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September 24, 1999     Cape Gazette
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September 24, 1999

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GAZETTE, Friday, September 24 - September 30, 1999 Fredman's Football News & Views Pittsburgh quarterback Kordell Stewart, left, picks up some blockers as he dashes around , Dave Frederick photo@ right end for the Steelers' first touchdown in a 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Raven defensive players Ray Lewis, left, and Rod Woodson Sunday afternoon, Sept. 19. talk strategy prior to the start of Sunday's game. Steelers absorb body shot, then knock out Ravens at tae bell, 23.20 By Dave Frederick Baltimore Ravens' Coach Bill Billick was emphatic going into the season that there would be no quarterback controversy on his ball club. Sixty-nine thousand Raven fans were unanimous and united last Sunday, Sept. 19, shar- ing the same opinion. They all hate starter Scott Mitchell. The lumbering lefty, "cleverly" picked by Billick and the Ravens from the litter of Detroit coach Bobby Ross's third team dog- house depth chart, arrived in mini- camp last spring looking more like the "Hamburger Helper" tail- gate horseshoe champion than an NFL quarterback. Mitchell; 6-foot-6-inches and 250 pounds of idealized program weight, projects a lackadaisical body language on the field and has become a lightning rod for fans, catching more boos than a midnight ghostbuster sleeping in the back bedroom of Edgar Allan Poe's downtown rowhouse. Mitchell was pulled from the game in the third quarter in favor of little known Stoney Case (New Mexico) after going 7-for-16 in Raven tight end Lovett Purnell, a product of Seaford High, dressed for the Raven-Steeler game last Sunday.  Tuesday, Sept. 21, Purnell learned that-his NFL career was on a teat. imrmey4to aftee t released him ......................... - the first half, including two inter- ceptions. Dewayne Washington got the party rocking for the vocal Steeler fans when he picked off Scott Mitchell on the game's third play from scrimmage. Behind the magic of "The Bus" Jerome Bet- tis, Pittsburgh "ground round" the football down to the eight yard line where the "happy feet" of quarterback Kordell Stewart stepped into a seam on a quarter- back draw, then snaked through the defense like an eel on a wet dock for an eight-yard touchdown run. Stewart is 5-0 as a starter against Baltimore. "Any time you start the season on the road with two wins against two division opponents you've got to be pleased," said Steelers' coach Bill Cowher. "There are things we need to fix and areas where we need to improve, but I'm proud of the way our team came back and got the victory. Baltimore is a good football team." Mitchell appropriately engi- neered the two tight end "load of fense" on the next drive, which in- cluded tight end Lovett Purnell out of Seaford on an 80-yard touchdown drive featuring "hey diddle diddle let's run up the mid- dle" fullback Eric Rhett. Rhett amassed lO0 yards on the after- noon. Priest Holmes, the project- ed starter, "stayed home" on the .bench. "We were shirked that they' ran the ball on us," said Steeler defen- sive end Nolan Harrison. "We're going to have to addresS' that this week. It was kind of insulting." Steeler Richard Huntley's 17- yard touchdown run on a counter action play in the second quarter followed by a Matt Stover 45-yard field goal made thescore 14-10 at halftime. The Steelers team hit the halftime tunnel with an air of confidence while Baltimore looked befuddled. Stoney Case was welcomed to the NFL prime time show in the third period when mammoth line- backer Levon Kickland, 6-foot-l- inch, 270 pounds, came clean on a backside blitz, causing a fumble, which the Steelers converted into a Kris Brown 32-yard field goal and a 17-10 lead. The crowd booed Case but it was intended as a joke. Bill Cowher was in no mood for joking afterl Case engineered his second scoring drive of the half, hitting Quadry Ismail on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 1:17 left in the ballgame tying the score at 20. Ironically it was coach Buddy Ryan who said, "Games in the NFL come down to five or six plays. Your athletes make the plays and you Win, they don't make them and you lose." The irony is that' Steelers offen- sive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is best known for getting punched in the face by tsomrhde coachand de- ensie' coordinatoi.'Ryan during a' nationally televised game when they were both with the Houston Oilers. But in the final minute of showtime in Raven Stadium, it was Kordell Stewart "Live at the Improv," running loose long enough to allow receiver Court- ney Hawkins' 12-yard reception to the 38 yard line and Troy Ed- wards' 16-yard catch to the 22 to break coverage and find dead space. The Ravens were losing the athlete on athlete "showdown at showtime" battle for the ball- game. Kris Brown's 36-yard field goal as time expired drove the stake through the collective heart of the Raven franchise, and to quote the Ravens, "Not again!" Raven quarterbacks Scott Mitchell, left, and Stoney Case converse on the side- line.. Cue replaced Mitchell in ti third qtmrter