- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

MIAMI It looked like last season's playoffs, it felt like last season's playoffs, only the calendar said it wasn't last season's playoffs.
Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick is touted as being a bright, young, offensive genius. Billick certainly is no dummy. He's using last season's winning formula for the Super Bowl again this postseason.
The Ravens rode their great defense and multi-headed rushing attack yesterday to defeat the Miami Dolphins 20-3 in an AFC wild-card game before 72,251 at Pro Player Stadium.
With the win, the Ravens will play top-seeded and AFC Central rival Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) Sunday at Heinz Field in an AFC divisional playoff game at 12:30 p.m. The Ravens split their series with the Steelers this season and were the only team this season to beat the Steelers at home.
"This is round three," Ravens Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis said. "[The Steelers] won one, we won one. They know what's coming."
Terry Allen led the Ravens' ground attack with 109 yards on 25 carries (4.4 avg.). The Ravens' record-setting defense from a year ago held Miami's punchless offense to 151 total yards. Collectively, the Ravens rushed for a season-high 226 yards on 50 carries.
The Ravens scored touchdowns on 90- and 99-yard drives. No team had rushed for more than 200 yards against the Dolphins' stout defense in coach Dave Wannstedt's two seasons.
"Along with the Tennessee game [a Ravens 26-7 win on Oct. 7], that is probably the most impressed I've been all year long," Billick said of his rushing attack. "That was truly running the ball when we wanted to run it. That defense we played is the fourth or fifth best statistically in the league. We have to feel good about that."
Allen, who missed six games this season with a broken hand and an ankle injury, appears rested and healthy. Last week, the 33-year-old Allen, who has had reconstructive surgery on both knees, rushed for a season-high 133 yards against the Minnesota Vikings. Yesterday, Allen, an 11-year veteran, played the game as if it were his last.
"I know how hard we worked to get to this point and I don't want to be the reason that we don't continue," Allen said. "All I've been hearing about is my age. So how fresh can an old man be?"
The Ravens received strong rushing performances from first-year man Jason Brookins, who gained 65 yards on 10 carries, and veteran Moe Williams added 24 yards on six carries.
"Terry is fresh and healthy for the playoff run and he is going to get his 20-25 carries," center Mike Flynn said. "We've got a guy like Brook coming off the bench who is real physical and a guy like Moe who can get to the outside. I kinda like the combination we got right now."
Said Dolphins Pro Bowl middle linebacker Zach Thomas, "When you let them, who haven't got a running game going all year, and they ran all over us, you've got to give them credit. We came out there flat in our own house."
Matt Cavanaugh, the Ravens offensive coordinator, called a conservative game for maligned quarterback Elvis Grbac. The turnover-prone Grbac completed 12 of 18 passes for just 133 yards and one touchdown. Grbac, who the Ravens signed as a free agent in the offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs for $30 million, made plays when he had to.
For example, on third-and-1 at their 10, Grbac connected with Travis Taylor on a 45-yard bomb up the right sideline. Taylor beat Dolphins cornerback Patrick Surtain on a fly pattern and Grbac placed the ball perfectly.
"We were in a blitz," Surtain said. "I had good position on him down the field. I kind of relaxed thinking that he was going to run an out route. I was going to sit on it and make a play. He ran the go route and Elvis made a terrific throw."
Eight plays later, Grbac found Taylor, who beat Surtain again, on a 4-yard fade pattern at the back of the end zone that gave the Ravens a 14-3 lead with 1:20 left in the third quarter. Taylor's touchdown culminated an impressive 99-yard drive.
"It just goes to show the character of the guys and we had the mindset going in of running the ball, playing smart, coming out and establishing the line of scrimmage they play a vanilla defense," Grbac said. "The offensive line and running backs played a great game."
The Ravens took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter on a 4-yard Allen touchdown plunge up the middle. Allen's run capped off the Ravens' 90-yard drive which consumed 8:51. Ravens kicker Matt Stover booted two fourth-quarter field goals of 35 and 40 yards to seal the game.
Jermaine Lewis fumbled the opening kickoff and gave the Dolphins great field position at the Ravens 24. The Ravens defense dug in, and four plays later, the Dolphins were forced to settle for a 33-yard Olindo Mare field goal.

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