- The Washington Times - Monday, November 20, 2000


BALTIMORE This was complete domination. The Dallas Cowboys never had a chance.

Baltimore Ravens rookie running back Jamal Lewis nearly equaled the Cowboys' offensive output when he rushed for a career-high 187 yards, the second-best rushing day in team history. The Ravens once-maligned offense set a team record for total yards in a game with 479 and the Ravens' top-rated defense posted its fourth shutout of the season. And, oh yeah, this 27-0 drubbing of the Cowboys came before a record crowd of 69,416 yesterday at PSINet Stadium.

With the win, the Ravens (8-4) matched the most in franchise history and seem to be peaking at the right time for an AFC wild-card berth.

Ravens coach Brian Billick doesn't want his team to look ahead to the playoffs, but he realizes the significance of this victory.

"This was substantial for us," Billick said. "It was substantial and that's a worthy opponent for us to win in the dominating fashion that we did. It says something about us."

The Cowboys had not been shut out since they lost at home to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-0 on Sept. 15, 1991. The last time Dallas (4-7) was blanked on the road was on Dec. 16, 1989 in a 15-0 loss against the New York Giants.

The Ravens defense limited Cowboys star running back Emmitt Smith to only 48 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Troy Aikman, the Cowboys quarterback, threw three interceptions and completed only 19 of 33 passes for 138 yards.

"Obviously that was a rough day at the office," Cowboys coach Dave Campo said.

The Ravens have five shutouts in their last 14 games, and in four other games the Ravens defense has allowed just one touchdown. The NFL record for most shutouts in a season is five by the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers. With the lowly Cleveland Browns (3-9), San Diego Chargers (0-11) and Arizona Cardinals (3-8) left on the schedule, the Ravens' defense has an excellent opportunity to match, if not break, that record.

"Now [the record is] in reach, we can taste it, we can smell it, so why not go for it," said Ravens Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis."

The Cowboys entered this game with the league's worst run defense and left Baltimore in the same position. The Ravens offensive line blew the Cowboys off the ball. The Cowboys allowed 4.8 yards per carry heading into the game, but the Ravens improved on that by gaining 5.7 yards per carry.

Lewis ran wild, especially left, behind Jonathan Ogden, the Ravens massive 6-foot-8, 340-pound tackle, and guard Edwin Mulitalo. Ogden and Mulitalo dominated the line of scrimmage, controlling the Cowboys right side end Greg Ellis and tackle Brandon Noble.

"Some of the guys they had up there were playing real soft and we took advantage of that," Mulitalo said.

Lewis carried the ball 28 times and averaged 6.7 yards. His long run was only 18 yards, but he had plenty of 5 to 7-yard gains. The Ravens offense racked up the 479 total yards and eclipsed the team record by one yard set against the St. Louis Rams in an overtime game on Oct. 27, 1996.

"Going in the game plan was to pound it," Lewis said. "I was patient and trying to run behind my line. I was worn out. I'm beat right now. It was exciting to see their defense wear down."

The Ravens jumped all over the Cowboys in the first quarter. It was only last month that the Ravens were unable to score touchdowns the Ravens tied an NFL record when they went 21 straight quarters without a TD but yesterday it took only 3:35 for the Ravens to get in the end zone. On their first possession of the game Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer connected with wide receiver Qadry Ismail for a 40-yard touchdown strike to make it 7-0.

Ismail was the benefactor of a poor play by left cornerback Phillippi Sparks. Ismail ran a fly pattern straight down the right sideline but could not put Sparks behind him. Dilfer lofted a tight spiral to the right corner of the end zone but Sparks, who had inside position on Ismail, let Dilfer's pass go through his hands into Ismail's.

It was Ismail's third touchdown of the season and all of his scores have been 40 yards or longer. It took Dilfer and the Ravens just seven plays to go 81 yards.

Ravens kicker Matt Stover made a 25-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter to give the Ravens a 10-0 lead.

Dilfer struck again late in the first half, just before the two-minute warning. The quarterback hit Shannon Sharpe with a 59-yard pass down the middle that made it 17-0 at halftime. In the fourth quarter, the Ravens added a 19-yard Stover field goal and a 5-yard run around left end by Priest Holmes to close out the scoring.

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