BALTIMORE Three games ago, Baltimore Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe needed six receptions to become the NFL’s all-time leader by a tight end.
The inevitable finally happened. On the Ravens’ fifth play of the game, quarterback Elvis Grbac hit Sharpe over the middle for a 29-yard gain to the Cleveland Browns 42-yard line for his record-setting catch.
With 6:35 left in the first quarter, the game was stopped to honor Sharpe and allow Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens’ senior vice president of player personnel, to walk out on the field to congratulate Sharpe. Sharpe ended Newsome’s 10-year reign as the record holder.
The record was of little consolation to Sharpe, whose family was in the stands, in the wake of the Ravens’ dreadful 27-17 loss to the Browns.
“I said all along that no individual goal supersedes a win,” Sharpe said. “I’m pleased with the record, but you can’t do what we did and win.”
The Ravens turned the ball over five times (four interceptions and a lost fumble). Sharpe was the Ravens’ most productive receiver yesterday with seven receptions for 78 yards and now has 669 receptions for 8,361 yards, both all-time records for a tight end.
Wild third quarter
Slapstick football took over yesterday’s third quarter, when the teams combined to commit four turnovers. Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac tossed one interception in the end zone at the Browns’ 4-yard line and lost a fumble at the Browns’ 26-yard line.
Browns quarterback Tim Couch was intercepted twice, once by safety Rod Woodson and once by defensive end Michael McCrary, in the period.
It was Woodson’s 60th career interception, and it led to a touchdown that cut the Browns’ lead to 20-14. McCrary’s interception was the first of his career and led to a 42-yard Matt Stover field goal that narrowed the deficit to 20-17.
“In that third quarter, we had every opportunity to crack and fold: on the road, a great team, and turnovers,” first-year Browns coach Butch Davis said. “We’d get one, they’d get one.”
Ravens cornerback Duane Starks suffered a strained left groin and left the game in the second quarter and did not return. … The Browns’ victory snapped an eight-game home winning streak for the Ravens. The last time the Ravens lost at home was 9-6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 29, 2000…. The eight total turnovers by both teams tied a Ravens record, done five times previously…. Ravens running back Jason Brookins had a career-high 89 yards on 21 carries. … Ravens kicker Matt Stover extended his NFL record for consecutive games with a field goal to 36 with a 42-yarder in the third quarter. … The Ravens did not allow a 100-yard rusher for the 47th consecutive game…. The Ravens have not scored in the first quarter for five straight games. … Rookie cornerback Alvin Porter of the Ravens recorded his first career interception on the first play of the fourth quarter. … Rookie defensive back Anthony Henry tied a Browns record with three interceptions. … The Ravens were 0-for-3 on fourth-down conversions, including a botched fourth-and-1 at the Browns 1 on their first possession. … The Ravens allowed 137 kickoff return yards on four kicks.