- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2001

BALTIMORE Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher told his team last week that he didn't care if the Titans went to Baltimore and lost, as long as they carried "a big stick."
The Baltimore Ravens grabbed the stick out of the Titans' hands and beat them senseless in a convincing 26-7 win before 69,494 yesterday at PSINet Stadium.
The Ravens (3-1) pummeled the Titans (0-3) on both sides of the ball. The Ravens' meager rushing attack punished the Titans for 207 yards, fourth-most in team history. The stout defense limited the Titans to just 185 total yards and only 47 yards rushing.
Desperate for a win, the Titans allowed their arch-rivals to blow them off the ball. The Ravens physically dominated both lines of scrimmage and knocked at least three key Titans out of the game, including star running back Eddie George (ankle), tight end Frank Wycheck (neck) and cornerback Samari Rolle (neck).
So much for one of the game's best rivalries. The Ravens have now beaten the Titans in their last three meetings. The convincing win over a Super Bowl contender also solidifies the Ravens as the main AFC power.
"We obliged [Fisher]. He didn't care about going 0-3, so that's the least we could have done and give him what he wanted," Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe said.
Fisher's gamesmanship, an attempt to motivate his team for an important game, backfired. The Titans, coming off a bye week, had two weeks to prepare and were blown out.
With the win, the Ravens are tied with the Cleveland Browns for the AFC Central lead. The Titans are now two games behind.
"It is what it is when you lose. We lost three and came back and won the championship," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "[Fisher] told his team that he didn't mind that they are 0-3, just bring a big stick. You need to bring a bigger stick next time."
Terry Allen, the 33-year-old Ravens running back, rushed for a season-high 108 yards on 22 carries. It was the first time in the past two years that Allen has gained more than 100 yards.
The Ravens were efficient in the air as well. Quarterback Elvis Grbac completed 15 of 31 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
Grbac connected with wide receiver Qadry Ismail on a 77-yard bomb that made it 14-0 with 10:05 left before halftime. Ismail beat Titans cornerback DeRon Jenkins, a former Raven, on a straight fly pattern down the right sideline. Ismail was two steps ahead of Jenkins on the pass and then walked into the end zone backward when Jenkins fell down.
"It was supposed to be two heavyweights and only one heavyweight showed up," Sharpe said. "They did all the talking, and we've got a 40-year-old back that came off the street last week and rushed for 100 yards. Somebody asked Brian what we did to the running game? Geritol."
Sharpe wasn't too far off on Allen. The Ravens signed Allen on Aug. 11, essentially off the street, three days after star Jamal Lewis blew out his left knee during training camp. Allen was signed from a five-player tryout that included Mario Bates, Greg Hill, Chris Warren and an out-of-shape Robert Chauncey.
Allen has increased his production each game thus far this season. In the opener against the Bears, he rushed for 37 yards on 20 carries and was openly criticized. The following week, Allen rushed for 61 yards. In last week's win at Denver, Allen rushed for 65 yards, which led to yesterday's 100-yard explosion.
"If we feel like we went out and Tennessee gave us something, then we're not prepared to win the division," Allen said.
The Ravens opened the game with an impressive six-play, 74-yard drive that was aided by a 36-yard pass interference penalty on Titans cornerback Donald Mitchell. On second-and-3 at the Titans 9, Allen burst through off left guard for his 72nd career touchdown that gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
Ravens kicker Matt Stover kicked 26- and 25-yard field goals and reserve running back Jason Brookins made it 26-7 on a fourth-quarter, 1-yard plunge off right guard. It was Brookins' first career touchdown.
The Ravens defense deserved a shutout. The Titans scored their only points of the game on a special teams play in the third quarter. Trailing 20-0, Mitchell darted untouched through the interior of the Ravens line and snuffed Kyle Richardson's punt at the Ravens 26. Mitchell picked up the ball and fought his way into the end zone.

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