Allen & Co. run team into playoff position

Ground game churns out season-high 212 yards

Ravens 19, Vikings 3

January 08, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Through much of the game, the holes were so gaping that it did not matter who was running the ball for the Ravens because the result was the same - yards at an impressive clip.

Terry Allen led the way, rushing 23 times for 133 yards, his second 100-yard rushing game of the season and 23rd of his career. It was part of a 212-yard effort on the ground for the Ravens, a season high, in the team's 19-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings at PSINet Stadium last night.

Moe Williams added 49 yards on seven attempts and running back Jason Brookins, in his first game action since breaking a bone in his foot Nov. 25, gained 15 yards on seven attempts.

The Ravens had six different ball carriers, and seemed to find success with nearly all of them. Much of the credit goes to an offensive line that overpowered a struggling Vikings rush defense, 30th in the NFL heading into the game.

"My offensive line did a great job," Allen said. "Sam Gash did a great job leading up in there. All I had to do was go out there and run. We wanted to get our run game going to get us through the playoffs, and we came out and got it going. It gives us confidence that we can build on."

The hard running of Allen, who seems to be peaking heading into Sunday's wild-card playoff game at Miami, was most impressive.

Allen bulldozed the Vikings defense for 71 yards in the first half on 10 carries, and seemed to live in Minnesota's secondary.

"TA was hot," guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "We knew that when he started running like that at the beginning of the game all we had to do was stay on our blocks a little bit longer and he was going to have a great game. He did."

In a game that produced just four field goals and a defensive touchdown for the Ravens, the rushing yardage between the 20-yard lines was clearly the highlight. All the pounding downfield produced little satisfaction, though, inside the red zone, where the holes closed, the rushing game bogged down and the passing game was non-existent.

In the second quarter, the Ravens had six chances from inside the Vikings' 5 to score a touchdown.

Quarterback Elvis Grbac misfired on two passes, Brookins carried three times for no yards and Allen had one carry for no yards.

The Ravens were helped by a pass interference call on the Vikings' Orlando Thomas in the end zone, setting up a first-and-goal from the 1. The next three plays netted a minus-1 yard.

"I missed one hole down there on the goal line, but the rest of them, they just played good defense," Brookins said. "When you get down there, you expect to get it in, and we didn't get it in.

"I should have scored, but for my first time back in six weeks, I did pretty good."

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