Still feeling pain of 2003, Browns swarm J. Lewis

`We were like bees on honey,' says Lang

Ravens Gameday

Browns 20, Ravens 3

September 13, 2004|By Tom Reed | Tom Reed,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CLEVELAND -- Besides making history against the Cleveland Browns, Jamal Lewis has had a habit of running over them.

But the Ravens running back did neither yesterday in a 20-3 loss at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Embarrassed twice last season by the powerful Lewis, the Browns' defense limited him to 57 yards on 20 carries. Last season's NFL Offensive Player of the Year, who scored on touchdowns runs of 63, 72 and 82 yards against the Browns in 2003, did not have a run of more than 9 yards.

"That was the biggest difference. We minimized [Lewis'] long runs. We didn't give up the 60- or 70-yard touchdown runs," Browns cornerback Anthony Henry said.

Cleveland used a steady rotation of linemen and linebackers to keep fresh bodies on the field against Lewis, who ran for an NFL-record 295 yards against the Browns on Sept. 14, 2003.

The Browns also were much more effective in controlling the line of scrimmage and swarmed to Lewis seemingly every time he touched the ball.

"We were like bees on honey," Browns defensive end Kenard Lang said.

"Stopping the run was the main thing, point blank."

Lang said last week that Lewis wouldn't be able to pierce the Browns' front line, let alone run wild in the secondary. He was asked if Lewis was the team's primary focus all week.

"All week?" Lang said. "We've been thinking about what happened since last season. We ended the year with a win over Cincinnati, but the main thing is we couldn't wait for this game."

Lang said he met with Ray Lewis in Orlando, Fla., in the offseason and yesterday's game was the first thing the Ravens linebacker mentioned.

"He asked me, `Are you ready for that first game?' " Lang said. "What am I going to say, `That I'm scared? I said, `Yeah, we're ready.' You put your pants on just like me."

The Browns forced three turnovers and held the Ravens' rushers to 88 yards.

Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon said his team's defense needed such an effort to erase memories of last season.

"Everyone on the defense took it personally," McCutcheon said. "They embarrassed us twice last year."

The Browns also capitalized on injuries to Ravens center Mike Flynn and Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden. Lang recorded three sacks against Ogden's overmatched replacement, Ethan Brooks.

After the game, Ogden defiantly wagged his finger at Lang as if to say things would be different with him in the lineup for the Nov. 7 rematch.

"I was like, `Whatever, time will tell,' " Lang said. "We came to play today and didn't back down."

NOTES: The Browns opened the season with a win for the first time since a new franchise was placed in Cleveland in 1999. ... The Browns lost starting DT Gerard Warren to a sprained right pectoral muscle in the first quarter. He did not return. Michael Myers, his main replacement, recovered a fourth-quarter fumble. ... Lang tied a career high with his three sacks. ... Browns RB Lee Suggs was inactive with a neck stinger.

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