- The Washington Times - Monday, November 27, 2000


BALTIMORE Physically humiliated, morally dejected and psychologically ruined. Life stinks if you are the Cleveland Browns.
Never had the Baltimore Ravens whipped anybody this badly. Baltimore heads into its bye week on a big roll after drubbing the expansion Browns 44-7 yesterday before 68,361 at PSINet Stadium. The Ravens' ninth victory of the season put them in the driver's seat for an AFC wild-card berth.
Rookie Jamal Lewis rushed for 170 yards and scored on 1- and 36-yard runs in the Ravens' fourth straight win. Coming into the game, Lewis needed just 83 yards to become the Ravens single-season rushing leader and only the second back in their five-year history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.
Lewis easily accomplished that in the first half with 136 yards on 23 carries (a 5.9 average). That enabled the Ravens (9-4) to jump out to a 31-7 halftime lead. Game over.
"I think they rushed for over 200 yards, and anytime you run for 200 yards you are in pretty good shape," Browns coach Chris Palmer said. "They pounded us pretty good."
As much as the fans in Cleveland don't want to hear it, there is no rivalry between these two teams: The Ravens have won all four games in the series by a combined 114-26. Yet Palmer was reluctant to give the Ravens credit for their latest lopsided victory.
"They are going to have to get hot in the playoffs," Palmer said of Baltimore's postseason chances."
If the Browns' faithful want a rivalry, their team will have to bring something to the table. Five first downs and 112 yards of offense doesn't even fill the water glasses.
This game started promisingly for the Browns (3-10). While everyone was wondering if the Ravens would would tie the NFL record of five shutouts in a season, Cleveland put together an 86-yard touchdown drive on its first possession.
The Browns went with a no-huddle offense from the start and completed two straight passes deep into Ravens territory. On their second play, quarterback Doug Pederson hit wide receiver Kevin Johnson on a quick slant for 67 yards to the Ravens' 12. Two plays later, running back Travis Prentice raced around right end for a 4-yard touchdown.
"Obviously, when you play a game of this type against an opponent that has been struggling, your mindset has to be the same," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You've got to give them credit; they made a nice play."
From there, it quickly went downhill for the Browns. With the score tied 7-7, Dennis Northcutt fumbled a punt return that was recovered by Ravens special teamer Brad Jackson at the Baltimore 44. Baltimore eventually scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Dilfer to fullback Sam Gash.
After their opening drive, the Browns did nothing offensively, gaining only 26 yards the rest of the way. The Ravens recorded a season-high six sacks and allowed only five first downs.
Early in the second quarter, the Ravens made it 21-7 on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Dilfer to wide receiver Patrick Johnson that took only seven seconds.
With 2:55 left before halftime, Lewis burst 36 yards off left tackle for his second touchdown, and it was 31-7. Priest Holmes added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
"We like to run the ball," said Ravens Pro Bowl left tackle Jonathan Ogden. "That's kind of our identification now. It's good to be going into the games and winning the games we're supposed to be winning."

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