Lining up with offense is a kick for Je. Lewis, aside from fumble

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Returner catches pass, loses ball on lone run

Billick: crowd too quiet

Ravens 17, Bears 6

September 10, 2001|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The idea of Ravens receiver Jermaine Lewis working exclusively on special teams this year was dismissed early in yesterday's 17-6 win over the Chicago Bears.

Lewis lined up at running back on the Ravens' first offensive play and caught a swing pass for a 6-yard gain. He returned to running back again midway through the fourth quarter, but fumbled on his only rushing attempt after a 2-yard loss.

Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah recovered the fumble. Lewis, who was thought to be nearly out of the offensive game plan, liked the extra work.

"It was all right besides the fumble," Lewis said. "They might take it out after that. They're just trying to make the offense more multi-dimensional.

"We worked on it all week. I just wish I would have held onto the ball. That's the thing I'm disappointed with."

The other part of Lewis' game looked in midseason form. Lewis returned a punt 31 yards to the Ravens' 47 in the fourth quarter.

He also returned three kickoffs for an average of 23.3 yards, running behind a number of newer, younger players than last year's return teams.

"The special teams unit, we all have to jell," Lewis said. "We have a lot of young guys, and they are going to have to get used to what I'm doing out there, and I have to get used to what they are doing. But today it worked out pretty well."

Lewis was part of a special teams unit that performed well as a whole. Bears cornerback R.W. McQuarters' longest punt return was 9 yards, and the longest kickoff return was 29 yards by Glyn Milburn. The coverage teams responded in the wake of the loss of linebacker Cornell Brown, a special teams ace dismissed by the Ravens last week.

"We played fine today," fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo said. "It's something to build on."

Nervous S. Williams prevails

He was a little jittery at first, but once he calmed down, right tackle Sammy Williams had few problems.

Williams, making his first NFL start in place of the injured Leon Searcy, did not allow a sack and generally handled Bears defensive end Bryan Robinson.

Robinson finished with three tackles.

"At first, it was a little rocky, but I settled in and went to work," said Williams, who also was not called for any penalties playing in just his fourth game in his fourth NFL season. "I was just a little nervous that first series.

"I'm just looking to improve on my run blocking next game so they can run a couple of plays to my side."

Hey, fans, where's the noise?

The strongest rebuke Ravens coach Brian Billick gave yesterday was to the fans.

Billick was unhappy with the lack of crowd noise when the Bears went to their no-huddle offense.

Chicago quarterback Shane Matthews was able to call plays verbally at the line of scrimmage.

"We have to work on that," Billick said. "They started that no-huddle, and we had the beer in mid-sip, and we had no noise coming out.

"We've got to get better than that because if people think they can come in here and check at the line, which is one of the few things left to try and do against our defense, our fans have got to take more pride in that.

"That would not happen in Denver. That would not happen in Tennessee."

Bears try no-huddle

Opposing teams have tried to counter the formidable Ravens defense with a few wrinkles, and Chicago was no different.

The Bears unveiled a no-huddle offense designed to catch the Ravens off-guard. The strategy mirrored the plan the New York Jets used in December when they compiled 524 yards of total offense (473 through the air) in a wild 34-20 loss at PSINet Stadium.

On a couple of opportunities, Chicago was able to take advantage of a few swing passes and quick routes to consume yardage and post two field goals by Paul Edinger. But the Ravens' defense did not allow its opponent to reach the end zone for the sixth time in the past 10 games.

"A lot of teams have tried that in the past," defensive end Michael McCrary said. "They get the ball moving, but the most they can get out of it is three points."

Bears' pressure doesn't cook

The Bears had every intention of trying to rattle quarterback Elvis Grbac during his first regular-season game as a Raven. It just never happened. Chicago didn't sack Grbac once, and got in his face only a couple of times.

"We felt like if we could put some pressure on Grbac, he'd throw us one," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We needed to get some pressure on him, try and force him into a pick, but we never did. We wanted to hit him, but it just didn't happen. They left everyone in to block and it's hard to hit someone when he's protected."

Urlacher, who earned a spot in the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season after he led the Bears in tackles and sacks, had seven tackles yesterday.

"We played pretty good in the first half, but we've got to get to the quarterback," Urlacher said. "We left our corners out there alone a few times and we've got to put more heat on the passer."

Et cetera

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