- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2002

BALTIMORE Until yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens had avoided being embarrassed at home. That streak ended on one of the most somber days in Baltimore football history. On an afternoon to honor the unexpected death of legend Johnny Unitas, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed no compassion and humiliated the Ravens.
Tampa Bay's rowdy defense limited the Ravens to just 173 total yards including only 55 rushing yards and hammered the Ravens 25-0 in their home opener before 69,304 at Ravens Stadium.
The shutout was the first for the Ravens at home and just the second in team history. The previous shutout was on Nov.9, 1997 in a 37-0 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium.
The most disturbing aspect about this loss was the manner in which the Buccaneers (1-1) humiliated the hosts. Late in the first quarter, Warren Sapp, the Buccaneers' five-time Pro Bowl tackle, picked up Ravens rookie running back Chester Taylor and body-slammed him to the ground. Sapp was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul, but the tone was set. Throughout the game, the Buccaneers talked trash and the young Ravens appeared intimidated and did nothing to retaliate.
"It's like somebody coming into your house and slapping your wife," Ravens wide receiver Travis Taylor said. "You've got to get an attitude about yourself and say, 'Hey, I'm not going to let it happen.' We're going to have to defend our home turf. We can't go out there and let people do that kind of stuff."
Chris Redman, the Ravens' third-year quarterback, hurried his passes and never got into a rhythm. In his second pro start, Redman completed 16 of 38 passes for 141 yards with one costly interception and a passer rating of 41.7.
The Buccaneers sacked Redman three times for minus-23 yards. Star running back Jamal Lewis gained 53 yards on 17 carries (3.1 avg.). Ravens Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden suffered a mild concussion in the fourth quarter and left the game.
Yesterday, the Ravens' anemic offense handed the Buccaneers nine points. On the first play of the second half and trailing 13-0 with the ball at their 22, Redman and Lewis botched a handoff on a run to the left side. The ball squirted all the way to the goal line where it hit the pylon, resulting in a safety and a 15-0 lead for the Buccaneers.
"We had an outside running call and it was getting a little slippery out there and we didn't get the exchange," Redman said. "I don't think it was anyone's fault."
Redman couldn't deflect blame on another play. With 1:06 left in the game, and the Ravens (0-2) trying to avoid the shutout at the Buccaneers' 4-yard line, Tampa Bay Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks intercepted Redman's forced pass to tight end Todd Heap at the 3, and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown that made it 25-0. Brooks' return was the longest in team history, surpassing Perry Phenix's 87-yard return on Nov. 12, 2000 at the Tennessee Titans.
"We always say that if you can't score, you can't win," Sapp said. "[Derrick] Brooks preserved it for us. That's the best part. The best player on your team preserves the shutout and everybody gets a game ball."
The Ravens defense played respectably and did not allow an offensive touchdown. Buccaneers kicker Martin Gramatica made a 36-yard first-quarter field goal and two 30-yarders.
Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson was at his efficient best, completing 24 of 31 passes for 211 yards. Most importantly, Johnson converted 13 first downs through the air and the Buccaneers' offense finished with 279 total yards.
"That's Brad's game," said Ravens coach Brian Billick, who once coached Johnson with the Minnesota Vikings when he was offensive coordinator. "Brad's very, very good at that. They're well-schemed with those dinks and dunks and can do a lot with it."
Carl Williams, the Buccaneers' punt returner, delivered an early blow to the Ravens when he returned a punt 56 yards for the game's first touchdown and gave Tampa Bay a 10-0 lead. The Ravens punt coverage unit over-ran rookie Dave Zastudil's 49-yard kick. Williams caught the ball at his 44 and ran untouched down the right sideline for the fifth punt return touchdown in his career.
"That was very disappointing, we had been playing pretty well special teams-wise," Billick said. "We had guys around it [ball], it was just a matter of not tackling well."

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