Baltimore keeps hope alive for a return to Super Bowl

19-3 victory sends team to Miami

Ravens Win, Advance To Playoffs

January 08, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Patience was the prevalent word at PSINet Stadium last night.

Baltimore endured 23 years between appearances on Monday Night Football, and the Ravens waited until the final game of the 2001 season to clinch a playoff berth.

The Ravens' only touchdown came on an 8-yard fumble return by linebacker Jamie Sharper in the next to last minute, as the Ravens' defense shut down the Minnesota Vikings to win, 19-3, before 69,465 fans.

The 10-6 Ravens will play the Miami Dolphins at South Florida's Pro Player Stadium in a wild-card playoff game at 4 p.m. Sunday

"We looked at today as the first round of the playoffs," offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said. "Win or go home. We need the pressure to bring out the best in us."

The defending Super Bowl champions are the fifth seed in the American Football Conference and will most likely have to win three straight games on the road to return to the Super Bowl, which will be played Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

The Ravens went ahead to stay with three field goals by Matt Stover in the second quarter.

"We're playing great defense and running the ball," said Ravens coach Brian Billick, whose offense rushed for a season-high 212 yards. "Does that sound familiar?"

That's the formula the Ravens followed to the Super Bowl last year.

The Ravens, who had drives of 77, 43 and 85 yards stall inside the Vikings' 4-yard line, came out sluggish against the Vikings. It was the sixth loss in the past seven games for Minnesota, which fired coach Dennis Green last week and replaced him with former Maryland quarterback Mike Tice.

The game was originally scheduled to be played Sept. 17 but was postponed by the NFL in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Baltimore's last appearance on Monday Night Football, the ABC staple that is one of the longest-running shows on prime-time television, was on Nov. 6, 1978, when the Colts beat the Washington Redskins at Memorial Stadium.

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