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Quoth Ravens to Jags: 'Nevermore'

Behind big comeback, Baltimore beats Jacksonville for first time in nine tries

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2000

Meet the new, exciting Baltimore Ravens, and the old, inept Cincinnati Bengals.

Baltimore, an also-ran since moving from Cleveland, has the look of a Super Bowl contender. Cincinnati has its same tired look just one game into the season.

The Ravens beat Jacksonville for the first time in nine tries, overcoming a 17-point deficit Sunday for a 39-36 victory as Tony Banks threw for five touchdowns, hitting Shannon Sharpe for a 29-yarder with 41 seconds left.

''It was like we won the Super Bowl,'' Banks said.

The Bengals (0-1) christened their new Paul Brown Stadium in much the same way they left their old ballpark -- by losing. The Cleveland Browns (1-1) may have reignited the Ohio rivalry with a convincing 24-7 victory that was the biggest of their 18-game existence since returning to the NFL last year.

''I know it was special for me because the stadium is named after Paul Brown, and I'll take it to my grave -- that I won the first game in Paul Brown Stadium,'' Cleveland coach Chris Palmer said.

Ravens 39, Jaguars 36

Their first win over Jacksonville (1-1) enabled the host Ravens (2-0) to take sole possession of the AFC Central lead for the first time in their five-year history. Down 17-0, they relied on Banks' career day. He finished 23-for-40 for 262 yards, despite losing top receiver Qadry Ismail to a knee injury in the opening quarter.

Jimmy Smith was unstoppable for the Jaguars with 15 catches for a career-high 291 yards and three touchdowns. His 41-yard score on a defected pass set up the late heroics by Banks and Sharpe.

Browns 24, Bengals 7

Tim Couch played his finest NFL game, throwing for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the debut of Paul Brown Stadium. He raised his arms in triumph after each touchdown pass -- Cincinnati's Akili Smith angered Couch with his chest-pounding and Dawg Pound taunting after he led the Bengals to a win in Cleveland last October.

This time, Keith McKenzie had three of Cleveland's seven sacks on Smith, who threw two interceptions.

Thousands of Browns fans remained at the end, woofing as Couch took a knee to run the clock down.

Rams 37, Seahawks 34

At Seattle, Warner completed 35 of 47 passes for 386 yards and a touchdown, with one interception that was run back for a score by Jay Bellamy. Marshall Faulk has 153 yards overall and Jeff Wilkins made a 27-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining to win it.

St. Louis (2-0) drove 61 yards in eight plays for its winning score, with Warner finding Torry Holt for 41 yards on third-and-17.

Buccaneers 41, Bears 0

Add some offense to the Bucs' overpowering defense. With Michael Jordan watching in Tampa, the Bucs (2-0) forced four turnovers to help build a 20-point halftime lead. Then the offense scored on five of its last seven possessions.

Donnie Abraham intercepted Cade McNown's passes twice to set up 10 points, then forced a fumble that Ronde Barber returned 24 yards for a touchdown. Shaun King threw for two scores and ran for one.

Lions 15, Redskins 10

Jason Hanson kicked five field goals, including a 54-yarder, and the defense had four interceptions of Brad Johnson, three in the final quarter, and one with 48 seconds left by Terry Fair. Host Detroit took advantage of Deion Sanders, frequently throwing his way and forcing a key penalty late in the game.

Raiders 38, Colts 31

Down 21-0, the visiting Raiders (2-0) got three touchdowns rushing by Rich Gannon, and Tyrone Wheatley ran for two scores.

The Colts (1-1) scored on their first three possessions, when Peyton Manning completed 14 straight passes. He threw for three touchdowns, but was picked off twice. Marvin Harrison had 10 catches for 141 yards and a score.

Titans 17, Chiefs 14, OT

Tennessee (1-1) is undefeated in its new home and tied the NFL record of nine consecutive victories in a new stadium set by Dallas in 1971-72. Al Del Greco's 36-yard field goal won it after Neil O'Donnell, subbing for injured Steve McNair (bruised chest), tied it on an 8-yard toss to Yancey Thigpen with 50 seconds remaining.

Vikings 13, Dolphins 7

Minnesota (2-0) had some big numbers despite scoring only 13 points. Daunte Culpepper overcame three interceptions with his first career touchdown pass, a 1-yarder to Randy Moss with 1:56 to go.

Culpepper was 23-for-36 for 355 yards. Cris Carter caught nine passes for a career-high 168 yards.

Bills 27, Packers 18

The defense had five sacks, and Rob Johnson, playing with an injured foot, threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns at Buffalo (2-0). Jay Riemersma had two touchdown receptions, and Jeremy McDaniel scored his first career touchdown.

Giants 33, Eagles 18

One week after their running game was dominant, the Giants (2-0) turned to the air at Philadelphia. Kerry Collins hit 21 of 29 passes and threw for two scores. The rushers weren't bad, either, as Tiki Barber had 96 yards and rookie Ron Dayne gained 50.

Saints 28, Chargers 27

Jeff Blake's third touchdown pass, an 8-yarder to Joe Horn with 47 seconds left, capped a 90-yard drive. The visitors (1-1) were aided by a pass interference call against DeRon Jenkins and an unnecessary roughness call against Rodney Harrison, and the Chargers (0-2) had 12 players on the field on the TD.

Broncos 42, Falcons 14

Rookie Mike Anderson, making his first NFL start because of injuries to Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary, carried 31 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Griese was 20-of-33 for 268 yards and three touchdowns, two to Rod Smith for Denver (1-1), which saw kick Jason Elam leave with a lower back injury when he was wiped out by a block on a kickoff return for a touchdown by Darrick Vaughn.

Panthers 38, 49ers 22

Steve Beuerlein threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns, spoiling a day on which the 49ers honored Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Dave Wilcox, who entered the Hall of Fame this year.

Cardinals 32, Cowboys 31

Jake Plummer led the Cardinals (1-1) to victory with a late drive on which he passed to David Boston for 63 yards, then hit a 17-yarder to Frank Sanders for the touchdown with 1:54 remaining. It was the 12th fourth-quarter comeback victory Plummer has directed in his 40-game career.

Cary Blanchard made four field goals at Tempe, Ariz.

Dallas (0-2) got three TD passes from backup QB Randall Cunningham.



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