Work in Sports
Boring Beltway battle
Redskins prevail 10-3 in defensive struggle with Ravens
Updated: Monday October 16, 2000 2:16 AM
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Stephen Davis took his share of hits through three quarters, then provided the decisive run when it counted most.
The Washington Redskins became the third team in row to hold Baltimore without a touchdown and the first to get a victory, using a fourth-quarter score by Davis to beat the Ravens 10-3 on Sunday.
"We knew it would be like a baseball score," Washington defensive end Kenard Lang said. "We knew the defense was going to have to step up, but Stephen hit the home run."
Even though Davis' 33-yard TD run came with 14:18 left, given the plight of the Ravens offense, it might as well have been a walkoff homer. Baltimore couldn't get past the Washington 48 during its final two possessions and did not get the ball after punting with 5:30 remaining.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Redskins (5-2), who limited the Ravens to 199 yards in a game between teams more interested in holding onto first place than claiming bragging rights against their in-state opponent.
"We were able to move the ball in the second half and get some drives going," Redskins head coach Norv Turner said. "Defensively we hung in there all day, made plays and put pressure on the quarterback. It's nice to put a game like that together."
Washington bottled up Baltimore quarterback Tony Banks for much of the game and greatly benefited from a strange play call at the end of the first half to remain atop the NFC East.
The Ravens (5-2) won their previous two games despite failing to score a touchdown, a feat last accomplished in the NFL by the 1925 Detroit Panthers.
But that formula wasn't enough Sunday, even though Baltimore's highly touted defense limited Davis to 35 yards rushing through three quarters.
"I just kept pounding and pounding, hoping something good would happen," Davis said. "And it did."
The Redskins went up 10-3 when Davis capped an 80-yard drive by bursting through a hole off left tackle and cutting to the outside into the clear. Davis had three carries for 50 yards on the seven-play drive, including a 16-yarder that ended with him lying on the ground for several minutes.
Obviously, he wasn't seriously hurt. Davis finished with 91 yards on 21 carries.
"It was the kind of a game that was advertised, a tough, physical game," Ravens head coach Brian Billick said. "They were able to make the one big play, the big one by Stephen Davis, and we weren't. You kind of figured it would come down to that."
The defeat ended the Ravens' three-game winning streak and dropped them out of first place in the AFC Central.
Banks went 16-for-27 for 135 yards and one very costly interception.
The first half ended in a 3-3 tie and with the Ravens lamenting an ill-advised call.
With time running out, Baltimore inexplicably tried a pass on first-and-goal from the 1 despite having two timeouts left. Banks' throw to Shannon Sharpe was intercepted in the end zone by Kevin Mitchell with five seconds to go.
"We probably should have thrown it away," Billick said.
"The primary guy was covered. We didn't have it the way we thought we had it," Banks said. "If I throw a higher ball there, maybe Shannon is able to pluck it. If not, we get a field goal out of it."
That served as an appropriate conclusion to a half that was dominated by both defenses.
The Redskins managed only two first downs before moving 45 yards in an 11-play drive that ended with a 37-yard field goal by newcomer Kris Heppner midway through the second quarter. Brad Johnson went 5-for-5, including an 18-yard completion to Larry Centers and a 23-yarder to James Thrash.
Baltimore bounced right back, tying it on a 51-yard field goal by Matt Stover.
Davis then lost a fumble at the Washington 42, but Banks gave it back with his errant toss into the end zone.
Notes: Redskins DB Darrell Green strained a calf muscle in the first quarter and did not return. ... It was the 24th consecutive game in which Baltimore did not permit a 100-yard rusher. ... Because Deion Sanders was nursing a back injury, James Thrash fielded punts for the Redskins. ... With Irving Fryar inactive, the Redskins on occasion used CB Champ Bailey as a receiver. ... Ravens DT Sam Adams hurt his groin in the first quarter and did not return. ... Johnson, who went 18-for-27 for 158 yards, was held under 200 yards passing for the first time this season.