J. Lewis drives

Ravens Notebook

one trip rough


Pro Football


PITTSBURGH -- With questions surrounding his desire and production, Ravens running back Jamal Lewis tried his best to answer the former, but that helped little with the latter.

Lewis ran hard and well, but finished with just 61 yards on 17 carries in last night's 20-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. At times, he barreled through would-be tacklers and stiff-armed defensive backs like the player that rushed for 2,000 yards two years ago, a nonexistent sight through the first six games. He accounted for 22 yards on the Ravens' opening touchdown drive.

But as is typical in this controversial and disappointing season for Lewis, one of his best runs of the year ended in disaster.

With the Ravens facing a first-and-10 from their 1-yard line in the second quarter, Lewis slid out of two potential tackles in the end zone, ran through another and appeared headed for an even bigger gain 7 yards downfield before being stood up by Deshea Townsend.

As he fought for more yards, Lewis lost control of the ball, and the Steelers' Ike Taylor recovered it at the 12-yard line. Lewis had just 2 net yards on his next four carries. He ended the first half averaging 3.6 yards a carry.

"I tried to keep my feet moving and as [Townsend] was going down, he was pulling on my arms at the same time," Lewis said. "We came back and the defense held them to three points."

Last week, Lewis was vilified for saying he thinks about getting injured when he is on the field. He is in the last year of his contract.

"Things are done in order to bring a person down sometimes," Lewis said. "I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion. I just had to go out and prepare like I usually prepare. I went out and ran as hard as I could like I do every week and made things happen."

Polley steps up as he fills in

Tommy Polley started his first game at middle linebacker for the Ravens and helped limit Steelers running back Willie Parker to 63 yards.

Polley, filling in for Ray Lewis for three games, led the Ravens with nine tackles. Bart Scott started for Polley on the weak side and registered five tackles.

Their play, though, was overshadowed by the Steelers' eight-play, 60-yard drive that produced a 37-yard field goal by Jeff Reed late in the fourth quarter that won the game.

Bisciotti gives his support

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti addressed the organization before the game yesterday, lending his support.

Bisciotti rarely talks to the team.

"It was great," Jamal Lewis said. "I think a lot of guys took something from that. As a whole, you respect that out of an owner. That's not done every day in the NFL."

Just short of Stover's spot

The Ravens wound up a mere 14 yards short of a spot from where Matt Stover would have tried a game-wining kick.

With 1:29 left in the game and the Ravens down by a point, quarterback Anthony Wright moved his team 19 yards in five plays to midfield. Wright, though, was sacked on a third-and-three, then threw an incompletion to end the drive.

Had the Ravens made it to the Pittsburgh 36, Stover said he would have felt comfortable attempting the kick.

"I told them going that direction in the fourth quarter, the way the ball was flying and the way I hit that 49-yarder, the line of scrimmage needed to be the 36-yard line - a 54-yard field goal," Stover said.

Stover had hit field goals of 40, 49 and 47 yards kicking in the closed end of the stadium.

Night to try some trickery

The Ravens made a concerted effort to get the ball to receiver Randy Hymes.

Often overlooked in the team's game plan, Hymes had a trick play called for him in the third quarter when Lewis pitched a handoff back to Wright, who threw downfield to Hymes.

The ball was intercepted by safety Chris Hope in double coverage in the third quarter. "The safety didn't even play the run," Hymes said. "We thought he would play the run, which he didn't. [Wright] threw the ball up, anyway, so I just tried to make a play on it."

Hymes did have a 21-yard reception on a third down in the second quarter. The Ravens also threw a jump ball in the end zone to him from 31 yards, but Hymes caught the ball out of bounds.


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