Despite injury, Dilfer ready to play

THE BALTIMORE SUN

MIAMI - Trent Dilfer wasn't completely healthy,but he was the Ravens' next optio if starting quarterback Tony Banks went down last night.

Dilfer was the Ravens' backup quarterback despite tearing ligaments in his knee at the end of Friday's practice. The seven-year veteran practiced Saturday and threw before the game, but he did not do much movement.

Dilfer, though, could have surgery as soon as today to repair the tear to his medical meniscus. He had a similar injury to the same knee in college.

Ravens rookie Chris Redman was inactive as the team's third quarterback.

Unpleasant reminder

Joseph Sweetlng, a co-defendant in Ray Lewis' murder trial, was expected to be at Pro Player Stadium last night promoting his rap CD, the Miami Herald reported.

On the CD, sweeting criticizes Ravens linebacker lewis for striking a plea bargain with Atlanta prosecutors in which the murder charges were dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to obstruction ofjustice.

Dolphines honor Marino

Under a barrage of fireworks, former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was inducted into the team's honor roll and had his uniform No. 13 retired. More than 90 Dolphins alumni attended the 25-minute halftime festivities, which included dedicating a life-size bronze statue that will be placed in front of Pro Player Stadium.

Marino will become only the second Dolphin to have his number retired, joining former quarterback Bob Griese, who wore No. 12.

"It's going to be a special moment," Marino said before the game. "I've been thinking about it all day. It's going to be tough, but I'm going to enjoy it."

Rushing defense struggles

It was supposed to be a mismatch: the Dolphins' inconsistent rushing game against the top run defense in the league.

The Ravens haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in an AFC-best 19 straight games heading into last night.

But they were pressed in the first half as running back Lamar Smith had 45 yards.

In their first two games, the Ravens hadn't allowed a team to rush for more than 26 yards in the first half.

Sharpe not popular in Miami

The Miami fans let tight end Shannon Sharpe know they remembered him.

In 1998, Sharpe made some unflattering remarksd about Marino, telling a magazine that Marino wasn't the quarterback he used to be. They booed Sharpe louder than any other Raven when the team's offense was announced, and booed him again after his first catch of the game.

"I get booed in every stadium," Sharpe said. "No more here than any place else. I said what I said and Dan let that be bygones. I didn't say that in a mean way, I was just being honest and truthful."

Messy conditions

Rain hit Pro Player Stadium about an hour and a half before kickoff and continued through most of the first half as the remnants of Hurricane Gordon lingered in the Miami area.

It's going to affect the game," Ravens coach Brian Buick said before the game. "The team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to win, simple."

In the first half, the Ravens had two fumbles, none of which was lost, and an interception.

Dolphins' corners tough

The Miami cornerbacks, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain, tried to make their presence known as they were flagged for penalties on the first drive of the game. However, they combined for a shutout in the first half, not allowing a Ravens receiver to make a catch.

"These two corners are as physical, jam-off-the-line guys as you'll see," Billick said.

Avoiding a letdown

After last week's emotional win over Jacksonville, now the test is for the Ravens to reach that high level every week.

"It's difficult," Ravens fullback Obateml Ayanbadejo said. "That's why they don't have teams going 16-0 anymore. But it's early in the season. I don't think we're totally tapped out emotionally yet. Sometimes even when you're tapped out, you have to dig and find more. It's part of the game. Teams that do dig and find more are teams that end up 11-5, 10-6, 12-4."

End zone

Kicker Matt Stover's streak of 22 straight field goals ended when his attempt to end the first half was blocked. It was the longest active streak in the NFL and fell one short of his career-best streak.... Defensive end Michael McCrary, who led the Ravens with 11 1/2 sacks last season, recorded his first of the season with five minutes left in the second quarter. ... Ravens president David Modell had T-shirts printed for the team that read "Road Warriors" along with the team's logo. ...NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue had to cancel his flight to attend last night's Marino festivities because of the weather.... Entering last night, the Dolphins had won 11 straight at home in September, dating to 1993. Including playoffs, the Dolphins had allowed just 252 points (14 per game) in their previous 18 home games overall. ...The Ravens' eight inactive players were receiver Qadry Ismail, tackle Sammy Williams, tight end John Jones, defensive end Adalius Thomas, cornerback Clarence Love, defensive end Carl Powell, and guard Kipp Vickers and Redman.

Sun staff writer Ken Murray contributed to this article.

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