- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

Jay Fiedler, beware.
Not because your Miami Dolphins have lost six straight games to the New York Jets, including the miraculous comeback from a 30-7 fourth-quarter deficit last Oct. 23 at Giants Stadium. Not because you have seven turnovers in the past three games. No, Fiedler should go into today's game keeping an eye peeled for No. 57 in green.
That's Jets Pro Bowl linebacker Mo Lewis, who is making a habit of hurting the quarterbacks of New York's AFC East rivals. On Sept. 23, Lewis tackled Drew Bledsoe so hard that the New England passer bled internally. Bledsoe has yet to return to practice. Last week Lewis gave Buffalo's sliding Rob Johnson a cheap shot elbow to the neck, knocking him out of the game. The NFL fined Lewis $12,500 for the latter hit.
Any rough stuff from Lewis today will only add to the emotions of the rivalry. The fortitude of New Yorkers post-Sept. 11 didn't stop Miami defensive end Jason Taylor from ripping Jets fans this week.
"Without a doubt, some of them can be the most ignorant people you have ever met," said Taylor, who has hanging in his locker the jersey of Jets halfback Curtis Martin that fans threw at him as the Dolphins collapsed last October.
While Miami (3-1) has beaten Oakland and Tennessee, New York's only victories have come against division weaklings New England and Buffalo. But now the Jets get the Dolphins, unbeaten St. Louis and after a break against Carolina a tough New Orleans team. Seems like serious trouble ahead for the NFL's second-worst defense, the worst against the run.
"We've got some tougher teams coming up, and we haven't won a home game yet," said rookie coach Herman Edwards. "The unique thing about us is we're 2-2 and we don't feel good about it. We shouldn't because we have some expectations that we're trying to meet."
* Raiders-Colts Indianapolis went into last season's bye with an upset loss to Oakland. The Colts came out of it by crushing Jacksonville. Indianapolis headed into this year's bye with a stinging 44-13 loss to the lowly Patriots, so the Colts (2-1) are looking for payback tonight against the visiting Raiders (3-1), who regain Pro Bowl defensive tackle Darrell Russell from a four-game NFL suspension.
"The two wins that we had [45-24 at the Jets and 42-26 over the Bills] were so convincing that you felt on top of the world," Colts offensive tackle Tarik Glenn said. "You knew you had to come back and work the next week, but you almost felt like it was going to happen. [But] the teams that are at the bottom can come and get you on the back side. That was a big wakeup call."
Colts coach Jim Mora is very concerned about his team's minus-7 turnover ratio, tied for the second-worst in the league.
"Either we've got to stop turning the ball over [10 times] or we've got to start taking it away [three times]," Mora said. "You can rave about our [top-ranked] offense all you want, but that's not efficient football."
* Browns-Bengals How meaningless has the "Battle of Ohio" been for the last decade? Today's matchup of 3-1 Cleveland at 2-2 Cincinnati is the first time that the Bengals and Browns have come into the game with a combined winning record since Dec. 3, 1989.
A big reason for Cleveland's turnaround is quarterback Tim Couch. The first choice in the 1999 draft has a 106 rating in the fourth quarter. Couch hit seven of eight passes in the final period at Jacksonville on Sept. 30 and then led the Browns to 10 points on a pair of late drives last week against San Diego.
Under rookie coach Butch Davis, the Browns have won three straight and are just two victories shy of the total triumphs of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, coach Dick LeBeau and the Bengals are searching for answers in the wake of two straight defeats. Pittsburgh and Jerome Bettis embarrassingly outrushed Cincinnati and Corey Dillon by a whopping 274-65 last week.
"We are a team that wants to run the ball and doesn't want the other people running the ball on us," LeBeau said. "I think the team has character. We have to [show] it. This is going to be a gut-check week, no question about it."
The Browns don't have a top runner like Bettis or San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, so the bigger concern for LeBeau is getting Dillon going. After running for 104 yards in the opener against New England, the NFL single game record-holder (278), has managed just 167 the past three weeks. Dillon did pound Cleveland for 538 yards and four touchdowns on 95 carries (5.7 average) as Cincinnati won three of the four meetings the past two years. But those weren't Davis' Browns, who rank fifth in total defense and sixth in scoring defense even though last year's top pick, end Courtney Brown, has yet to play with a sprained knee. Cleveland has not allowed 275 yards in a game this season, its best stretch since 1973.


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