Wake 'em up
Three return TDs in 36 seconds give game a jolt
Updated: Monday January 29, 2001 12:11 AM
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Three plays, three touchdowns.
In a Super Bowl in which points were supposed to be at a premium, three touchdown returns on consecutive plays consumed just 36 seconds in the third quarter. The quick scores provided a flurry of action to a punt-filled 34-7 Baltimore rout of the New York Giants on Sunday.
The Ravens got the best of the touchdown exchange, scoring on a 49-yard interception return by Duane Starks and an 84-yard kickoff return by Jermaine Lewis, sandwiched around Ron Dixon's 97-yard touchdown return for the Giants.
"I thought the Giants had some momentum [after Dixon's return] since they weren't moving offensively," Lewis said. "Since a lot of the same guys are on kickoff returns and kickoffs, I figured they would be a little tired, so I wanted to take advantage of it."
He did just that, giving the Ravens a 24-7 lead and effectively ending any hope the Giants had of a comeback.
The return by Starks gave the Ravens a 17-0 advantage, a seemingly insurmountable margin against a virtually immovable Baltimore defense that seemed poised to get the first shutout in Super Bowl history.
But Dixon, the rookie from tiny Lambuth College who also had a return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff in New York's playoff victory over Philadelphia, gave the Giants some life with his 97-yard dash up the middle.
"I was hoping it would turn things around, give us an emotional lift," said Dixon, who developed a leg cramp at midfield during his return.
"I was receiving treatment on the sideline when I just caught a glimpse of Lewis running on the big screen," he said.
Asked how he could keep running through the cramp, he said, "I had to score. I had to run through the pain.'
On Lewis' return, he found a lane and tightroped down the sideline for a touchdown with 3:13 left in the quarter.
Starks said that film study helped him on his interception of Kerry Collins, one of four by the Ravens.
"He gave an extra hop on his delivery that I saw on film, and I knew he was going to throw the ball, so I broke on it," Starks said. "I told everyone this was not going to be a boring Super Bowl, and those three quick touchdowns proved that."
Starks said the Ravens' defenders were disappointed to lose a chance at the first Super Bowl shutout because of Dixon's return.
"As a team, it was disappointing, but in our hearts we got a shutout as a defense," Starks said.