Ravens roll to surprisingly easy victory
Updated: Monday January 29, 2001 9:25 AM
The Baltimore Ravens followed their trademark formula to success to victory in Super Bowl XXXV on Sunday. The Ravens received their usual stellar effort on defense, had good special teams play and even put together a solid offensive game to roll to a 34-7 victory against the New York Giants. NFL Preview's Bob Lorenz, Trev Alberts and Ron Meyer broke down the game.
Bob Lorenz: Super Bowl XXXV. We just can't figure this game out! The Baltimore Ravens 34-7 winners over the New York Giants in what is arguably one of the most dominating defensive performances ever!
Trev Alberts: Where did that come from? An offensive explosion by the Ravens. A complete domination on all sides of the ball. You looked at this game coming in -- the swagger of the Baltimore Ravens offensively and especially defensively, special teams -- clearly the dominant team here tonight. It wasn't even close! Ravens dominate the football game from start to finish.
Ron Meyer: That's obviously the key word here. I think we were misled. We were misled horribly by the Giants' offense of two weeks ago. They put up such staggering numbers against a defensive team from the Minnesota Vikings that didn't even show up. Coming in here that fooled all us "experts" because we just couldn't believe the Raven defense was going to smack them right in the mouth. The Ravens said they're going to shut them out, and you take away the kickoff return, that's exactly what they did.
Lorenz: Maybe the Giants really aren't that bad offensively, maybe that Ravens' defense is just that good. Although I will say the Giants had some opportunities offensively and they didn't capitalize on them.
Alberts: You could see the game plan early on. You could see the Giants and Kerry Collins thought, "We have to attack those defensive backs down the field," so they'd try to go back in the five- and seven-step drops. Kerry Collins just didn't have the time, the front four of Baltimore did a great job of getting pressure on him. Then Collins went to three-step drops to try to get rid of the ball quickly, and then Duane Starks steps in front. I think the real key for the Giants was this team all along when they had trouble, when they lost games, it was because they weren't balanced. They started out throwing the ball, they'd always run it at the end of the game and end up balanced. This team never was balanced. If they can't run the ball with Tiki Barber, they will not win football games. Credit the Raven defense.
Lorenz: Ron, on NFL Preview you talked about the relentlessness of Ray Lewis. He was the Super Bowl MVP, the seventh player on defense to be named a Super Bowl MVP. This guy was everywhere and it really had to frustrate Kerry Collins.
Meyer: We all know he can go sideline to sideline, and what a vicious tackler he is. He can just hack you up in the hole and put you down right now. But what impressed me the most, early in the first quarter he was everywhere there in pass defense. Tipping the ball away, almost intercepting the ball and really frustrating Kerry Collins in the first quarter, which later led to four interceptions as the game went on.
Lorenz: Trev, didn't it seem to you like Kerry Collins was trying to get that one big play?
Alberts: He was maybe too aggressive. There would be times when there where guys open, Tiki Barber or someone out in the flat, and sometimes Kerry Collins wanted to go to that extra length and get that first down and it led to four interceptions. The Baltimore Ravens have a great defense. They did a great job. They sat back in zone defense and took everything away and every time he did complete a pass they smacked him in the mouth. There were wide receivers who dropped balls in this game when they should have caught them, but Kerry Collins probably played his worst game as a pro.
Lorenz: On the flip side, what a homecoming of sorts for Trent Dilfer as he helps lead the Ravens to victory and does some things to move the ball, protect the ball and doesn't make mistakes. Everybody was looking for him to make those mistakes and he didn't.
Meyer: I think that's a big key. When you don't turn the ball over, you have a tremendous chance of being very successful on a NFL field, particularly when that field is the Super Bowl. I thought Trent Dilfer played a marvelous game. He almost had a touchdown over the top very early in the game, got one in there later in that first quarter to kind of set the stage. And his counterpart, Kerry Collins, just did the opposite. The ball was all over the place. When a defensive team scores as the Ravens did, they win over 90 percent of the time.
Alberts: The Giants were hurt defensively early on. They did a great job on first and second down. Then they went with some blitz pressures, to try to get pressure on Trent Dilfer. That was the last thing you want to do, because he actually throws the deep ball very well and hurt their corners. I thought Jason Sehorn had one of his poorer efforts. He fell down all the time! He needed to change his shoes or something.
But I think we can say flat out, the Baltimore Ravens -- the best defense there is in football. They don't fool anybody. They line up with their front seven, they flat beat you. They sit there in zone defense, they read the quarterback's eyes and they hit you in the secondary. The best defense in the history of the National Football League -- we saw it right here in Tampa.