Perfect Titans take pleasure in upending of rival Ravens
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2008 7:33 pm
By: By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are still unbeaten, and that was the easily most important facet of their comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Then again, there’s no denying the pleasure that Kerry Collins and a few longtime members of the Titans derived from beating a team once considered to be a nemesis.
Facing a rugged Baltimore defense that still conjures unpleasant memories, Collins directed an 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter Sunday, capped by an 11-yard pass to Alge Crumpler with 1:56 left that gave the Titans a 13-10 victory.
Led by an unyielding defense and their veteran quarterback, Tennessee (5-0) extended the best start in franchise history at the expense of their one-time — and apparently still — bitter rivals.
At the end of the 2000 season, Baltimore eliminated Tennessee from the playoffs and went to the Super Bowl to face the Collins-led New York Giants. The Ravens frustrated Collins from the outset and cruised to a 34-7 victory.
That was the last time Collins started against Baltimore. This win didn’t serve as revenge, but it sure helped ease the pain of that humbling setback.
“It’s hard to forget that one. Obviously, it wasn’t one of my better days,” Collins said. “Sure, I wanted to beat them — I wanted to go 5-0 most of all.”
Collins got what he wanted, and in the process took away some of the sting from Tennessee’s playoff loss eight seasons ago.
“This organization thinks this Baltimore organization took something from them back in 2000,” Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck said. “Us being 4-0 and Ray-Ray (Lewis) and those guys being over there … I think in the back of their minds, they never want to see Tennessee be successful, especially coming into their house.”
The game came down to Collins’ touchdown drive, which was helped along by a questionable penalty against the Ravens (2-2). On a third-and-10 play from the Tennessee 20, Collins threw incomplete.
But Terrell Suggs was flagged for a blow to Collins’ helmet — although the hit appeared to be little more than incidental contact.
At least that’s how Suggs saw it.
“If anybody can go back and show something I did illegal, then I would be happy to say I messed up and got what I deserved,” he said. “We hit arms. It just goes to show the referee has too much power.”
It was the last of several personal foul calls in a game marred by numerous skirmishes. Tennessee was penalized 10 times for 78 yards, including a pair of 15-yard infractions that fueled both Baltimore’s scoring drives.
The Ravens were assessed 11 penalties for 91 yards. The most significant, of course, was the one flag thrown on Suggs.
“He got him on the side of the helmet,” referee Bill Carollo said. “We’re blowing the whistle, blowing the whistle. He may not have heard that … but he still can’t hit the quarterback on the helmet.”
After the TD pass to Crumpler, Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was intercepted by Nick Harper, assuring the Ravens a second straight defeat.
Flacco went 18-for-27 for 153 yards and two interceptions. Baltimore’s lone touchdown came on a third-quarter plunge by Le’Ron McClain.
The Ravens’ top-ranked defense was stingy, but Tennessee’s fifth-ranked unit allowed fewer points.
“Our young defense definitely took something from the Baltimore Ravens’ book today,” Bulluck said.
Collins finished 17-for-32 for 163 yards and two interceptions. Although his statistics weren’t impressive, he had no complaints.
“Obviously, they’re a tough defense. It wasn’t always pretty today. It wasn’t my best game,” Collins said. “But at the end of the game we found a way to win.”
Notes: Michael Phelps, wearing a No. 8 Ravens jersey to coincide with his gold medal count at the 2008 Summer Olympics, was on hand for the opening coin toss. … Ravens OT Adam Terry left in the second quarter with an injured right knee. … Tennessee has not allowed more than 17 points in nine straight games.