- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

MIAMI The Baltimore Ravens defense is known for its aggressive, gambling style. The offense tends to be, well, a little more conservative.
Yesterday, in the biggest game of the year for the defending Super Bowl champions, the offense continued on its ground game but also opened things up a little, took a few chances and scored more than enough points for a convincing 20-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins in an AFC wild-card playoff game at Pro Player Stadium.
"Guys were getting sick and tired of being maligned," said Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac, who was seven of eight for 90 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a first down on his team's two touchdown drives. "We just wanted to establish ourselves a little bit, and we did that today."
That was a big change from the last postseason.
In winning four playoff games last season, Baltimore recorded three touchdown drives of more than 57 yards, but one score came on a 96-yard catch by Shannon Sharpe and another on a 58-yard grab by the tight end. Yesterday's possessions were lengthy in both yardage and time. The first consumed 17 plays and 8:51. The second covered 11 plays and 5:42.
"You take touchdowns any way you can get them, but that's the way you want to do it," Ravens center Mike Flynn said. "You're getting in their heads, and they're getting tired. And that's nine minutes when your defense is on the sidelines."
The 90-yard march started inauspiciously. With the Ravens trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Grbac was sacked by Jason Taylor on first down at the Baltimore 10. But Grbac connected with Sharpe and tight end Todd Heap and then with receiver Brandon Stokley on three of the next four plays to move the ball to the 38.
That's when the underrated Ravens ground game took over. Moe Williams ran for 7 yards. After Terry Allen gained 2, Jason Brookins powered to the right for 8. From the Miami 45, Allen ran over safety Brian Walker for 13 yards. Brookins banged ahead for another 7 to the 25.
But it wasn't the same predictable ground game. On third-and-3, offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh got creative. He split Grbac wide and had Flynn snap the ball to 5-foot-7, 180-pound receiver Jermaine Lewis, who dashed up the gut for 5 yards and the first down.
"I didn't care if I made my block," Flynn said. "I just wanted to make sure of the snap because Jermaine's short. I'm used to snapping to Elvis, who's 6-foot-6."
Allen next ran right for 8, and after Brookins lost a yard, Grbac kept the ball for 4 yards and the sixth first down of the drive. Williams bulled for 5 yards before Allen cut between Flynn and Anderson and ran into the end zone to complete the 8:51 march.
"That's the kind of game the offensive line likes … to know that we have that kind of confidence in them to keep pounding that thing," Ravens coach Brian Billick said.
But it was still just a 7-3 lead when Miami's Scott Galyon downed Matt Turk's punt at the Baltimore 1 with 7:02 remaining in the third quarter.
"The game was kind of on the line at that point," Billick said. "If we had to punt from there, it could have changed the complexion of the game."
Allen ran twice for 9 yards, and on thrid-and-1, with the Dolphins stacked against the run, Cavanaugh gambled. Wideout Travis Taylor got a step on cornerback Patrick Surtain on a fly pattern, and Grbac found him for a 45-yard completion to the Miami 45.
"Mike Flynn and I kind of looked at each other and just smiled because we knew they were going to go one-on-one [coverage] on the outside," Grbac said. "We got the matchup that we had talked about. Travis made a great move at the line and got open."
The next six plays were runs, including a 15-yard end-around by Taylor and a 7-yard burst by Brookins on third-and-1 at the 17. And then on third-and-goal from the 4, Grbac and Taylor teamed up for the backbreaking touchdown.
"I was supposed to run a fade route to the outside, but [Surtain] played that, so I went inside, and somehow he saw me and threw it on a rope," Taylor said.

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