- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 29, 2004

BALTIMORE — Maybe the Baltimore Ravens should forget about passing the ball and simply let their running backs punish defenses.

Jamal Lewis, who in 2003 turned in the second-greatest rushing season in NFL history with 2,066 yards, was merely a spectator last night as backup Chester Taylor ripped through the Detroit Lions for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in Baltimore’s 17-6 victory before 69,552 at M&T; Bank Stadium.

“This is basically the most carries I’ve gotten because during the season Jamal gets a lot of carries, but when my number is called, I’ve just got to go in there and step up,” Taylor said.

On Taylor’s first touchdown scamper, he went off left tackle behind seven-time Pro Bowl lineman Jonathan Ogden, cut back into the middle and raced 84 yards.

“The offensive line did a great job of opening the hole for me. All I had to do was get through it, get to the secondary, make a couple of people miss and I was off to the races,” Taylor said. “I haven’t felt that way since college — that’s been a long time. I was just trying not to get gassed, Luckily, I made it all the way.”

With the Ravens leading 10-6, Taylor added a 10-yard scoring dash around left end that put the game out of reach at 17-6.

Last season the Ravens were the lowest-rated passing team in the league, averaging 140.9 yards. Coming into last night’s game, Baltimore’s passing attack was averaging a mere 108.5 yards in preseason. Despite acceptable final numbers, quarterback Kyle Boller he didn’t engineer any long scoring drives.

“Good things, bad things,” coach Brian Billick said of Boller’s performance. “Some things have got to get better. Some things he did very, very well.”

The Ravens were without seven starters, four on defense. Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap (shoulder) and wide receiver Travis Taylor (groin) sat out of the game.

Neither Heap nor Taylor is in danger of his job, but this game was an opportunity for third-year man Randy Hymes to solidify himself as the No.3 receiver. Billick started Hymes for Travis Taylor, and the move paid off early.

Hymes, who came into this game with just one reception for 12 yards in two preseason games, came up big on Baltimore’s second possession. On second-and-7 at the Lions; 49, Boller hit Hymes for a 19-yard gain on a post route over the middle.

With the Ravens trailing 3-0 in the first quarter, Hymes’ reception moved the first-team offense into field goal position. Baltimore’s drive stalled at Detroit’s 23, but Matt Stover’s 41-yard field goal tied the game 3-3. Hymes finished with two receptions for 28 yards.

The Ravens generated just 104 yards in the first half as Boller completed seven of 12 passes for 82 yards for a 79.2 rating. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson was Baltimore’s biggest offensive star, catching three passes for 40 yards.

“I know what we’re doing, and I know what needs to be done,” Johnson said. “I just have to get the chemistry down with all the plays and all the players in game-type situations. It’s different in practice. The chemistry is getting there, especially with the quarterback. We still have one more preparation week before we have to hit on all cylinders.”

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