Lions' Jones meets Ravens head-on

Running back and Detroit mates get physical, put Ravens on receiving end for a change

Ravens Gameday

Lions 35, Ravens 17

October 10, 2005|By GEORGE SIPPLE | GEORGE SIPPLE,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Detroit -- The statistics for running back Kevin Jones weren't very impressive -- 58 yards on 26 carries. But Jones made quite an impression in the Detroit Lions' 35-17 win over the Ravens yesterday at Ford Field.

Jones scored two touchdowns --- the first multiple-touchdown performance of his pro career -- and matched the Ravens' physical defenders by going straight at them.

He averaged only 2.2 yards a carry, but Jones earned the respect of middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

"He was dominating," Lewis said. "This is a very good kid. I have spoken to Kevin before, and I told him, `Just keep your head up; it is just a game.'"

Many times, Jones had his head or shoulder buried into a would-be tackler. On one run, Jones spun out of tackles twice before being brought down. Jones said he knew he had to play physical against the Ravens.

"If you come out and play soft against the Ravens, they are going to get you," Jones said. "They're a physical team and you have to play physical when you play against the Ravens."

Jones said he took pride in knocking Lewis back a couple times on runs. Jones said he enjoyed the smack talk as much as playing smash-mouth.

"He was telling me I better be ready," Jones said. "I was telling him he better be ready. Strap it up. That was it."

And Jones talked just as much as Lewis.

"I had to let him hear it," Jones said. "It felt good to run him over. He's like the ultimate linebacker. Everybody looks to Ray Lewis to see what he's going to do every week. I had to get him."

Jones bounced out to the right and beat a swarm of defenders on a 14-yard touchdown run with 9:40 left in the first quarter.

Jones added a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:40 left in the quarter to give the Lions a 14-0 lead.

The run came two plays after Jones picked up a loose ball, stopped thinking the play was over, and then proceeded 27 yards to the Ravens' 2-yard line.

He continued to chirp at Lewis throughout the game.

"That was my plan," Jones said. "I wanted to dish it out and see if they could take it. We talked a bit. We've got respect for each other. It is just part of the game. This is just what competitors do."

Jones said Lewis told him after the game to "keep that burst."

"He loved the way I played, and I loved the way he played," Jones said.

The Ravens did manage to hold Jones out of the end zone on four attempts from the 1-yard line in the third quarter. Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg stopped Jones on the first two attempts. After the Ravens gave the Lions a new set of downs after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Lewis stopped Jones on consecutive attempts to score.

"I wasn't really tired on the goal line. It was just that I got my bell rung a couple of times," Jones said.

Jones was replaced by Artose Pinner, who ran up the middle on the next play to score and give the Lions a 21-10 lead.

Pinner chipped in with nine carries for 32 yards and Shawn Bryson added a 77-yard touchdown run with 7:05 remaining.

"We just stayed focused and really just played their game, and that is smash-mouth football," Pinner said. "We turned the tables today a little bit by running at them, and we were successful."

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