Ravens 33, Browns 13
Game 2: J. Lewis carries the day
His 295 yards on ground set NFL single-game mark, help team even record at 1-1; 82-yard run on 2nd play sets tone; R. Lewis-led defense foils Cleveland, but turnovers by QBs concern Billick
Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, busting loose during the first quarter, gained 234 of his NFL-record 295 yards on five of his 30 carries. "People forget how fast he is," said coach Brian Billick, who made good on a pregame commitment to get the ball into Lewis' hands. The Ravens won, 33-13. (Sun photo by Lloyd Fox / September 14, 2003)
Unleashing an old yet successful profile, the Ravens relied on powerful running back Jamal Lewis and a punishing defense to pull away from the Browns, 33-13, before 69,473 at M&T Bank Stadium.
But on this day, it was Lewis and not the defense setting the records.
Lewis rolled for 295 yards on 30 carries, surpassing the 3-year-old mark of the Cincinnati Bengals' Corey Dillon by 17 yards.
His league mark was the key in evening the Ravens' record at 1-1 and tying the team with the Pittsburgh Steelers atop the AFC North. The Browns fell to 0-2 and lost for the first time in Baltimore since 2000.
The tone was set just before kickoff, when linebacker Ray Lewis placed both hands on Jamal Lewis' helmet and put the game into perspective.
"Look, it's Lewis and Lewis," Ray Lewis told the running back. "You start it off and I finish it. A running game and a good defense is what we had our Super Bowl year."
On the second play of the game, Jamal Lewis delivered on his end of the bargain.
Crashing through the middle of the line, Lewis needed only to sidestep one defender on the left sideline to score an 82-yard touchdown. The toughest part of the longest run in Ravens history came when Lewis nearly slipped to the ground after getting through the line.
"If I would have fell, that would have been disappointing," Lewis said. "Luckily, it was the first run, so my legs were good. I got them under me and it was off to the races."
Luckily for the Ravens, Lewis is as good in the backstretch as he is out of the gate.
Late in the third quarter, the Ravens were teetering when quarterback Kyle Boller injured his knee and was replaced by Chris Redman. On his first throw, Redman lost the ball deep in his territory while cocking his arm back.
The Ravens' fourth fumble of the game was quickly converted into a touchdown by the Browns, closing the Ravens' lead to 16-13.
Two plays later, Lewis tore through the middle of the line, sprinted 63 yards for the touchdown and swung the momentum to the Ravens for good.
Using his power to bounce off tacklers and his speed to outrun defenders, Lewis broke the record by breaking big plays. Five of Lewis' carries totaled 234 yards and proved he has fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2001 season.
"People forget how fast he is," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "In the Super Bowl run, he never really had the big, big run. To come back and have it fully, people are going to have to account for it."
The Ravens remained grounded for the fourth quarter, calling 13 running plays and one pass.
Billick, who has a reputation for favoring the pass, said, "You do what you have to do to win."
While Lewis garnered the spotlight, the Ravens' defense kept the Browns in the dark.