Game SnapShot: Ravens (2-2) at Cardinals (1-4)

<b>KICKOFF: </b>Sunday, 4:15 ET<br> <b>GAMEDATE: </b>10/12/03<br> <b>SURFACE:</b> Grass<br> <b>TV: </b>CBS, Craig Bolerjack, Beasley Reece<br>Baltimore Ravens (2-2) at Arizona Cardinals (1-4)<br> <br> <b>SERIES: </b>3rd meeting. The series is tied at 1-1, with both teams winning on the road. The Ravens won the last meeting during their Super Bowl run three years ago, when they edged Arizona, 13-7.

The Ravens forced four turnovers including two inside their own 15-yard line. Running back Jamal Lewis ran for 126 yards and scored the Ravens' only touchdown.

2003 RANKINGS: Ravens: offense 21st (1st rush, 32nd pass); defense 8th (14th rush, 9th pass). Cardinals: offense 29th (30th rush, 17th pass); defense 21st (11th rush, 26th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Ravens QB Kyle Boller spent the bye week working on more crossing and medium-range passes. Baltimore knows defense will stack the box to stop RB Jamal Lewis and in order to move the ball, Boller is going to need to stretch the field more and not rely so heavily and short passes and dump offs. He'll have time to look downfield, because the Cardinals are inept at pass rushing. Arizona RB Emmitt Smith is out with a fractured shoulder, but back Marcel Shipp actually offers more speed. The Cardinals' offensive line is massive, but has been slow-footed. It will need to be physical against a quick Ravens defense that will abuse QB Jeff Black if Arizona can't run the ball.

FAST FACTS: Ravens: Boller has completed 59.4 percent of his passes on third down (19 of 32). ... Rookie LB Terrell Suggs can be-come the first player in NFL history to record at least one sack in each of his first five games. Cardinals: The offense has produced only 312 yards and two touchdowns the past two games. ... Their losses have come by an average of 24 points. ... WR Anquan Boldin's 33 receptions are the most ever for a rookie through five games.


* RB Jamal Lewis may have his carries limited because the Ravens don't want to wear him out in the Arizona heat. He is averaging 23.5 carries per game this season.

* RB Musa Smith is not on the injury report for the first time this season but he needs to show he can play on special teams before he can be on the active roster game days.

* RB Chester Taylor could receive eight to 10 carries as the Ravens try to avoid wearing out Jamal Lewis in the Arizona heat.

* PR Lamont Brightful has to be more consistent on his fielding ability and his initial move after catching the ball. The Ravens could opt to play recently signed Dedric Ward if Brightful doesn't improve.

* FS Gary Baxter has quietly had a strong season in his first year as a starting safety. He's third on the team with 32 tackles and has broken up seven passes.

* K Tim Duncan, signed last week, will handle duties again Sunday against Baltimore with Bill Gramatica's back still bothering him. Dun-can's status on the active roster is day-to-day pending Gramatica's re-turn, which should be in two weeks following the bye.

* K Bill Gramatica has a bad combination going. Anyone who caught his signing act with Carlos Santana on Monday night knows one element of it. The other is his sore lower back that will sideline him or he second straight game against Baltimore.

* DT Wendell Bryant is back on the practice field, gimpy on the ankle that sidelined him the past two games. He is expected to play but it is unknown for how long.

* DT Marcus Bell once again will be counted on heavily, and likely will remain in the starting lineup for the third straight game in place of injured left-side starter Wendell Bryant.

* DE Calvin Pace is taking a double hit this week. First came the comparisons with Ravens rookie Terrell Suggs, who played his high school and college ball in the Phoenix area. The Cardinals were expected to take Suggs with the sixth pick in the first round but instead traded down with New Orleans for Nos. 17 and 18. With No. 18, the Cardinals drafted Pace. He has not yet made a sack. Suggs, who was then drafted 10th by Baltimore and converted to a situational pass-rushing OLB, has four sacks through five games. Adding to Pace's misery this week is a strained groin that has slowed him on the practice field but is not expected to keep him out of the lineup Sunday.

* DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, on Injured Reserve for the second time in his three-year career (left knee), said he is farther ahead in his rehab this time than when he blew out his right knee as a rookie in 2001.

* DE Kenny King (toe), a backup, won't play.


The heat may take away carries from Jamal Lewis. The league leading rusher could give way to backup Chester Taylor to keep him from wearing down at Arizona's Sun Devil Stadium. Temperatures are expected to be over 90 degrees.

Lewis' physical style of running has produced 611 yards on 94 carries. Taylor has 66 yards rushing on 14 attempts, which is an average of 3.5 carries a game.

"I'd imagine by the nature of the trip and the heat and what our intentions are, [Taylor's playing time] could be upward to eight to 10 carries this week," coach Brian Billick said.

By limiting Lewis, it limits his most productive time. On his first through 10th carry, Lewis is averaging 6.2 yards. On his 21st through 30th attempt, his average jumps to 7.3 yards. "Pounding defenses wear them down," Lewis said. "It gives you the edge in the second half. If you can control the clock, it takes you back to our Super Bowl year."

Lewis believes he could have another big day against Arizona's run defense, which is tied for fourth in the league for fewest yards allowed per carry. He also isn't impressed by the size of the Cardinals' front four.

"They're real big but that really doesn't make a difference," Lewis said. "They can clog the holes but you can get them going and get them moving, I think they can tire out."

This defense was supposed to be new and improved. The team in-vested considerable resources in it during the off season, including the signing of free agent free safety Dexter Jackson from Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay and drafting defensive end Calvin Pace in the first round.

Yet through five games, four of them losses by an average 24 points, the Cardinals have stopped nobody except a Green Bay Packers team that seemed to have triple-digit heat in its head with its conservative game plan and non-aggressive play.

Granted, the Cardinals' defense has been placed in tough field position frequently by a turnover-prone offense. The Cardinals are among the worst in the league in turnover margin.

And granted, they lost two defensive starters before the season-opening kickoff - end Kyle Vanden Bosch (knee) and cornerback Duane Starks (knee). They've been thin a tackle and cornerback, but the team through the years has not competently built its roster depth to deal with emergencies.

So the Cardinals can't seem to get anyone off the field, continue to give up huge numbers on the opponent's side of the scoreboard and once again are headed for a single-digit total in their win column - a low single digit total.

The biggest disappointments are tackle Wendell Bryant, a first-round pick in 2002 who has done essentially nothing in nearly a year and a half except collect a nice paycheck. He came in late last season and was a bust. He has been sidelined this year by an ankle injury. Rookie end Calvin Pace, who raised false hope by making getting sacks in the preseason against non-starting foes who weren't game-planning for him, goes into Game 6 without a single sack on a team that collectively has only three of them.

Any team that plays in the NFC West should have a minimum of four corners who can cover. Starks was about the only member of this team who could make that claim. Backup Renaldo Hill, a smart player who isn't blessed with speed, has been exploited repeatedly. Jackson has earned his keep, including an interception in the end zone in the closing seconds that saved the team's only win. Middle linebacker Ron McKinnon, who nearly lost his job in camp to free agent acquisition James Darling, made nine tackles last week and is showing a pulse.

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