The Ravens have been among the league's best at stopping the run all season. As they prepare for their 15th game, they are ranked No. 2 against the run and are one of only three teams -- Jacksonville and St. Louis are the others -- that have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher.
"It's something that's always talked about before the game, during the game and after the game," defensive end Michael McCrary said. "We don't believe anybody can run on us."
The statistics suggest that McCrary is correct. The Ravens have allowed an average of 77.8 yards rushing per game.
Cincinnati's Corey Dillon had the most successful day of any opposing running back this year when he rushed for 74 yards against the Ravens in last month's 34-31 Ravens victory at Cinergy Field.
Dillon also is coming off a 192-yard, three-touchdown effort against Cleveland two weeks ago. The Bengals were off last week.
"[Dillon] didn't do that against a good, run-stopping defense. I think he knows what he's in for on Sunday," said Ravens backup defensive tackle Lional Dalton. "Nobody has run on us all year. We don't expect [Dillon] to run on us. We're not really worried about him."
Other than Dillon, the running backs with the most success against the Ravens are Kansas City's Bam Morris (16 carries, 70 yards), Pittsburgh's Richard Huntley (8 carries, 68 yards) and Tennessee's Eddie George (20 carries, 55 yards).
Feud coming to end
The way Cincinnati president Mike Brown sees it, the time has come for the long feud between him and Ravens owner Art Modell to end.
The Browns and the Modells have been cool toward each other since 1962, one year after Modell bought the Cleveland Browns. That was also the year that Modell fired Mike's father, Paul Brown.
Brown founded the franchise in 1946 and had coached the team every year until Modell let him go. Brown then founded the Bengals in 1967.
Mike Brown told The Columbus Dispatch this week that, with Modell planning to sell his team to Stephen Bisciotti, now might be a good time to bury the hatchet between the two families.
"I'm not going to perpetuate the feud. Maybe it's time to call all that off," Brown said. "What has Modell done to us that we have a reason to complain about, anyway? He's the guy responsible for sending my dad to Cincinnati. Maybe we should be thankful for that."
"I was thrilled beyond words when I heard about those comments," Modell said. "I'm very grateful for the friendship and the respect we have for each other. It's not been a warm relationship. I know I hurt the family terribly when I dismissed Paul Brown."
Modell said, other than talking with Brown about league issues at owners meetings, the two have rarely spoken over the years. Modell said he probably will not talk with Brown at Sunday's game, but he plans to speak with him shortly.
"I'll sure make my sentiments known to him," Modell said.
Pro Bowl blues
Kyle Richardson has landed an NFL-record 37 of his 93 punts inside the 20-yard line, which is the primary reason he thinks he wasn't voted to the AFC Pro Bowl team.
The pooch kicks lower his overall gross average, which Richardson said is the primary category by which kickers are judged. Richardson has a 36.2 net average. He lost out to the Jets' Tom Tupa, who has a 38.1 net average.
"My average isn't good enough," Richardson said of his Pro Bowl chances. "Inside the 20 though, I've done pretty well this year. It is something to be proud of. Pro Bowl, if I can ever make that, it would be the culmination of a pretty short career that would mean a lot to me."
Richardson is pleased with the record, but upset about not having the desired length on some of his longer punts.
"It is good to get the record," Richardson said. "I had several attempts at it. I want to get back and really concentrate on hitting the ball better."
In a thankful mood
Offensive lineman Mike Flynn played Santa Claus at the team holiday party Monday, a day after receiving a present from Billick.
Flynn got in for a couple of series in the fourth quarter, his first action since the Kansas City game Oct. 21.
"I was hoping to get out there," Flynn said. "It gets later in the season and guys get banged up, and you never know when you're going to get in there. So it's good in."
Flynn has played in 13 games this season, mostly in a special teams role.
Pub Date: 12/24/99