Saturday, August 24, 2002

Ravens 13, Eagles 12

Blake challenging for starting job

The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — Though Ravens coach Brian Billick won't admit it, Baltimore could have a quarterback controversy. Jeff Blake threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Javin Hunter and Matt Stover kicked two field goals to lead the Ravens past the Philadelphia Eagles 13-12 on Friday night.

        Blake was 6-of-12 for 92 yards and led the Ravens to 10 points — all against Philadelphia's backup defense.

        First-year starter Chris Redman was 9-of-15 for 150 yards and one interception. He still hasn't led the Ravens into the end zone in three games.

        “I take whatever reps I get,” said Blake, who has said repeatedly that he wants to start. “I just want to win. I do whatever it takes to win. If I get the opportunity to play, I'll do the best I can.”

        Billick declined to address the situation.

        “I think he did some very good things,” Billick said of Redman. “Typically, there are things he needs to do better, but he made some big plays.”

        For the second straight week, the Eagles missed a 2-point conversion late in the fourth quarter that would have put them ahead.

        Tim Hasselbeck's 1-yard TD run with 1:19 left got Philadelphia (1-2) within a point, but Rod Smart dropped a pass from Tim Hasselbeck on the 2-point attempt.

        Last week, A.J. Feeley threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Sean Morey with 50 seconds left to get the Eagles within a point of New England. But Feeley's pass for a 2-point conversion went off the hands of Corey McIntyre as the Patriots held on for a 16-15 win.

        “There were opportunities to score there,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “Both times we dropped the ball.”

        Trailing 13-6, the Eagles got the ball at Baltimore's 43 after Paul Grasmanis recovered a fumble by Dameon Hunter with 5:26 left.

        Hasselbeck, competing with Feeley for the No. 3 quarterback spot, completed 12-yard passes to Sean Scott and Brian McDonald before he dived in from the 1.

        Philadelphia's first-team offense got just two field goals in the first half against a defense that was without several starters, including two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Peter Boulware.

        Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was 12-of-19 for 139 yards, but was sacked twice and had to run out of the pocket several times.

        “We had some plays we wanted back,” McNabb said. “The ball slipped out of my hands or whatever it may be, but I don't want to make excuses.”

        Blake, in his first season with the Ravens, got two series with Baltimore's starting offense, but couldn't generate any points.

        But Blake needed just two plays to get the Ravens' backups into the end zone in the third quarter. After a 10-yard punt return by Lamont Brightful put Baltimore at its 44, Blake completed a 31-yard pass to Ron Johnson before firing a 25-yard TD pass to Hunter that gave the Ravens a 10-6 lead with 5:45 left in the third.

        Stover's 31-yard field goal made it 13-6 early in the fourth quarter. Stover hit a 44-yarder to cut it to 6-3 late in the first half.

        The Eagles' starters went three-and-out on three of their last four possessions, and have scored just one touchdown — against a backup defense — and two field goals in 13 possessions this preseason.

        Using just a simple version of their West Coast offense for their third straight game, the Eagles started well. Duce Staley had a 19-yard catch on the first play and McNabb added a 19-yard scramble on a first-and-15 to get inside the Ravens' 20.

        But after getting to the 16, Dorsey Levens lost two yards on a carry and McNabb was sacked by Will Demps on third-and-9. David Akers kicked a 40-yard field goal to make it 3-0.

        Philadelphia started its third drive at Baltimore's 40 after Barry Gardner intercepted Redman. A 10-yard pass to James Thrash and a 14-yarder to Chad Lewis again got them inside the 20.

        But on third-and-7 from the Ravens' 11, McNabb was sacked by Shannon Taylor, forcing the Eagles to settle for Akers' 34-yarder that made it 6-0 early in the second quarter.

        Akers, a Pro Bowl selection last year, missed a 55-yarder wide left just before the first half ended and was wide right on a 46-yarder in the third quarter.

        Baltimore played without starting running back Jamal Lewis, who missed last season with a knee injury. Last week, Lewis played in his first game since the 2001 Super Bowl, but was held out Friday to prevent injury.


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