J. Lewis' day ends early with concussion Receiver, expected back for Chargers, surpasses 1,000 all-purpose yards

Ravens Notebook

November 09, 1998|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Vito Stellino contributed to this article.

The play seemed ordinary enough. On a second-and-five from the Oakland 41, Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh hit wide receiver Michael Jackson for a 10-yard gain and a first down.

Away from the tackle, however, fellow wide-out Jermaine Lewis was lying on the field, having been drilled near the end of the play by an Oakland linebacker.

Lewis staggered off the field after several minutes, the victim of his first concussion of 1998 and the third of his three-year career. He did not return.

"I think I looked back to see if Mike had caught the pass, but somebody hit me," recalled Lewis, who was sandwiched between two defenders and appeared to take a direct shot to a shoulder before hitting the ground hard. "I don't know if my head hit the ground, but I was out. My vision was messed up out there. It's coming back now."

The Ravens expect Lewis to be back for their game in San Diego next week. Lewis, held in check on punt returns again, contributed 43 yards on two receptions and another 9 yards on a reverse that set up a 30-yard field goal by Matt Stover to give the Ravens a 10-3 halftime lead.

Lewis surpassed the 1,000 mark in overall yardage yesterday. He has done that in each of his NFL seasons.

Helping hand

Quarterback Jim Harbaugh was not at his best yesterday, what with 10 completions in 17 attempts for 102 yards and only one rush for 2 yards. He also took four sacks and threw an interception that killed a first-half drive deep in Oakland territory.

Fortunately, Rod Woodson bailed out Harbaugh by picking off Donald Hollas and returning it for the Ravens' only touchdown.

Harbaugh, who also sustained a bruised lower spine when he was sacked late in the first half, did help the Ravens as a victim -- of two cheap shots by the penalty-crazed Raiders.

Late in the second quarter, Oakland defensive tackle Grady Jackson chopped Harbaugh below the knees, drawing a personal foul flag. That sparked the Ravens on a drive that ended with Stover's 30-yard field goal at the end of the half. On the Ravens' first possession of the second half, Raiders defensive end James Harris drew a personal foul call when he hit Harbaugh in the face.

"I think some of my best plays were the one I took on the jaw --that was a 15-yard penalty -- and the one I took on the knee -- that was another 15-yard penalty," said Harbaugh, who took some halftime treatment for his spinal injury and rejoined the fray.

"And that interception set up Woodson's touchdown. Those were three of my best plays of the day."

When asked if he would like to see his teammates retaliate for such cheap shots, Harbaugh said: "Nah, that's another flag. I'd rather have the 15 yards against them, not us. Do it between the whistles."

'Old' Ray Lewis back

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis is rounding back into form. Three weeks after he overcame a dislocated elbow injury and returned to action in Pittsburgh, Lewis finally assumed the reckless style that has marked him since his rookie year.

Lewis, who had a career-low three tackles last week, roamed over the field like his old self yesterday, making a team-high 11 tackles, including eight solo. Lewis also had a sack and three pass deflections, and he dropped a first-quarter interception that could have yielded a touchdown; there was that much open field in front of him.

"I heard some people saying I've lost a step since my elbow was hurt. I guess I had to prove writers and everybody else wrong who said I'd lost a step," Lewis said. "My mentality would never let me lose a step, whether I had one arm or no arms. I just had fun out there.

"I never play tentative, but on certain plays when I hurt it, I know it's not right. It still hurts. In past weeks, I've babied it. But with every game, it's getting better."

Lewis also was part of a personal foul sequence in which Oakland starting center Barret Robbins was ejected -- for kicking Lewis in the face. At the end of a first-half play, Lewis got tangled up with left guard Steve Wisniew- ski atop a pile, when Robbins strolled into the play.

"I was hanging onto No. 76 [Wisniewski] and [Robbins] just kicked me in the face," Lewis said. "I won't say what I said to him, but I let him know about it."

Tough day for Staten

Midway through his second season, the learning process continues for backup strong safety Ralph Staten, who turned in two of yesterday's most notable bloopers.

Late in the first quarter, on third-and-26, Staten allowed a pass by Hollas to slip through his fingers and into the hands of Oakland tight end Rickey Dudley for a 30-yard gain and a first down.

"I got a good break on the ball, but I may have jumped too soon," Staten said. "The ball was higher than I expected. It's one of those plays you'd like to have back."

Another play Staten would like to have back was his blown coverage on Dudley early in the fourth quarter. On second-and-goal from the Ravens' 5, Staten allowed Dudley to slip into the open in the end zone, where he caught a touchdown pass to tie the game at 10.

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