- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2003

BALTIMORE — He’s got two rebuilt knees, a bad shoulder, an offense that can’t throw the ball and defenses geared to stop him. And yet, it seems no team can slow down Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis.

Lewis finished with 134 yards — the sixth straight game in which he’s gone over 100 yards — and a touchdown on a career-high 32 carries and the Ravens defense limited the Denver Broncos to just 194 yards of total offense as Baltimore earned a 26-6 win before 69,721 yesterday at M&T; Bank Stadium.

The Ravens (4-3) moved into sole possession of the first place in the AFC North.

Lewis, the NFL’s leading rusher with 977 yards on 166 carries, is on pace to shatter Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record (2,105 yards in 1984).

“It was long going, but I really don’t count how many carries I get,” Lewis said. “But if we’re pounding the defense, then I’m happy.”

Every Ravens opponent knows Lewis is going to get the ball, especially with rookie quarterback Kyle Boller still learning the offense. The Ravens, who sport the largest offensive line in the NFL (329.5-pound average), are content to wear down opponents with the running game.

“You can see it in their eyes, once you are getting the ball downhill and moving it, and the line is really dominating, and they just wore down over time,” Lewis said.

It’s the same formula the Ravens used to win the Super Bowl three seasons ago — punishing running game, great defense and solid kicking from Matt Stover.

Stover kicked four field goals — 25, 39, 22 and 29 yards — yesterday.

Boller managed the game well — he didn’t commit a turnover and completed 15 of 27 passes for 137 yards including a 5-yard touchdown toss to backup tight end Terry Jones Jr. in the fourth quarter.

And those kinds of offensive outputs are enough when middle linebacker Ray Lewis and the defense play the way they did. Broncos running back Clinton Portis was held under 100 yards for just the third time this season, rushing for 86 yards on 22 attempts. Baltimore also intercepted Broncos third-string quarterback Danny Kanell twice.

“They played football the way we did in 2000,” former Raven and current Bronco Shannon Sharpe said. “Nip and tuck, here and there, not making mistakes on offense.”

Ray Lewis’ interception of Kanell in the fourth quarter helped the Ravens put the game away. With the Ravens leading 9-6 the linebacker stepped in front of wide receiver Rod Smith and returned the ball 37 yards to the Broncos 20. Four plays later, Boller found Jones for a touchdown and a 16-6 lead with 7:35 left.

Kanell, who was pressed into duty after starter Jake Plummer (foot) and backup Steve Beuerlein (finger) sustained injuries, made his first NFL start since November 2000 and it showed. He completed 16 of 31 passes for 114 yards.

“Obviously right now we are not a good offensive football team,” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said of his 5-3 team. “We had some chances in the third quarter to get back in the football game and we just didn’t get it done.”

Ravens safety Gary Baxter picked off Kanell just before the two-minute warning and Jamal Lewis added an insurance touchdown — his sixth of the season — on a 28-yard run off left tackle.

“Our defense just doesn’t believe in giving up certain things, it’s that simple,” Ray Lewis said. “Today we came out and clicked on all cylinders. We knew their quarterback situation, we understood it very well throughout the week, and we knew they were going to try and feed Clinton Portis. We just played our type of football.”


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