BALTIMORE (AP) -- On an afternoon in which they set several team
records and clinched their first winning season, the Baltimore
Ravens had only one lament.
Fooled by the Cleveland Browns early in Sunday's game, the
Ravens failed to get the record-tying shutout they coveted.
Rookie Jamal Lewis ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and
Trent Dilfer threw for two scores as the Ravens built a 24-point
halftime lead en route to a 44-7 victory.
Baltimore (9-4) held Cleveland (3-10) to three first downs in
the decisive first half, and the 44 points were the team's most in
a game since the franchise moved from Cleveland in 1996.
The Ravens, whose fourth straight win ties a team mark, had
never before won more than eight games in a season.
"I hope we're not satisfied," safety Rod Woodson said. "But
we're heading in the right direction."
|Baltimore's Jamal Lewis had 170 yards on 30 carries and, with 1,095 yards on season, holds the Ravens' single-season record.|
Baltimore's attempt to tie the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers'
modern-day mark of five shutouts in a season was spoiled on the
Browns' initial drive.
Cleveland surprised the Ravens by coming out with a spread
formation and a no-huddle attack. Doug Pederson began the drive
with a 7-yard pass to Kevin Johnson, then immediately threw over
the middle to Johnson for 67 yards, the longest play against
Baltimore this season.
Another completion moved it to the 4, where Travis Prentice
capped the four-play drive with a touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
"That long pass was just missed tackles. After that, everything
was back to normal," said middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who had two
of the Ravens' six sacks.
"The defense didn't feel good about that," Baltimore coach
Brian Billick said. "You could tell when they came to the sideline
that it wasn't going to happen again."
The Browns covered 86 yards on that drive and gained 26 yards
thereafter. Cleveland finished with five first downs and 28 yards
rushing on 17 attempts.
"I don't think we quit; I think we got beat up," Browns coach
Chris Palmer said. "They physically manhandled us."
Baltimore scored on five of its next six possessions and led
31-7 at halftime, outgaining the Browns 306-89 while holding the
ball for nearly 21 minutes.
Lewis left in the third quarter after getting 30 carries and
breaking the Ravens' single-season record for yards rushing. He has
1,095, including 357 in the last two weeks.
After falling behind early, the Ravens moved 67 yards in 13
plays and drew even on a 1-yard run by Lewis, only the second
first-quarter touchdown against Cleveland this season.
Baltimore went up 14-7 early in the second quarter. After
Cleveland's Dennis Northcutt fumbled at the end of a punt return,
Dilfer ended a 44-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Sam
Two minutes later, Dilfer threw a 46-yard TD pass to Patrick
Johnson, who separated himself from Anthony Malbrough at the goal
line before making the catch.
||TOM DONAHOE'S BREAKDOWN
Question on the Browns: Should the Browns have surrendered at
Donahoe: The way the Browns played, maybe they should have asked for
the game to be stopped after their first drive. The Browns started the game
with a no-huddle offense -- which appeared to catch the Ravens off guard --
and they drove the ball and scored a touchdown. But they did little right
after that. For the second week in a row, Cleveland could only come up with
five first downs, and that's just not acceptable. There's no question that
the Browns have been hurt by injuries, but there's no excuse for getting
blown out like they did today. The Ravens essentially did anything they
wanted to do in this game.
Question on the Ravens: Why is Jamal Lewis suddenly
Donahoe: Lewis began this season injured. In recent weeks, as he's
gotten healthy and gotten into the flow of the offense, he's shown himself
to be a big-time back. There were many experts who felt Lewis was the best
back in last year's draft. Now the Ravens are starting to see the type of
production they envisioned for Lewis. Anytime a running back is able to rush
for 150-plus yards, that's an impressive performance. Lewis has done this
two straight weeks. Lewis has a great combination of size and speed. He
weighs about 240 pounds but he runs a legitimate 4.3 in the 40, so he can
run inside with power and also bounce it outside effectively. His
performance has been as significant a reason for the Ravens' improvement as
the play of quarterback Trent
Dilfer. The Ravens are now becoming a complete team. They've had the
defense all season, and now they have the running of Lewis and strong
quarterback play from Dilfer. It wouldn't surprise me if Baltimore makes a
lot of noise in the playoffs this year.
Tom Donahoe, ESPN.com's NFL analyst, was formerly the Steelers' director
of football operations.
The Ravens moved 69 yards on their next possession before Matt
Stover kicked a 39-yard field goal for a 24-7 lead. Cleveland again
went three-and-out, and Lewis ran 36 yards for a touchdown.
Spergon Wynn took over for Pederson at the start of the second
half, but the results were the same. He lost a fumble on his second
play, and Baltimore recovered to set up another field goal.
"They've done a lot of things to a lot of good defenses. They
don't have all those shutouts for nothing," Wynn said.
Tony Banks replaced Dilfer with 3:45 left in the third quarter
and Baltimore up 37-7. Dilfer went 12-for-23 for 169 yards and two
Ravens cornerback Duane Starks, replacing an injured Jermaine
Lewis, returned a punt 47 yards to set up a fourth-quarter
touchdown run by Priest Holmes.
It's no coincidence that Trent Dilfer has led the Ravens to four straight wins this month. In 26 career starts in November Dilfer has an 18-8 record, including nine consecutive wins, and has a much better completion percentage and TD/INT ratio.
Rest of Season
Baltimore has outscored Cleveland 114-26 in winning all
four games over two seasons. ... Cleveland DT Orpheus Roye (thumb),
DT Mike Thompson (knee) and LB Lenoy Jones (knee) all left with
injuries. ... Lewis' two touchdowns matched his total in the
Ravens' previous 12 games. ... The Browns' Marty Moore had his
first interception since 1997. ... Former Browns and Ravens running
back Earnest Byner became the first player placed in the PSINet
Stadium Ring of Honor. ... Stover has a career-record 31 field
goals, and his last conversion gave him 1,000 career points.
ESPN's Ron Jaworski catches up with Jamal Lewis following his 170-yard, 2-TD performance.
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Tony Siragusa talks with ESPN's Ron Jaworski after the Ravens' victory over the Browns.
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