- The Washington Times - Monday, November 25, 2002

BALTIMORE The Baltimore Ravens defeated one of the league's hottest teams yesterday, and they did it without their offense scoring a touchdown.
Luckily, special teams and defense carried the day for the Ravens as their 31st-rated offense stalled again. It also helped that the Tennessee Titans did everything in their power to give the game away.
Rookie safety Ed Reed blocked a punt for a touchdown, and the Ravens young defense intercepted three Steve McNair passes. When the game mercifully ended, the Ravens had a 13-12 win and put an end to the Titans' five-game winning streak before 69,365 at Ravens Stadium.
Despite mistakes, the Titans (6-5) had a chance to win in the waning minutes.
Trailing by a point, Tennessee regained possession at its 9 with 2:44 remaining. McNair moved his team to its 33. On fourth-and-2, Titans tight end Frank Wycheck dropped a short McNair pass, and that ended the game.
"It wasn't really so much what they did," said Titans running back Eddie George, who finished with 61 yards, 4 shy of surpassing Earl Campbell (8,574 yards) as the franchise's all-time leading rusher. "We knew what they were going to do. We just didn't make plays in the critical moments. We came up short. I dropped a pass. Derrick [Mason] dropped a pass that went for an interception.
"People were in position to make plays, but we didn't make it happen."
The game's first quarter was the Titans' undoing. There were plenty of mistakes to go around.
Reed's touchdown came on the game's fourth play. George dropped a sure touchdown in the end zone. Titans cornerback Andre Dyson had an interception returned for a touchdown wiped out because of a late hit on quarterback Jeff Blake. McNair was intercepted in the end zone by rookie linebacker Bart Scott, and McNair fumbled a snap at his 22 that was recovered by Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware.
The Titans' first-quarter miscues spotted the Ravens a 10-0 lead that included Matt Stover's 26-yard field goal. The Ravens' 10 first-quarter points were the most they've scored in the opening period this season. The Ravens had scored 23 first-quarter points this season.
"We managed to lose this game just about any way you can today," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "When you can't score touchdowns it's hard to win. It was not our best effort."
Four Joe Nedney fields goals 32, 37, 40 and 21 yards were all the Titans had to show for an offense that moved the ball seemingly at will. The Titans finished with 402 yards of total offense, more than doubling the Ravens' output (199).
"Stats are good at certain times, but we've been a defense so far that's done what it takes to win," Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said.
Said McNair: "They didn't do anything to stop us. They didn't do anything we haven't seen."
The only thing the win did for the Ravens (5-6) was get the offensively challenged team closer to .500.
Reed's blocked punt caught the Titans by surprise when he came untouched off the right edge. Titans upback Aric Morris half-heartedly lunged at Reed and barely got a piece of him.
Reed flew in, stuffed Titans punter Craig Hentrich, picked up the loose ball at the 11 and ran into the end zone untouched. It was Reed's second blocked punt of the season and the first blocked punt for a touchdown in team history. Reed's blocked punt Sept.30 against the Denver Broncos was the first in team history.
"I gave the guy a good fake, he bit on it, and I blocked the punt and scooped it and scored," Reed said.
After trying unsuccessfully to throw the ball for three quarters, the Ravens gave the ball to their best offensive player running back Jamal Lewis. Lewis barreled his way to 65 yards on six carries in the fourth and finished with 95 yards on 17 carries.
"I wasn't worried about their offense at all, just stopping Jamal Lewis, and you saw that in the fourth quarter," Titans left end Kevin Carter said.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide