For Burress and Ravens, it's personal now

Receiver: `Baltimore ... gets my fire going'

October 28, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

It hasn't taken long for Plaxico Burress to become the Ravens' public enemy No. 1. And in yesterday's 31-18 Steelers victory at Ravens Stadium, the third-year receiver needed only one half to ruin Baltimore's day.

Before being ejected after an incident involving cornerback James Trapp before halftime, Burress caught five passes for 55 yards. That included touchdown receptions of 20 and 9 yards as he helped to set up his third straight win over the Ravens in Baltimore.

"I never lost in this stadium, and I don't want to lose here. It's one of those rivalries where I don't like them and they don't like us," said Burress, the eighth overall pick in the 2000 draft. He accounted for the Steelers' second and third scores as they built a 21-0 lead. "I've loved playing against Baltimore. It gets my fire going."

And that usually means inciting the Ravens. Told after the game that Ravens cornerback Gary Baxter called him, "just another receiver" and "not among the elite," Burress said, "Who is Gary Baxter?" adding later, "He's terrible."

A frustrated Trapp "jumped on my face," according to Burress, who later was ejected for removing his helmet. At different times during the game, Burress could be seen jawing with the Ravens' Chris McAlister.

"He was yelling at me, and I was laughing at him, like, `There's nothing for you to be yelling about,' " said Burress, who beat McAlister for one of his scores. "I love playing against McAlister. He's arrogant, cocky, and I just want him to know that every time we play, I'm going to put it in his face. I wouldn't have even been talking the way he was playing."

Said Steelers strong safety Lee Flowers: "Plax does a lot of talking, but he's playing with confidence and he can back it up. He reminds me of Randy Moss before all of the controversy and when he was on top of his game. I tell Plax every day, `You're that type of guy. There's no corner, nobody out there can stop you.' He's taken that approach, and you see it on the field."

In three previous games against the Ravens, Burress had 17 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns. In his previous victory in Baltimore, Burress had eight receptions for 164 yards - both career highs - and a touchdown.

At 6 feet 6, 226 pounds, Burress often can overmatch his opponents in the air or bowl them over on the ground. He gave examples of each yesterday.

On his 20-yard touchdown, Burress made an over-the-shoulder grab against McAlister in the corner of the end zone. On the 9-yarder, Burress caught the ball at the line of scrimmage, stiff-armed linebacker Ed Hartwell and made an angular run before crossing the goal line just inside the pylon.

"That's two years in a row he's come down here and embarrassed their cornerbacks," Steelers linebacker Joey Porter said. "I mean, he just eats them up."

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