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NFL Recap (Baltimore-Tennessee)
Posted: Sun December 6, 1998 at 9:30 p.m. ESTTENNESSEE 16, BALTIMORE 14
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Al Del Greco kicked three field goals, including a 33-yarder with 3:34 to play that accounted for the winning points, as the Tennessee Oilers broke a two-game losing streak with a 16-14 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Del Greco's 33-yarder was set up when Kyle Richardson's 21-yard punt gave the Oilers (7-6) the ball at the Baltimore 36-yard line. But the Ravens' offense, which had been stagnant all day, suddenly came alive on the ensuing possession and cut the deficit to two points when Jim Harbaugh hit a diving Floyd Turner in the end zone for a 20-yard score with 1:46 remaining.
The Oilers started their next possession from their own 25, but after three short runs by Eddie George that gained just eight yards and three timeouts by the Ravens, Tennessee was forced to punt.
Baltimore (5-8) began from its own 18 with 1:18 left, but on the second play, Harbaugh's deep pass down the middle to Turner was deflected by Samari Rolle and intercepted by a diving Steve Jackson.
"Today we had a courageous effort by a lot of people," Oilers coach Jeff Fisher said. "We found a way to win the ballgame at the end. Baltimore is a good football team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The offense made plays when we needed them to today. The defensive effort was very good today and we were able to get pressure on the quarterback."
Following Richardson's poor punt, Steve McNair hit Willie Davis for an 11-yard gain to the Ravens 25. George gained five yards on two carries and McNair followed with a one-yard completion to tight end Michael Roan to set up Del Greco's kick.
"You have to give them credit. They did a great job in the second half," said Davis. "They shut us down in the second half. In the first half, we pretty much moved the ball the way we wanted to. But you have to give credit to their coaches because they came back from halftime and made adjustments, and it was hard for us to move the ball."
Del Greco, who has connected on all 22 of his kicks from inside 40 yards this season, also hit on two 48-yarders in the first half for the Oilers, who recorded a huge win. Tennessee will travel to Jacksonville and Green Bay the next two weeks before closing against Minnesota.
"We've got to put three wins together to try and get in the playoffs," said Oilers tight end Frank Wycheck. "There is no quitting in any of these guys in the locker room, and we're going out to play hard. We'll have to let the chips fall where they may."
The Ravens were flagged for two penalties on the ensuing drive, but salvaged possession when Harbaugh hit Turner for a 16-yard gain and then found Roe for 27 yards to the Tennessee 20. On the next play, Harbaugh threw a strike down the left hashmarks to Turner, who made the catch while horizontal to the ground in the end zone.
"The coaches gave me an opportunity to make some plays today and I wish we could have come out with a win," Turner said.
After stopping George and the Oilers following the kick, the Ravens took gained control in search of a game-winning drive. Harbaugh hit running back Priest Holmes for a seven-yard gain on the first play, but Baltimore's hopes ended moments later on Jackon's interception.
"No excuses. The best team won," Ravens coach Ted Marchibroda said. "We made a comeback, but it was just not quite good enough. We spotted them 13 points and its tough to come back against a good team like this."
Harbaugh tried to make up for the lack of a running game by completing 15-of-28 for 214 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while being sacked six times. He also led the team in rushing with 31 yards on three attempts as the Ravens managed just 48 yards on the ground.
"He didn't have a chance today to do anything," Marchibroda added. "I don't want to say it's all the offensive line. One time it would be the protection and the next time we wouldn't be open. Next time we would get a ball batted down. We just didn't have the opportunity to move it, but we fought back in the second half and almost had a win."
McNair was 25-of-44 for 213 yards for the Oilers, while George carried 27 times for 63 yards.
Del Greco opened the scoring 5:34 into the contest with his first 48-yarder, capping a drive that took 10 plays but covered just 26 yards. Tennessee pushed the lead to 13-0 late in first period when George scored on a two-yard run and Del Greco connected again early in the second.
Baltimore finally got on the scoreboard just over four minutes into the third quarter when Harbaugh tossed a 66-yard TD pass to Turner. Turner racked up 108 yards on four receptions for his first career 100-yard game.
"The first half, we just didn't do anything," said Harbaugh. "We should have done better. Lack of protection was not the fault of the lineman. Maybe a couple of missed blocks, but I think we should have handled it."
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