Ravens Win A Wild One, 44-41

For an underdog quarterback, a day of emotion and triumph

After a daring comeback, Wright rushes to welcome a new baby into the world

November 24, 2003|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Hours before the birth of his daughter last night, Anthony Wright delivered an emotional and historic win for the Ravens.

The one-time third-string quarterback staged the biggest comeback in team history, rallying the Ravens to a pulsating, 44-41 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium.

After passing for a career-best 319 yards and four touchdowns in his second start for the Ravens, Wright had less than two hours to drive home to pick up his wife, Nicole, and rush her to the hospital. Labor was induced at 8 last night for the couple's second daughter, Trinity.

FOR THE RECORD - Because of an editing error, a photo of Ravens Quarterback Anthony Wright that appeared on Page 4A of yesterday's editions of The Sun was incorrectly credited. The photo was taken by Sun staff photographer Lloyd Fox.

"This is something that you dream of," said Wright, holding back tears as his voice cracked at his news conference. "This is something that you write in books. This is something you think would never happen to you. For us to come back and win this game was unimaginable."

Wright pulled out the improbable victory by accounting for 37 yards in the game-winning, 55-yard drive. His biggest throw of the game - a 19-yard pass to Marcus Robinson - converted a third-and-15 that put the Ravens in field-goal range.

After Matt Stover kicked a 42-yard field goal 8 1/2 minutes into overtime, the Ravens stormed the field in celebration. The victory kept the Ravens (6-5) tied with the Cincinnati Bengals in first place in the AFC North.

That final field goal marked the only time the Ravens led in the marathon game - it took four hours, one minute - and capped a frenzied fourth-quarter comeback in which the Ravens wiped out a 17-point deficit.

"This is very emotional," said Wright, who was filling in for injured starter Kyle Boller. "I almost started crying in the locker room. This is what it's all about."

Wright's dream game started out looking like a disaster.

In the first half, he misfired on six of his first nine passes while the Ravens' defense dominated. In the second half, he started putting up points, but the defense began to falter.

The Ravens, who had lost their past two games, faced what seemed to be an insurmountable, 41-24 deficit with 14:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. The franchise's previous biggest comeback was a 16-point turnaround against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000.

"It was looking very, very dim," Wright said. "They just kept scoring, and things looked bad for us."

That's when Wright started walking up and down the sidelines, telling teammates to believe in themselves.

But Wright's actions spoke louder than his words. In the second half, he completed 17 of 28 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns - all to former University of South Carolina teammate Robinson.

Wright's 9-yard touchdown pass to Robinson sliced the lead to 41-38 with 1:12 left in regulation time.

After the Ravens stopped Seattle on a fourth-and-one, the Ravens received help from a 44-yard pass interference penalty to put them deep in Seahawks territory. Wright spiked the ball to stop the clock, and Stover hit a 40-yard field goal to tie the game as the fourth quarter ended.

"I don't know how he did it," Ravens receiver Travis Taylor said of Wright's handling the pressures coming from on and off the field. "It's quite a feat for him, and I'm proud for him."

In overtime, Wright started the drive with an 8-yard scramble and then connected on two passes for 29 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.

"You couldn't script it up any better," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "To fight through that, imagine what his emotions are right now? That's incredible."

And Wright came through snapping a tan rubber band on his right wrist, which served as a reminder of his wife and soon-to-be-born child.

"It's one of the most beautiful days of my life," Wright said. "To come out and have a career day and for my wife to be having my baby, it's unbelievable."

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