Welcome to the CBS halftime show...
Randy Cross: Thanks for joining us in the studio, I’m Randy Cross, and with me are Mike Ditka and Jerry Glanville.
Cross: Well, there hasn’t been a lot of offense in this one, let’s look at the highlights:
OK. Here we go. The Ravens took the opening kickoff, and gave a preview of things to come on just the 3rd play from scrimmage.
“Dilfer back to pass, he looks over the middle, and it’s deflected! The ball is in the air, and Keith Traylor grabs it! Bronco’s ball!”
Ditka: You always love to see a defensive lineman come away with an interception.
Glanville: He just got his mitts in the air, and THUD. And he got himself a turnover!
Cross: Well, Denver wasn’t able to do anything with the field position, and were forced to punt the ball away. The game stayed in a scoreless tie with neither team able to do anything offensively for most of the 1st quarter, until this play gave the Ravens a huge break.
“Richardson back at the Ravens 40 yard line to punt it away. He takes the snap and he gets the ball away cleanly… it’s high, not very deep. O’Neal is back waiting for it… he calls for the fair catch and he DROPS THE BALL! And it looks like the Ravens recovered! They did! Ravens ball at the Denver 10 yard line!”
Ditka: You’ve gotta secure the ball on a return, that’s inexcusable.
Cross: Well, the Ravens made it difficult for themselves by getting 15 yards of penalties on this drive, but they managed to recover the yardage, and get into a 3rd and goal from the one yard line.
“Ravens, 3rd and goal at the one. They’re lined up in the pro set, Dilfer barking out the count. And he takes the snap, QB sneak. No signal yet from the refs. It’s GOOD, touchdown Baltimore, and the Ravens draw first blood!”
Cross: And the first quarter ended with a 7-0 Ravens lead. The 2nd quarter started the same with a lot of defense and punting, until the Ravens faced a 1st and ten at their own 32.
“Dilfer drops back to pass, he fakes the handoff to Lewis, the safety bites. He drops back, he has a man in single coverage deep, he throws it… interception, Terell Buckley! A bad throw by Dilfer, that’s his 2nd interception of the day, and Buckley has returned the ball to the Denver 47 yard line. 1st down, Broncos!”
Cross: Well, the Broncos used that turnover and a roughing the passer penalty by the Ravens to light a fire under their team, and they got their first big play of the day on offense:
“Griese under center at the Ravens 31. He takes the snap, and hands off to Anderson who bursts right, and he’s free! 20! 15! 10! And he’s finally tackled by Boulware at the 7 yard line! 24 yards for Mike Anderson, and the Broncos are set up with a 1st and goal!”
Cross: The Ravens made a solid goalline stand at this point, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal. On the following kickoff, Chris Harris fumbled the ball after a 12 yard return, but managed to get it back. The Ravens two minute offense, though, looked a lot like the rest of their offense has looked today:
“OK, coming back from the two minute warning, and the Ravens face a 2nd and 4 from their own 36 yard line, Dilfer drops back to pass, he’s looking for Sharpe, and he did it again! Trent Dilfer has just thrown his third interception of the afternoon! Billy Jenkins picks it off for the Broncos, and gives them great field position with just under 2 minutes to go in the first half.”
Cross: Well, the Broncos failed to muster any first downs on that drive, and were forced to punt the ball back to the Ravens, who were only able to drive to their own 36 when the half ran out. Coming up, we’ll have our studio analysts thoughts on the game, complete with first half stats. Stay tuned to the CBS halftime show!
Cross: OK, we’re back. Coach, what are your thoughts on the game?
Ditka: Well, the Ravens got to 12-4 by playing solid defense and not making mistakes on offense. They’re playing defense today, but their quarterback has thrown three interceptions. That’s simply inexcusable for the quarterback of this team. They’re lucky to be leading this game, and it’s because their defense is simply unbreakable.
Glanville: Denver hasn’t been able to do anything today on offense, but their defense has been forcing the turnovers from the Baltimore offense. They need to get their running game going, and go back to the things that they do well. The muffed punt was the big play of the day so far, and mistakes like that will get you killed in this league.
Ditka: Whichever team makes fewer mistakes in the 2nd half is the team that is going to get the chance to go play in Oakland next week. With the defenses playing this well, points are going to be at a premium. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big play of the day ends up being on special teams.
Glanville: The big play of the day has been on special teams!
Ditka: Right, so that prediction is in the bag already.
Cross (Chuckling): OK, we’re going to send you back to the field with Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms, who’ll bring you the halftime stats and then the 2nd half kickoff. Thanks for watching the CBS halftime show. We’ll see you after the game with all the highlights from this game and the rest of wildcard weekend on the CBS post-game show. Goodbye!
Greg Gumbel: Well, we didn’t expect anything other than a defensive battle here, I guess. Let’s take a look at the first half stats:
Rushing Yards 36 65
Passing Yards 46 37
Total Yards 82 102
Turnovers 1 3
Time of Possession 15:00 15:00
3rd Down Conversion 2/8 2/7
Penalties 4-20 6-42
Score 3 7
Phil Simms: Well, you can see looking at the stats that the teams have been pretty even. Only 184 yards of offense between the two teams; that’s normally the output of one team, so you know it’s been a defensive battle. The turnovers are the big difference, but Denver’s turnover was in a worse place having turned it over on their ten yard line, and that’s the reason the score is 7-3.
Gumbel: Well, our sideline reporter Armen Keteyian caught up to the coaches and asked them what they need to do in the 2nd half. Armen?
Armen: I talked to coach Shannahan as he went to the locker room and he said that they need to play more consistently on offense, especially on the offensive line. Too many runs being stuffed for losses or no gain. He’s happy with the way the defense is playing. Coach Billick says that his team just needs to calm down and stop turning the ball over. He said that Dilfer is going to start the 2nd half for them despite throwing three interceptions in the first half.
Gumbel: OK, thanks Armen. We’ll be right back with the 2nd half kickoff. Be sure to tune in!
(I should be able to get an end of game summary up this week… I’m just playing with different game reporting formats to see what works best)
This is the first time I've seen this approach, and I must say, "Well done!" What a fun way to report the AAR, by bringing in the TV personalities who "do it for real".
Keep up coming!