Green catches red-hot reviews Tight end's banner game ends with nine receptions; R. Lewis has up-down day

THE BALTIMORE SUN

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tight end Eric Green's day started with a catch, continued with a fight, got interrupted by a concussion, and ended with a clutch performance that was his )) most notable as a Raven.

The Ravens would not have forced overtime had wide receiver Derrick Alexander not caught Vinny Testaverde's 16-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left in regulation. But the Ravens would not have been in position to tie the game without Green.

Four times during the Ravens' 80-yard, game-tying march, Testaverde hooked up with Green. Two of the receptions went for first downs, and Green's catches combined to produce 35 yards. His 9-yard reception preceded Alexander's sparkling reception in the left corner of the end zone.

"It was an opportunity for me to make some plays to help my team, and that's what I'm here for," Green said. "Vinny was throwing me the ball, and I just had to make the catches."

That capped off a nine-reception, 80-yard effort for Green, who ,, was lucky to be around long enough to make those late grabs. Three minutes into the contest, Green's day took a blurry turn. After catching Testaverde's first pass for a 7-yard gain, Green was drilled into the Giants Stadium turf by Jets linebacker James Farrior with a hard tackle. Several minutes later, Green left the game with a concussion.

"It was a good, legal play. He hit me in the back of the head," Green said. "That's the first time that's ever happened to me."

Shortly before Green left the game, though, he got in another lick -- on the Jets sideline, where Jermaine Lewis was hit hard out of bounds by linebacker Marvin Jones after a 14-yard pass completion.

Jones was flagged for a personal foul. Amazingly, Green got away with a retaliatory strike. Green shoved the offender hard enough to send Jones sprawling in front of the Jets' bench.

"That's my teammate, and I'm going to hit anybody who messes with my teammate," Green said.

Bam Morris also was in the thick of the brief melee.

"That was one of the turning points, when that guy took a cheap shot at [Lewis]," Morris said. "That was a bad shot. That ain't football. They threw the first blow, and it was time to go to war."

Highs and lows

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis was his typical, busy self, leading all players with 14 tackles, including 11 solo.

But Lewis' pass coverage problems also surfaced again. On third-and-five at the Ravens' 37 early in the second quarter, Lewis drew a holding penalty while trying to cover Jets slot receiver Wayne Chrebet. The Jets got an automatic first down, ** and eventually settled for a 28-yard field goal to take a 10-6 lead.

Later in the fourth quarter, Lewis drew a pass-interference call on a third-and-six play while trying to cover Chrebet over the middle.

Lewis questioned both calls.

"Both of those calls could go either way in the NFL, and [the officials] made them [the Jets'] way," Lewis said. "The referees get paid to do their job, and they don't get everything right. We've seen that enough this year.

"We just have to live with the calls. And to avoid those calls, you don't put yourself in that situation."

Lewis has 120 tackles this season. He had 142 as a rookie last year.

Morris not satisfied

With his 31-carry, 130-yard rushing effort, Morris is officially on a roll. In his past two games, Morris has carried 67 times for 306 yards.

But the bottom line of yesterday's contest left Morris unfulfilled.

"I feel good to a degree, but I didn't finish as well as I should have today," Morris said.

Morris pointed to the fourth-quarter fumble he lost at midfield, foiling a drive with the Ravens trailing, 13-9. He also recalled numerous short-yardage situations in which he failed to gain first-down yardage.

The Ravens were especially inept on third-and-short early. On their first three possessions, they failed to record first downs on third-and-one, resulting in punts.

Center Wally Williams credited the Jets with an effective scheme out of their 3-4 defense.

"We had a chance to get into the [Redskins'] linebackers last week, but [the Jets'] linebackers were real aggressive clogging up the gaps for a while," Williams said. "It was hard for us to get momentum going against those guys. We have to go back to the drawing board and make sure we don't have to worry about third-and-one."

Said Morris: "Just like last week, the line got stronger as the game went on. But they [the linebackers] were real quick off the ball. We knew the line wasn't going to block the linebacker on every play, but it's up to the running back to make some plays, too. I made plays most of the time, but I need to do more."

Mixed reviews

Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware had an up-and-down day. Early, he was burned for a touchdown by blowing a pass coverage on tight end Fred Baxter. Later, Chrebet flattened Boulware with a run block.

Not that Boulware didn't have his moments. He had four tackles, a sack, forced a fumble. And, in perhaps his most memorable, he drove backup quarterback Glenn Foley into the turf in the fourth quarter with a hit that appeared to be late. Foley lay on the turf for several moments, before giving way to starter Neil O'Donnell for one play.

The tackle did not draw a penalty. When asked if he could be fined for a late hit upon further review by the league, Boulware scoffed.

"All I can do is play aggressively," Boulware said. "I'm getting cheap-shotted all day, getting hit in the back of the head, getting held. Shoot, if I'm going to hit the quarterback, I'm going to hit him hard. What am I supposed to do, hit him soft? Forget that. You hit somebody as hard as you can. That's the way this game is played."

Injury report

Jermaine Lewis left the game for good in the fourth quarter when he was hit by Victor Green and suffered a high ankle sprain. X-rays were negative and Lewis will be evaluated again today.

Both tight ends, Green and Brian Kinchen, suffered concussions but both returned.

Ray Lewis suffered a right wrist sprain in the first half but stayed in the game. Fullback Cotton Kenyon suffered a right knee contusion and didn't return, and cornerback Donny Brady sprained a finger but returned.

Who's the QB?

Bill Parcells did it again. Eleven days after closing his quarterback controversy, the Jets' coach opened it back up again.

Parcells pulled former Maryland standout Donnell with 12: 37 left in the fourth quarter and inserted backup Glenn Foley. And just like he did in the last game against New England, Foley guided the Jets to a victory.

Parcells had given the job back to O'Donnell before last Sunday's bye. And now he must decide again.

"It's a production game," Parcells said. "I don't want to get into it. [O'Donnell] is under a lot of pressure to play well. You just have to do what you think is the best at the time. Whatever I have to do that I think gives us a chance, I'm going to do it."

Pub Date: 11/03/97

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