Three in 36: Third-quarter TD flurry puts jolt in game
Updated: Monday January 29, 2001 1:49 AM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Three touchdowns in 36 seconds. It was a veritable smorgasbord of scoring. A plethora of points. A touchdown trifecta.
In this Super Bowl, who would've figured that?
Super Bowl XXXV, between the equally offensively challenged Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants, was supposed to be a game where points were as hard to come by as a low-key halftime show. All week long, the analysts picked 10-7, 6-3, 13-6 scores. This one was supposed to be a scoring snooze.
Here's a look:
When Collins hopped coming out of the first step of a three-step drop, Starks knew he had him. He jumped inside of the route, picked off the pass and went 49 yards for a touchdown.
"Any time you throw the ball in the squat corner," Starks said, "you're going to be in trouble. I had a positive read. I had an upper hand on that. I baited him up all day."
Toomer had caught two passes for 24 yards to that point, both on Starks. But Starks said he had given those up in hopes of jumping on the pass later, when it counted.
It counted with 3:49 left in the quarter.
"I knew what coverage I had. I knew all those things," a disgusted Collins said. "I've got to see his position, where he's playing and what he's going to do. I think he led me the whole way."
Dixon then cut back toward the middle of the field, splitting would-be tacklers Anthony Davis and James Trapp, ran past Cornell Brown and scored on a 97-yard return. Suddenly, the score was 17-7 with 3:31 left in the quarter -- the play had taken only 18 seconds, officially -- and the Giants had a little life.
"It was a wedge left and the guys did a wonderful job of blocking," Dixon said. "I thought it was going to be a big emotional lift and things were going to take off."
It was. For about 18 seconds.
Taking Brad Daluiso's kickoff with a hopping catch at the 16, he followed a block by Corey Harris down the right sideline. Harris stayed on Emmanuel McDaniel, who turned inside to try to get to Lewis. When Lewis saw that, he moved to the outside, avoided a lunging tackle attempt by Dave Thomas and tip-toed down the sideline for an 84-yard touchdown.
Dixon and Lewis became the first to score on back-to-back kickoff returns in Super Bowl history.
"I knew they were tired, 'cause the same people who did kickoffs did kickoff returns," Lewis said of the Giants' special teams. "I just wanted to do something."
What he did, it seemed, was quickly and decisively answer the Giants' last-gasp attempt to get back in the game. The touchdown -- which took only 18 seconds, officially -- made the score 24-7.
"I knew it was over at that point," said Lewis. "They couldn't really move the ball, offensively. I think that just did it."
Three touchdowns in 36 seconds. Though none came from an offense.
Guess we should have figured that after all.