In Super Bowl rematch, Ravens again stymie Giants
Updated: Friday August 31, 2001 6:54 PM
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The replacement officials turned in a laudable performance -- as did the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens held the New York Giants without a touchdown, forced three turnovers and used an efficient ground game to pull away to a 38-9 preseason victory Friday. Although both teams yanked their starters in the second quarter, the game played out in much the same fashion as Baltimore's 34-7 Super Bowl rout of New York in January. The Giants also failed to score a touchdown against Baltimore's defense in that game, and this time Ravens once again pulled away in the second half.
Led by backup running back Jason Brookins, who ran for 112 yards, Baltimore outscored New York 28-0 in the second half. The game was officiated by replacements, because the NFL has locked out its on-field officials in a labor dispute.
"I went into their dressing room after the game and thanked them," Giants owner Wellington Mara said. "I thought they did a good job handling the transition."
Each team was penalized five times, but neither was called for holding.
"Some of the guys were saying the refs were a little lenient on the holding, but I don't think it was enough to make a difference in the game," Baltimore center Mike Flynn said. "Believe it or not, we get away with a lot of holding anyway. There was a lot of pressure on them, and I think they did a good job. No one was really complaining."
Although the replacements had never worked together as a crew, they exhibited fine teamwork on a first-quarter play. Baltimore's Shannon Sharpe was initially given credit for a key catch on a third-down play, but two other officials rushed to the scene and correctly changed the call to an incompletion.
The officials called only three penalties in the first half. In the first quarter, they appeared to miss an illegal block on a Baltimore punt return. But in the second period, New York's Jack Golden was called a block above the waist on a punt return.
"I think they did an excellent job; they administered the game very well," Ravens head coach Brian Billick said. "That's a tough situation to come into."
The Ravens (1-2) scored 17 points off turnovers, including a 19-yard fumble return by Kelly Gregg that made it 38-9 in the fourth quarter. Gregg, a backup tackle, also intercepted a pass and recorded a sack.
It was the 11th consecutive year that New York (1-3) closed the preseason with a loss.
"They kept it basic and we kept it basic. Basically, it was just talent versus talent," Giants linebacker Mike Barrow said.
On this day, and in the Super Bowl, the Ravens were just too good for New York.
Giants quarterback Kerry Collins played only the first quarter, going 7-for-13 for 91 yards. His job was aided by the absence of Ravens starting cornerbacks Duane Starks and Chris McAlister, who were held out with minor injuries. "I feel great about where we're at right now," Collins said. "I feel like we've made a lot of progress."
Elvis Grbac, signed by the Ravens in the offseason to replace Super Bowl quarterback Trent Dilfer, went 4-for-9 for 86 yards before leaving after four series. Terry Allen, playing in his second game as a replacement for the injured Jamal Lewis, gained 29 yards on 12 carries and scored his first touchdown with Baltimore.
The Giants scored a field goal on their first possession -- more points than their offense produced during 60 minutes in the Super Bowl. Collins opened the drive with a 36-yard completion to Amani Toomer, and newcomer Morten Andersen capped the drive with the first of his three field goals.
Baltimore expanded its 10-9 halftime lead when Brookins scored on a 2-yard run after New York's Will Allen dropped a punt. A 70-yard run by Brookins set up a TD pass from Chris Redman to Jermaine Lewis for a 24-9 lead.
"Offensively, we did some good things -- not just the first team but the second team," Grbac said. "We've got some weapons we can use, and can score points."