Ravens stuff Titans' bid

On repeat play at end, defense stops McNair 1 yard short of win

3rd win in row at Tenn.

Ismail 57-yard TD, Je. Lewis return key after scoreless 1st half

Ravens 16, Titans 10

November 13, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Titans went 77 yards when they needed 78 and got a penalty against the Ravens when they didn't want one, allowing the Ravens to hold on for a 16-10 vic tory last night at Adelphia Coliseum.

What would have been a game-winning touchdown by Steve McNair as the clock ran out was negated by a penalty on the Ravens. On the restart, the Ravens (6-3) stopped another sneak for the victory, their third in a row at Tennessee.

The Titans (3-5) started their last drive on their 22 with 3:06 left, trailing by 6.

With 46 seconds remain ing, Michael McCrary was called for roughing the passer, giving the Titans a first down at the Ravens' 20. An 8-yard pass to Eddie George followed, and Tennessee took a timeout with 39 seconds left.

After McNair threw out of the end zone on second down, McNair hit Derrick Mason at the 6 for a first down and Tennessee took its last timeout at :24.

On the next play, McNair again tossed a pass out of the end zone. On second down, the Ravens' Duane Starks could have put the game away, but dropped what would have been a clinching interception.

Then McNair hit Kevin Dyson with a pass to the 1. He was down with 10 seconds left. Tennessee hustled to the line, and McNair ran a sneak behind center Bruce Matthews into the end zone as the clock ran out.

However, after a long huddle by officials, they ruled that the Ravens' Peter Boul ware was offside before the snap, stopping the play be fore it started.

The Titans tried another sneak by McNair on the last play of the game. He was stopped initially, then bounced outside, where Corey Harris and Jamie Sharper tackled him at the 1, ending the game.

A scoreless first half started with a series of punts and ended with a couple of twists.

There were seven drives in the opening quarter and all resulted in punts. The defenses controlled the tempo as the teams had more two more punts than first downs (five).

The Ravens watched their two early scoring chances end with quarterback Elvis Grbac hitting the ground. In their first trip inside Titans' territory, the Ravens made it to the 34-yard line but were taken out of field-goal range when Grbac tripped on his dropback to lose 6 yards.

The next series, the Ravens started at Tennessee's 35-yard line after the Titans' Daryl Porter was flagged 15 yards for grabbing Alvin Porter's face mask on a punt return. But the Ravens moved back ward again and out of range for kicker Matt Stover when Grbac was blindsided by Jevon Kearse on the first play of the second quarter, when running backs Jason Brookins and Sam Gash both missed blocks.

The Titans answered with a 16-play drive that ended in the same amount of frustration. After marching 60 yards to the Ravens' 31-yard line, Tennessee left with out any points as kicker Joe Nedney was wide and short on a 48-yard attempt. At that point, Ravens opponents had missed on 11 of 19 field-goal attempts.

Momentum only briefly swung to the Ravens. Grbac forced a pass to Shannon Sharpe and was intercepted by linebacker Keith Bulluck at the Titans' 27-yard line. The Titans had only three interceptions on 236 throws before that pick.

The half then took a series of surprising turns in which a Ravens touchdown and a Titans field goal were taken off the scoreboard.

Diving on third-and-inches, McNair watched the ball pop in the air when he hit the ground. Ravens safety Rod Woodson picked up the ball and ran down the left side 69 yards for a touchdown with 1:45 left in the second quarter. But the referees overturned the score on replay, ruling that McNair's elbow was on the ground before he fum bled.

The drive continued and looked to have ended on a 24-yard field goal by Nedney. However, the Titans' Brian Natkin, a practice squad player recently signed to re place injured tight end Erron Kinney, was called for holding.

Now, kicking a 34-yard at tempt, the snap by veteran Bruce Matthews sailed high, with holder Craig Hentrich standing to bring it down. He had no choice but to take off. Getting chased down by Chris McAlister, Hentrich had to hurry his throw and was intercepted by Starks in the end zone with 14 sec onds left in the second quarter to end the half in a scoreless tie.

It was the first interception in five games for the Ravens and bailed out a secondary that had dropped three picks in the first half.

The strange play at the end of the first half spilled into the second.

When the Ravens' first drive af ter halftime stalled, punter Kyle Richardson watched an eye-level snap sail through his hands and chased it down in the end zone where he threw to Anthony Mitchell. But Mitchell was stopped at the Ravens' 8-yard line, giving Tennessee its deepest penetration of the entire game.

The Ravens' defense clamped down and pushed the Titans back a yard. This time, Tennessee con verted its field-goal chance, as kicker Joe Nedney hit a 27-yarder to put the Titans up 3-0. The game's first points came in the 35th minute and on a scoring drive that read: four plays, minus-1 yard.

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