McAlister shows off quick recovery skills

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Beaten for long gain early, cornerback strikes back with interception for TD

September 03, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. M-y Just when it looked as if Chris McAlister had made a mistake by skipping most of the preseason, the Pro Bowl cornerback reverted to form last night against the New York Giants.

In his f irst game action, McAlister intercepted Giants quarterback Kurt Warner and went 23 yards for a touchdown on the RavensM-F third defensive series, giving the team a 14-3 lead.

Before that, McAlister was beaten for 49 yards down the sideline by unheralded backup receiver Tim Carter, whose longest reception of the preseason had been 8 yards.

McAlister got caught peeking into the backfield, and Warner lofted a perfect spiral to Carter, who had McAlister beat by two steps before the cornerback caught up and tackled him at the RavensM-F 13-yard line.

The Giants were held to a field goal, and after a three-andout on New YorkM-Fs next possession, McAlister returned to his dominant level of last season.

After the Ravens drove for a touchdown to gain a 7-3 lead, McAlister broke on a weakly thrown sidelined pass by Warner, stepped in front of receiver Amani Toomer, weaved in and out of traffic at the 5-yard line and carried a potential tackler into the end zone.

It was the last play of the night for McAlister, who played a total of 13 snaps.

M-tI am still trying to find my bearings,M-v McAlister said. M-tThis was my first time in pads. It feels great to be back with this team. I needed this.M-v

McAlister reported to the Ravens on Monday after missing every offseason workout, minicamp and all of training camp in a contract holdout.

It was the first time he had been with the team since the day after its playoff loss to Tennessee in January. He had worked out daily in California, however, and looked fresh last night.

M-tHe seems to be in great shape,M-v coach Brian Billick said earlier this week. M-tHis body weight is good. His percent body fat is excellent. HeM-Fs been working out hard.M-v

Sams holds on

Return specialist B.J. SamsM-F encore was not as spectacular as his debut, but the undrafted rookie did what was most important to Ravens coaches M-y he caught the ball.

Sams took his first kickoff return 16 yards in the first quarter, then gained 2 yards on his only punt return in the second quarter.

On both attempts, Sams appeared to hesitate and turn his shoulder slightly to avoid a big hit.

He ran more assertively with the second-half kickoff, returning the ball 26 yards to the RavensM-F 32. Cornerback Lance Frazier had a 30-yard kickoff return in third quarter.

Lamont Brightful, who held the return specialist position the past two years, did not play in the first half.

Stewart: 8-for-8

After struggling much of the preseason, quarterback Kordell Stewart finished with a splash last night, completing all eight of his throws for 102 yards.

Stewart led scoring drives on both his series, taking the team 57 yards on five plays for a touchdown in the latter. Stewart also had a 10-yard scramble for a first down.

His 118.8 quarterback rating more than tripled his total for the first three games.

Giant struggle for Warner

The RavensM-F defense has made many good quarterbacks look bad over the years, but former league Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner struggled on his own last night.

Warner, who will start the GiantsM-F opener next week, accomplished little in the first half against the RavensM-F starters, then fared just as badly against the backups. Warner was 7-for-9 for 79 yards and an interception.

The numbers may not be terrible, but the Giants finished their last four possessions under Warner with an interception, two three-and-outs and a failed fourth-down conversion.

M-tI think we ended great,M-v Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said. M-tOur starting defense only gave up one touchdown all preseason. We are ready to go.M-v

Eli Manning, the first overall selection in this yearM-Fs NFL draft, relieved Manning with just under two minutes left in the half to an ovation from Giants fans. The Giants went three-and-out on that series.

End zone

LB Peter Boulware (knee), QB Anthony Wright (shoulder), TE Todd Heap (shoulder), C Mike Flynn (collarbone), WR Travis Taylor (groin), DE Tony Weaver (ankle), DE Marques Douglas (elbow), LB Ed Hartwell (quadriceps), OT Orlando Brown (personal reasons), CB Corey Fuller (leg), WR Devard Darling (quadriceps), CB Javin Hunter (groin) and CB Deion Sanders did not play. M-` The Ravens were penalized only once in the first half, a 5-yard false start by Ethan Brooks. M-` Down 24-3 at halftime, Giants coach Tom Coughlin left this message to his team in the locker room: M-tA little bit of pride here would make a big difference in the game.M-v

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