J. Lewis finds overdrive works fine

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Back's 75-yard run sets team record

R. Lewis, Flynn leave with injuries

Nfl Week 5

Ravens 26, Browns 21

October 07, 2002|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - In the return from his second major knee surgery, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis has shown power, elusiveness and finally, after last night's game, explosiveness.

Lewis recorded the longest run in team history, a 75-yard scamper in the third quarter of the Ravens' 26-21 win over the Cleveland Browns and tied his career high with 187 rushing yards.

He showcased a gear previously unseen this year, shooting through a hole created largely by guard Bennie Anderson, outrunning the Browns' secondary before finally running out of gas and barely stepping out of bounds at Cleveland's 18.

"I don't think I'm back down to a 4.3 [in the 40-yard dash]," Lewis said. "I was trying to [score] there, but I just couldn't do it."

The run set up a 27-yard Matt Stover field goal that put the Ravens up 23-0 late in the third quarter.

Cleveland answered with its first touchdown after the field goal, but Lewis countered with a 26-yard run to the Ravens' 46 on the ensuing possession.

Lewis made his only major mistake of the night at the end of that drive, fumbling at the 1-yard line (linebacker Earl Holmes recovered).

"I was trying to go over the top, and instead of covering up with two hands, I left it in one and it got popped out. You cannot have that. After that, I was on the sideline trying to be a cheerleader."

While Lewis had been steady if not spectacular in his comeback, he showcased the full package back that led the Ravens offensively to their Super Bowl title of 2000.

"I think you see the speed and the bursts and everything about Jamal that we knew before," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "For him to come back from the injury the way that he has, anybody that has any doubts that he is back might remove that doubt tonight."

R. Lewis, Flynn hurt

Linebacker Ray Lewis left the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder strain. Lewis hurt the shoulder late in the third quarter, left for a play but returned and finished out the quarter before sitting the rest of the game.

"Coach Billick made a decision, and he said don't go back in because we have a long season ahead of us," Lewis said.

Ravens center Mike Flynn left in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Casey Rabach replaced Flynn.

Flynn, who returned for one play, has not missed a game since becoming a starter at he beginning of the 2000 season. Rabach started the first two games at left guard before giving way to Edwin Mulitalo.

X-rays on Flynn's ankle were negative.

Boulware's milestone

Linebacker Peter Boulware recorded his first career interception, and it came at the most opportune time for the Ravens.

Cornerback Gary Baxter tipped Kelly Holcomb's pass, and Boulware caught it with less than seven minutes to go and the Ravens holding on to an eight-point lead.

"I'm usually rushing but they dropped me back in coverage," Boulware said. "Gary tipped the ball and it just came to me."

Reed's little streak

For the second straight game, strong safety Ed Reed recorded an interception.

Reed's pick on the final play of the game stopped a furious Browns rally. Reed picked off Holcomb in the end zone and sprinted up the sideline, running out the clock before getting tackled.

"I was just in the right place at the right time," Reed said. "I thought [Chris McAlister] had it. I saw the ball in the air, and I just reached out and grabbed it."

Bring in the noise

Browns coach Butch Davis asked his fans for more noise heading into last night's game. Davis told the Cleveland media that he hoped the fans would be in place by the start of the game, yell throughout and not miss half of the third quarter.

He got much of his wish, as the stands were about 90 percent full at kickoff. The Ravens were forced to call a timeout and hit with a false-start penalty on Todd Heap during their first offensive possession.

But with the Browns' offense largely ineffective the first half, the fans remained mostly quiet.

Tate gets comfortable

Robert Tate had just two kickoff returns last night, averaging 13.0 yards. He came close to scoring a touchdown in last week's win over the Denver Broncos on a 64-yard return.

"I'm feeling more comfortable," Tate said. "The more time with the other players, you get to learn what their abilities are, how they are going to block their man. That helps me out as a returner.

"My big thing heading into this week was I got to make the first guy miss. You can't let just one guy bring you down. Each week, I'm going to work hard and try and prepare myself to score.

"The main objective for myself is to try and get the most yardage I can to help the offense get into good field position."

Out of the spotlight

Billick was a realist concerning his team's chances of being featured nationally the rest of this season after back-to-back prime-time games.

"This will be our last time in the national spotlight for a while," Billick said, "unless they move one of the games to 4 p.m."

End zone

The Ravens' inactive players were Dameon Hunter, Sam Gash, Lamont Brightful, Bernardo Harris, Mike Collins, Jeff Ogden and Howard Green. ... Browns cornerback Anthony Henry started in place of Corey Fuller (hamstring). ... Browns fans hung a sign near one of the tunnels that read "Hall of Fame Voters Never Forget," with Ravens owner Art Modell's name circled with a cross through it. Modell failed to make the final ballot for the Pro Football Hall of Fame during Super Bowl week in January.

Next for Ravens

Opponent:Indianapolis Colts

Site:RCA Dome, Indianapolis

When:Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 13/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Series:Ravens lead 2-1

Last meeting:Ravens won, 39-27, on Dec. 2, 2001, in Baltimore.

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