Williams' big hit highlights big day for `D'

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Safety drills White early, adds TD late

ex-Browns Brown, Fuller enjoy return

Nfl Week 16

Ravens 35, Browns 0

December 22, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- To make sure Cleveland Browns running back Jamel White did not think he was being disrespectful, Ravens safety Chad Williams moved a few yards away before striking a celebratory pose.

Williams had just laid the Ravens' defensive hit of the year on White, who slid out of the backfield and attempted to haul in a high pass from Tim Couch late in the first half of the Ravens' 35-0 win over Cleveland yesterday.

White was completely vulnerable on the play, and Williams launched himself into the runner to force an incompletion, a collision that echoed throughout the stadium and a number of grimaces from Browns fans.

"I respected the guy. I went about 5 yards away to celebrate," Williams said. "I wouldn't try and show up anybody."

The hit was a tone-setter for Williams and the Ravens' defense. Williams, the dime (sixth) defensive back, made a couple of game-saving plays a year ago, but had not made the jaw-dropping plays this year until the hit on White and an interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

With the Ravens up 21-0 and less than 11 minutes left in the game, Williams intercepted a pass from Couch intended for Andre' King at the Ravens' 48. He fell down on his return, but had enough time to get up and still make it to the end zone barely touched.

It was as much a poor effort on the Browns' part as a heady play by Williams.

"I was looking at Couch the whole time," Williams said. "[Gary] Baxter did a great job of cutting the guy off. The ball just came in my hands. I got it, saw the end zone but I saw a couple of Browns in front me. I tripped and fell, and I think that was the best thing that happened because they gave up on the play."

Williams finished with two tackles and two defended passes. Last season, Williams returned one of his three interceptions 98 yards for a touchdown, and also had a game-clinching pick in December against the Houston Texans.

"I try to finish fast," Williams said. "I would have liked to make the big plays earlier in the season, but it seems like they happen toward the end."

Brown buries demons

Before the game, Orlando Brown went out to the 30-yard line, remembered how that official's flag hit him in the eye four years ago, then put the incident to rest.

Brown went on to have one of his best games of the season, not giving up any sacks while helping pave the way for a 205-yard effort by Jamal Lewis. The flag incident kept Brown out of football for three years.

"I think I stuck the nail in the coffin for me," Brown said. "Emotionally, coming back to the same place I got hurt, I made it through that and made it through the season, and I'm a better person now.

"Just to get over that and have a good game, no jumping offsides, I've come a long way."

Fuller's parting shot

It was also a return for cornerback Corey Fuller. Fuller spent the previous four seasons with the Browns before the team released him as part of a $25 million salary cap purge.

Fuller finished with three tackles and a final shot at the Browns organization.

"It's gratification especially considering we made the playoffs last year," Fuller, in his ninth NFL season, said. "All of us was getting old, and they kicked us all out. Most of us are still on teams that are doing well and still in the hunt. I'm not going to get caught up in all that no more. Butch [Davis, Browns coach] did what he wanted to do, and they are getting the results they want."

A page from Pack's book

For his second-quarter touchdown reception, tight end Terry Jones could not take credit for the play.

The idea for a shovel pass from 1 yard out came courtesy of the Green Bay Packers, but the execution for the Ravens came primarily from Jones, who sold a run in the opposite direction before sliding down the offensive line and catching Anthony Wright's pass.

"We stole it from Green Bay," Jones said. "They run it with their fullback, [William] Henderson. At the snap of the ball I come back underneath the linemen and act like we are running the ball to the right, and Anthony just shoveled it back to me."

Boller sees action

The blowout win allowed quarterback Kyle Boller to take his first snaps since tearing his left quadriceps Nov. 9.

Boller came in with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter and the Ravens up 28-0. He completed his only attempt, a 10-yard pass to Jones that converted a fourth-and-six at the Browns' 16. Musa Smith scored on an 11-yard touchdown run four plays later.

Boller took 11 snaps.

"Yeah it was good to get him back into a rhythm," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of Boller.

Chilly warm-ups

With the temperature at 34 degrees and a wind chill that made it feel like 19 degrees, the grass field was nearly frozen during pregame warm-ups.

"By game time it was better," Billick said. "But they need a rebate on whoever put the coiling system in because it was hard."

Another miss for Stover

Kicker Matt Stover missed his only attempt, a 46-yard try that bounced off the right upright on the last play of the third quarter.

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