Bulk of work still goes to J. Lewis

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Colts 24, Ravens 7

Ravens Gameday

September 12, 2005|By BRENT JONES AND PAUL MCMULLEN | BRENT JONES AND PAUL MCMULLEN,SUN STAFF

Any thought of working running back Jamal Lewis into the lineup slowly went away shortly after kickoff.

Lewis proved to be the workhorse back he has always been in last night's 24-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Lewis rushed 16 times for 48 yards, numbers that come as a surprise.

Lewis carrying the ball so much comes as a shock since the Ravens had said last week they were leaning toward splitting the carries between Lewis and backup Chester Taylor, who led the league in rushing in the preseason.

But it became apparent Lewis would be the primary back in the first two drives, and when he managed only 3 yards a carry for the game against one of the worst rush defenses in the league last year, the Ravens were doomed.

"I felt like it was more of a finesse game," Lewis said. "I didn't feel like we were ready as an offense. We did what we had to do. I felt we threw the ball pretty much, but we just couldn't get the ball in the end zone."

While the yardage total was low for Lewis, the Pro Bowl back showed little signs of an injured ankle that had him on the injury report or being out of football shape.

The Ravens had projected an equitable split between Lewis and Taylor, who had 207 rushing yards in the preseason. Lewis, meanwhile, played in just the last preseason game and rushed just six times.

But Taylor had just four carries for 27 yards last night.

Perhaps the Ravens were hoping to get a repeat performance from Lewis from when the last time the teams met.

Lewis rushed for 130 yards and averaged 6.5 a carry. He also broke his left finger but does not expect that to be a problem Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

"Things just didn't go our way, and there are things that we have to go back and assess through the week to get ready for Tennessee," Lewis said.

STOKLEY'S RETURN Colts receiver Brandon Stokley's return to Baltimore proved to be a glorious one.

Stokley led the Colts with seven catches for 83 yards, converting numerous third downs. Stokley spent the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens, a stint that was marred by injuries.

A couple of Ravens apparently had something to say to him.

"Once we got up on them, it's hard to talk," Stokley said. "You get a little jawing back and forth for fun. Will Demps got a good hit on me, and they were jawing a little after that, so that was fun."

WILCOX EXCELS

Tight end Daniel Wilcox had a career night, but he was in no mood to celebrate his theatrics.

Wilcox scored the Ravens' only touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, powering through the Colts defense to prevent the shutout. Had Wilcox been stopped at the 1-yard line, where he met resistance, time likely would have run out.

His eight catches for 78 yards were career highs.

"It's always good to get some points regardless of the situation," Wilcox said. "We had a lot of tough breaks. There's some things we've got to put together. This is not a one-man show. We've all got to work together."

FUTILE NIGHT

He didn't surrender two sacks to Dwight Freeney like he did last December, but it was still a futile night for Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens' perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle.

The official statistics showed Freeney, the fleet Colts' defensive end, with three tackles and no sacks, but Ogden got called for two false starts and was left shaking his head at the Ravens' inability to run the ball in the second half.

"Nothing seemed to go our way, and it was our own fault," Ogden said. "At inopportune times, someone would do something. Until the last drive, we couldn't sustain anything.

"I'd rather give up three sacks and get a win. I don't take any pleasure in winning an individual matchup when you don't win the game."

Did Ogden think that the Ravens' offense would be able to turn it on in the opener after an uninspiring preseason?

"I thought we were going to be OK," he said. "I still think we're going to be OK. We have to examine the film, see what went wrong on the inside, and see what wrong on the outside."

NO BIG PLAYS

What success the Ravens have had have come courtesy of big plays on defense and special teams. As if Matt Stover's wayward night wasn't bad enough, the defense did not sack Peyton Manning, and did not create a turnover.

"No sacks, no turnovers, that's not our type of football," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "Obviously, we like to capitalize on our opportunities. We had our chances. There were some technical things that just didn't go well."

Ed Reed, the NFL's 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, had his hands on a pass intended for Brandon Stokley in the first quarter but couldn't hold on. It was a scoreless game late in the first half, when McAlister broke on a Manning pass to Marvin Harrison at the goal line with an field in front of him. Just another incompletion led to a Colts' field goal.

Harrison got 20 yards behind both McAlister and Reed on Indianapolis' second possession but was overthrown by Manning. In the third quarter, McAlister got beat on a 28-yard touchdown toss to Harrison.

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