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Ravens Down Eagles, 10-7


Andy Reid's first game as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles looked a lot like a replay of last season.

Brian Billick and the Baltimore Ravens need some work, too.

Matt Stover kicked a 30-yard field goal with no time on the clock to give the Ravens a 10-7 victory over the Eagles in a dreadful exhibition game Thursday night.

"I'm very optimistic coming out of this thing," said Reid, entrusted with the daunting task of rebuilding a team that was 3-13 last year. "I told the players, there's no reason to hold your head down. We just continue to get better and hold your head high."

"You are not the same old Eagles. You hear that, but you are not the same old Eagles."

There was a striking resemblance, though.

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Game Summary

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  • The winning field goal came after Wally Richardson moved the Ravens deep into Eagles territory on a drive highlighted by a 27-yard pass-interference call on rookie Damon Moore. In a strategy befitting such a lackluster game, Richardson took a knee on three straight plays to set up the winning field goal.

    "Thanks for showing up for that massive offensive explosion out there," said Billick, the former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator who took over as Baltimore's coach. "I told them after the game that they may ban us from the NFL regular season if we can't move the ball a little more consistently than that."

    Asked about his offense, Reid promised that it wasn't as bad as it looked. At least Billick told the truth.

    Tony Banks outplayed Scott Mitchell in the competition for the Baltimore starting job and looked better than Philadelphia's top two quarterbacks, to. Banks was 9-for-15 for 75 yards and hit rookie Brandon Stokley for a nice 10-yard touchdown late in the second quarter. Mitchell was 4-for-7 for 30 yards.

    "I wasn't playing as well as I would have liked in practice, so I wanted to come out here and play relaxed," Banks said.

    It wasn't a good debut for Doug Pederson, the Eagles' starting quarterback, or his backup, Donovan McNabb.

    McNabb, the No. 2 overall draft pick behind Cleveland's Tim Couch, was 5-for-9 for 35 yards playing only the second quarter. Pederson, signed to be Reid's starter until McNabb is ready, was 4-for-10 for 26 yards and badly overthrew several receivers.

    "I think Doug handled himself well out there," Reid said, standing by his man. "He did a good job carrying the team offensively."

    McNabb, booed by some fans on draft day when he was chosen over Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, did get warm applause when he entered the game.

    "I don't worry about what happened at the draft," McNabb said. "That's history."

    On the night he and Reid made their debuts, a face from the past got the loudest cheers from a mostly disinterested crowd of 43,552.

    Former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, watching his son, Rex, make his debut as Baltimore's defensive line coach, received the loudest ovation of anyone.

    Neither team drove the ball past the 50 until Errict Rhett rushed for seven yards to the Eagles 48 with 4@1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.

    The Eagles, who had the worst offense in the NFL last season, appear to be in the running for that dubious distinction again. They didn't get into Ravens territory until McNabb hit tight end Jed Weaver with a 7-yard pass with 42 seconds left in the second.

    Making matters worse for Philadelphia, starting tight end Jamie Asher fractured and dislocated his left ankle on the team's sixth offensive play. He is out for three months and may be placed on injured reserve, putting him out for the season.

    Stokley, a fourth-round draft pick, had three catches for 45 yards. Richardson was 7-for-11 for 60 yards.

    Philadelphia's two holdovers from last year's 3-13 team were the only quarterbacks who moved the ball. Koy Detmer was 7-for-8 for 49 yards, and Bobby Hoying was 4-for-9 for 64 yards and directed Philadelphia's 90-yard scoring drive in the third capped by James Bostic's 4-yard run.

    Sign Man, a fixture with his wise-cracks posted in the seats across from the Eagles' bench for years, offered this opening salvo to Reid: "We're a tough town. Be a tough coach."

    It looks like a tougher job than he thought.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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