- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

OWINGS MILLS, Md. An aberration on the banks of the Ohio River that's how Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick described his team's shocking road loss to the Cincinnati Bengals two weeks ago.

That was then and this is now, Billick said. The Ravens rediscovered their Super Bowl swagger Sunday in their 20-13 victory over the Denver Broncos. Not only did the Ravens (2-1) beat the Broncos in their own stadium, the Ravens physically wore down the confident Broncos (2-1).

Billick said he saw the same team Sunday in Denver that he watched last year in January.

"Our captains Sunday were Ray Lewis, Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson, and that's for a reason," Billick said. "Too many people are focusing on what happened in Cincinnati and what we were forced into doing [63 pass attempts]. What you saw yesterday, plus a little, is hopefully the combination that can win for us."

The Ravens' dominant defense set the tone, just like in the Super Bowl. Lewis, outside linebacker Peter Boulware, defensive end Michael McCrary and strong safety Corey Harris were exceptional. Sunday's win over the Broncos followed the same formula as many of the Ravens' wins last season.

The Ravens sacked Broncos quarterback Brian Griese who came into the game as the NFL's top-rated passer five times and intercepted him twice. McCrary sacked Griese twice for a total loss of 9 yards, Lewis had eight tackles and a sack and Boulware was credited with 1.5 sacks for minus-10.5 yards.

"Our guys came out with a whole new mentality," Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister said. "You can say it's a lot easier to get up and play a Denver team than it is to play not to take anything away from Cincinnati, but a team we were looking forward to, a big game to prove how good of a team we are."

The Ravens proved it in other areas as well. Their running game ranked 29th out of 31 teams produced a season-high 112 yards. The Ravens offense committed only one turnover after giving away the ball six times against the Bengals. The Ravens' opponents have scored four touchdowns this season, and all four have been the result of turnovers.

"It's twofold because it makes you mad and because … you know you can play and go beat a team like Denver at their place. And everybody knows what they represent and how difficult it is to beat them in Colorado," said Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe, who needs 20 receiving yards Sunday against the struggling Tennessee Titans (0-2) at PSINet Stadium to become the NFL's all-time leader in reception yardage by a tight end. "That lets you know that you have to go out there and take care of business week in and week out. But one thing I know, you can't turn the ball over six times, I don't care who you play in this league."

The Ravens led the NFL last season with a plus-23 turnover ratio but are minus-5 this year.

Billick wants to forget this win as quickly as the team forgot the loss to the Bengals. Sunday begins a difficult stretch for the Ravens. The Titans will have had two weeks to prepare for the Ravens because they had a bye last week, and they're desperate for a win.

After the Titans, four of the Ravens' next five games are on the road.

Billick also believes that Sunday's big win didn't stem the flow of criticism surrounding the offense, particularly the running game.

"I seriously doubt it," Billick said. "There will be something or somewhere along the line that we are not doing right or well."

Notes Billick awarded game balls to punter Kyle Richardson, wide receiver Travis Taylor and Harris… . After three games this season, Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac is third in the NFL with 809 passing yards. Only Kurt Warner (957) and Peyton Manning (848) have passed for more yardage.

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