BALTIMORE (AP) -- An incredibly short kick and the longest
interception return in NFL history were the key elements in a
harrowing victory for the Baltimore Ravens.
Jamal Lewis scored the decisive touchdown with 7:03 left
following a 7-yard punt, and Ed Reed sealed a 27-13 victory over
the Cleveland Browns by running an NFL-record 106 yards with an
interception in the waning seconds Sunday night.
The win was particularly satisfying because the Ravens fell
behind 7-0 when Richard Alston returned the opening kickoff 93
yards for a score.
"We stuck together. We didn't blink," said Travis Taylor, who
had seven catches. "That's what this team is all about."
Back from a two-game suspension for violating the NFL substance
abuse policy, Lewis ran for 81 yards on 22 carries. But his 2-yard
burst into the end zone was set up by two outstanding plays by
Baltimore's special teams.
First, rookie B.J. Sams made a diving save in the end zone to
enable Baltimore (5-3) to down a punt at the Cleveland 1. Then,
after the defense yielded only 1 yard on three plays, the Ravens
pressured Derrick Frost into a wobbly kick that made the touchdown
"I was trying to get it off quick. I saw the guy coming up the
middle," Frost said. "It's all about timing. ... I knew it was
going to be bad, but not that bad."
A 2-point conversion gave Baltimore a 20-13 lead, but Jeff
Garcia brought the Browns (3-5) to the Ravens 5 before a pass
deflected off Aaron Shea into Reed's arms. Reed then took off down
the right sideline and reached the end zone with 26 seconds left.
"He seems to always be around it when you need it," Baltimore
coach Brian Billick said. "He kind of waited to the end to do it.
Might have saved my heart a little bit if he'd of done it
As Garcia deftly moved the Browns downfield, Billick already was
thinking the worst.
"It was just a matter of whether they could go for two," he
But Shea was hit by linebacker Ray Lewis as the ball arrived,
and Reed did the rest.
"I thought it was pass interference. I thought they would make
the call, but they didn't," Shea said.
"I knew exactly the play they were going to try to run," Lewis
said. "I told Ed it was coming.
Said Reed: "I really saw it the whole way. You didn't know if
he was going to tip it or not. I just reacted."
Matt Stover kicked four field goals for the Ravens, who wore
black uniforms for the first time.
"The defense time and time again stepped up to the challenge.
We put it on the 5-yard line and they still somehow got it done,"
Alston stunned the Ravens and the crowd of 69,781 by putting
Baltimore in a hole with 14 seconds elapsed. He shook off an
attempted tackle by Chad Williams, then deked kicker Wade Richey
around midfield before veering right and sprinting down the
sideline into the end zone.
It was the first time the Browns scored on the opening kickoff
since September 1990, when Eric Metcalf went the distance against
the New York Jets. Alston was activated off the practice squad to
replace Andre King, who sprained his left ankle against
Philadelphia before Cleveland's bye last week.
The Ravens came back to take a 12-10 lead, but the Browns moved
72 yards in 13 plays before Phil Dawson kicked a 29-yard field goal
to make it 13-12 with 14:14 left. The drive was extended by a pass
interference call against Gary Baxter on third-and-10 and aided by
a 21-yard scramble by Garcia, who went 4-for-5 during the march.
Stover's fourth field goal of the first half, a 36-yarder as
time expired, had put Baltimore up 12-10. The play came after
Garcia lost a fumble while being sacked by Adalius Thomas.
Aided by a roughing-the-passer call against Kenard Lang, the
Ravens ended their second drive with a field goal. Late in the
period, Dawson kicked a 49-yarder after Baltimore lost the ball on
a botched handoff.
Ravens defensive back Deion Sanders injured a toe on his left
foot and did not play in the second half. He saw limited time as a
wide receiver, but was overthrown in the first quarter and later
dropped a pass.
Dawson extended his consecutive field goals made streak to
26. He hasn't missed a kick all season. ... Cleveland injuries
included DB Lewis Sanders (concussion), OL Kelvin Garmon (sprained
knee), WR Andre Davis (toe) and DB Leigh Bodden (shoulder).shoulder
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