J. Lewis: Where's the run?


Back says more rushing late in game could have made difference

Ravens Gameday


Jamal Lewis' voice was quiet and devoid of bitterness, but there was no mistaking his conviction when he expressed his theory that the Ravens let a win slip through their grasp by not running the ball more.

In the aftermath of yesterday's 23-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium, the running back - who had made plenty of headlines by griping about his role in the offense last season - spoke calmly yet forcefully when he said the outcome might have been different had the offense run more later in the game.

"The offensive line was jacked up, and we got some good runs starting off early," Lewis said. "I think we just pumped the brakes on that because they do have a good front line and everything. But we were getting positive yardage up front, and I think we just pumped the brakes on that and didn't just smash on it."

Backup quarterback Kyle Boller's 27 yards on six scrambles notwithstanding, the Ravens gained just 53 yards on 16 carries, 3.3 yards per attempt.

Lewis finished with nine carries for 41 yards (4.6-yard average), but take out his 17-yard gain in the third quarter, and he had 24 yards on eight carries for a 3-yard average.

But Lewis pointed out that after his 17-yard run, he ran only one more time for a loss of 1 yard, and the Ravens were trailing by just six points at 13-7.

"Everyone wants to know what happened to the running game or things of that nature," Lewis said. "Everyone wants to know where the old Jamal Lewis went and where he's at. You get a 17-yard run and then they take you out."

Granted, after Carolina extended its lead to nine points on John Kasay's 21-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Ravens began to throw the ball more to move down the field quickly and stop the clock on incompletions.

After Lewis' last run, running back Mike Anderson rushed six times for just 7 yards. Lewis dismissed coach Brian Billick's assertion last week that he would give the ball to the "hot" running back.

"When you hear things about who's hot or who's not, a lot of that I just feel like it's smoke being blown," Lewis said. "What can you do about it? There's nothing you can do about it. You've just got to accept the things you cannot change. I can't change it. The only thing we can do is just keep pushing forward."



The reception Ravens fans gave to backup quarterback Kyle Boller yesterday was a remarkable turnaround from his previous playing days.

Boller, who often had been booed for spotty play, was applauded heartily by fans.

"It was awesome," Boller said of yesterday's applause. "The fans in Baltimore are great. At times they're frustrated, but they deserve to be frustrated. All I can do is go out there and try to move the ball and give guys like Mark [Clayton] and Todd [Heap] and Derrick [Mason] the ball and hopefully we can put some points on the board."


The last starter in the secondary to get an interception, strong safety Dawan Landry picked off Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme in the first quarter.

Landry, the team's fifth-round pick in April's draft, said he read Delhomme's eyes as they locked onto wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. Landry slipped underneath Johnson and made the interception at the Ravens' 35.

"Everybody else in the secondary had one," he said. "I was the last one. I was just waiting for my turn."


Besides Steve McNair's injury, the only injury of note for the Ravens was strong safety Dawan Landry, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee. After the game, however, Landry did not appear to be greatly affected by the injury.

Right guard Keydrick Vincent wore a wrap around his right quadriceps during the fourth quarter, but he said afterward that he just tweaked the muscle and that he felt fine. Safety Gerome Sapp had a wrap around his left leg, but said it was just a cramp.

With cornerback Corey Ivy forced to miss yesterday's game with a kidney tear, the Ravens activated sixth-round draft pick Derrick Martin for his first game in the NFL.

That meant that third-round cornerback David Pittman still hasn't suited up this season.

Other Ravens inactives were linebackers Mike Smith and Dan Cody, running backs P.J. Daniels and Cory Ross, wide receiver Devard Darling and guard Ikechuku Ndukwe.

Running back DeAngelo Williams (ankle), safety Shaun Williams (foot), center Justin Hartwig (groin), guard D'Anthony Batiste, offensive tackle Rashad Butler, defensive end Stanley McClover, defensive tackle Jordan Carstens and linebacker Rod Davis were game-day scratches for Carolina.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.