have to wait another week.

Tight end Shannon Sharpe, though, made it a memorable game nonetheless.

Sharpe laid a devastating block on Tennessee Titans safety Perry Phenix that helped spring wide receiver Qadry Ismail for a 57-yard third-quarter touchdown that tied the game at 10.

It was as important a play as any in the Ravens' 16-10 win over the Titans in front of 68,798 at Adelphia Coliseum.

Not known throughout his career for his blocking, Sharpe's hit blindsided Phenix and knocked him clear off of his feet near the Titans' 30, allowing Ismail a free path to the end zone.

It was Sharpe's best highlight on a night when he needed three catches to break Ozzie Newsome's all-time record for receptions by a tight end.

Sharpe, instead, finished with two for 18 yards to tie Newsome, now the Ravens' senior vice president of football operations. Now, Sharpe will have to wait until Sunday at home against the Cleveland Browns to possibly catch the record-breaking No. 663.

"All my family is coming in next week," Sharpe said. "At the beginning of the season, this is what I anticipated, about the 10th game. Even though I had the opportunity in Pittsburgh, had the opportunity in Tennessee, I think it is only fitting that my mom, sister and my kids get to see me do the record at my real home. This was my home away from home."

On the block, Phenix was not even the person Sharpe was looking for - that distinction belonging to safety Aric Morris."[Morris] cheap-shotted me twice before," Sharpe said. "I told him I was going to get him back. The next play, once I saw Qadry coming across the field, I was looking for [Morris]. It just so happened, I saw [Phenix]. I told Morris you ought to thank Phenix because he took that bullet for you."

Slow-starting offense

The Ravens' offense had netted 96 yards before the last play from scrimmage in the third quarter, when Ismail rambled 57 yards with a catch for their only touchdown.

Up to that point, the Titans had totally befuddled an offense that had Elvis Grbac under center for the first time in three weeks.

"Give credit to their defense," Grbac said. "They [the Titans] played unbelievable. With the amount of pressure they had in the first half, we tried to establish the run in the second half. We were able to do that. We're just scratching and clawing to get everything we can offensively.

"It just shows the character of our guys. We always feel we can come back. It is really a good feeling on the sideline, because there is no panic. A lot of teams, when it is close in the fourth quarter, there could be a lot of panic and doubt, and you just don't see that here."

The Ravens' 238 yards were not a season low, as they had just 183 last week at Pittsburgh.

Turnaround for McCrary

The game ended with Titans receiver Derrick Mason slamming his helmet to the turf. Michael McCrary did the same after the previous snap, when the Titans thought they tied the score and readied to kick what would have been the winning extra point, because McCrary thought he had cost the Ravens the game.

With 50 seconds left, McCrary was called for a roughing the passer penalty on Steve McNair that moved the Titans to the Ravens' 20-yard line.

"I felt awful," McCrary said. "What can you say when you put your team in a situation like that? There's no worse feeling in the world, when you do something dumb like that. I'm just glad we came out of it."

Patience pays off

Ray Lewis' fourth-quarter hit that caused Titans running back Eddie George to fumble at the Tennessee 18-yard line allowed the Ravens to take their first lead of the game. The play set up a 33-yard Matt Stover field goal that put the Ravens up 13-10.

"Early in the game, I almost got it out two or three times," Lewis said. "When I went back, I saw him cut up inside. I just grabbed him and punched it out."

Sack time

Tackle Tony Siragusa recorded his first sack since the final game of the 1999 season. Siragusa beat guard Zach Piller on a second-and-five from the Titans' 45 for a 10-yard loss in the first quarter.

Siragusa's previous sack came against New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

Later in the quarter, Siragusa recorded his second sack, but this one had more to do with a corner blitz from Duane Starks, who forced McNair up in the pocket right into Siragusa for a 1-yard loss.

J. Lewis gets kicks

Jermaine Lewis' 76-yard kickoff return to the Titans' 16-yard line in the third quarter was the longest of his career.

It allowed the Ravens to answer Tennessee's field goal and tie the game at 3.

"I got good blocks at the end and just started running," Lewis said. "I should have put my head down and run past him. But I'll take the decent return."

From bad to worse

Cornerback Chris McAlister was not in on the Ravens' first possession of the second half. McAlister, suffering from dehyrdation, missed just one defensive series.

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