Defense. The Ravens allowed the Broncos to

October 27, 2003|By Jamison Hensley

POSITION EDGE

Ravens rusing vs. Broncos run defense

RAVENS - - Gaining 100 yards has become virtually automatic for running back Jamal Lewis, who cracked that mark for the sixth straight game. With 134 yards yesterday, he is 23 shy of 1,000 for the season. This time, the yards were hard-fought for Lewis against a defense that hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. Before his 28-yard touchdown run, he averaged 3.4 yards on his first 31 carries.

Ravens passing vs. Broncos pass defense

EVEN -- Kyle Boller didn't seem too limited by a mildly sprained left (non-throwing) shoulder. The rookie quarterback completed 55 percent of his throws (15 of 27) with no interceptions and no fumbles. The Ravens weren't able to stretch the field and need to deliver more big plays after recording one completion of more than 16 yards. Receiver Frank Sanders made his biggest impact this season, converting two third downs.

Broncos rushing vs. Ravens run defense

RAVENS -- Controlling Denver running back Clinton Portis (86 yards on 22 carries) was key to the Ravens' victory. Take away Portis' meaningless 17-yarder in the final two minutes of the game and the Ravens limited him to 3.3 yards a carry. During the past month, the Ravens have held Portis, Priest Holmes and Corey Dillon to 90 yards or fewer.

Broncos passing vs. Ravens pass defense

RAVENS - - The Ravens had almost as many yards on interception returns by Ray Lewis and Gary Baxter (71) as the Broncos had passing yards (114). Quarterback Danny Kanell, out of football for two years, consistently overthrew rceivers and finished 16 of 31. Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister took receiver Rod Smith out of the game, holding him to four receptions for 23 yards. Peter Boulware recorded his first two sacks of the season.

Special teams

After missing wide right on a 45-yard field; goal attempt, the Ravens' Matt Stover converted from 25, 39, 22 and 29 yards. Denver punter Micah Knorr netted only 32.8 yards on his five punts, helping the Ravens win the field-position battle. Dedric Ward, who replaced Lamont Brightful as the Ravens' punt returner, added a little spark with a 16-yard return but finished with an 8.7-yard average.

NICKEL PACKAGE

Thumbs up

Defense. The Ravens allowed the Broncos to crack the red zone just twice and forced two turnovers deep in Denver territory that set up touchdowns. It was the first time this season that the Ravens didn't surrender a touchdown. Thumbs down

Thumbs down

Officials. It was the worst-officiated Ravens game of the season, from a surprising replay reversal of Todd Heap's touchdown catch to a questionable Denver late hit on Kyle Boller. Stat of the game

Stat of the game

43. Offensive plays run by the Ravens in Denver territory, compared with 23 run in their side of the field. Quotable

Quotable

"Jamal [Lewis] came up to me in the first quarter and said, `Throw a couple downfield to take the pressure off of me.' He's exactly right: The more that we can complete downfield, the more lanes we're going to open for him." - Quarterback Kyle Boller on the Ravens' offense, which produced 151 yards rushing and 137 yards passing.

Trainer's room

Cornerback Corey Fuller strained his hamstring in the fourth quarter and did not return. His status will be evaluated today.

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