Following script, C. Taylor spells J. Lewis


10 carries for 45 yards help take heat off star, who has 131-yard day

Nfl Week 6

Ravens 26, Cardinals 18

October 13, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Ravens went into yesterday's game against the Arizona Cardinals wanting running back Chester Taylor to cut into Jamal Lewis' number of carries. They got their wish.

Taylor rushed for 45 yards on a career-high 10 carries, double his previous high, in the Ravens' 26-18 win at Sun Devil Stadium. He proved to be the perfect complement to Lewis, who rushed for 131 yards on 21 carries - his fourth straight 100-yard day.

Though the 21 carries were Lewis' second lowest of the season, he wouldn't have had it any other way.

"I've always shared the backfield with somebody, in high school and college," Lewis said. "And I have no problem with that because it really gives the defense two different looks. [Taylor is] more of a scatback, and can really do some shifty things that is different than my running style. So it really throws the defense off."

The Ravens again rushed for more yards (213) than they gained through the air (75). Besides Lewis and Taylor, Travis Taylor added 29 yards on three end-around plays.

But it was primarily Chester Taylor, who got an extra dose of action when Lewis briefly left the game to get X-rays on his hurting shoulder, who provided the extra dimension (the X-rays were negative and Lewis returned).

On four of five plays on the Ravens' opening possession of the second half, Taylor rushed for 11, 14, 6 and 3 yards.

"They told me in the middle of the week that I was going to have more carries because it was going to be hot and Jamal was going to get tired," Taylor said. "So I just tried to do my best to keep it steady, like he was in there."

For Lewis, his performance means he will remain the league's rushing leader another week.

"It's all well and good," Lewis said. "That's just more individual than anything. That just shows that the line is blocking and the guys are blocking downfield.

"When you have that 1-2 punch, it keeps things churning."

Slow start, fast finish

By and large, the Ravens' defense made life miserable for Cardinals quarterback Jeff Blake.

Blake, the Ravens' quarterback last season, was 3-for-3 for 65 yards on the game's opening possession, which ended in a 14-yard pass to Bryan Gilmore for a touchdown.

After that, he threw three interceptions, was sacked twice, fumbled once and finished with a 65.4 rating. The explanation for the early success appeared simple.

"I think the week off, the rust showed early," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of his team's bye week. "But I like the way the guys responded. I like the way the guys responded the whole game long."

Fill-ins take heat

The temperature was 96 degrees at kickoff, leading Billick to rotate players at nearly every position.

Reserve linebacker Bart Scott, safety Chad Williams, cornerback Tom Knight, defensive end Riddick Parker and right offensive tackle Ethan Brooks all had playing time.

"You can't imagine how that saps you out there in that heat," Billick said. "We have to rebound. They have to get a lot of liquids in them and a lot of rest. It's the residual effect that you worry about going into next week."

All quiet for Sanders

It was a quiet homecoming for Ravens receiver Frank Sanders.

Sanders, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Cardinals, had a chance to make some noise in the first quarter when a pass from Kyle Boller hit him in the hands in the end zone from 20 yards.

As Sanders was pulling the ball in, cornerback David Barrett appeared to get his hand in just enough to knock it away. When it was over, Sanders had just one catch for 7 yards.

"I had the ball coming down with it and didn't even feel the hit," Sanders said. "But when I came down on the ground, the ball just rolled out, and I was like, `What happened?' "

Relative silence reigns

With only 24,193 in attendance, crowd noise was not a concern.

The Ravens didn't have one false start, despite using seven offensive linemen.

"We could hear everything," said tight end Todd Heap, who had just one catch for 2 yards. "We could make all the checks we wanted to. All the communication was solid on the line on running plays, on passing plays. It helped us out a lot."

Big day for Douglas

Defensive end Marques Douglas had his finest game as a Raven in less than his usual numbers of snaps.

Because of the heat and a liberal defensive-line rotation, Douglas lost out on a handful of plays, but he finished with an 11-yard sack, four tackles and a forced fumble on what would have been another sack had Blake not recovered the ball for a 1-yard gain.

"What I did was just a reflection of the scheme that's called and just working hard with a relentless attitude," Douglas said. "I was just trying to make a play."

Keeping tabs on Suggs

Linebacker Terrell Suggs may have been returning to the college campus where he became the nation's sack leader, but the Ravens made sure it would not feel too much like old times.

Suggs said he had little time to renew old friendships at Arizona State.

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