The NFL rushing leader insisted that he wants to review the play on video before accepting or shirking responsibility for the costly miscue. It doesn't appear to be a great mystery, though, on what happened after regulation on this first-down play at the Ravens' 36. Wright appeared to cleanly deliver the handoff to the running back's midsection, but Lewis bobbled the football into the ground. Then, Miami middle linebacker Zach Thomas won a wrestling match underneath a pile of bodies for the recovery. "I really can't speak on that play honestly right now until I see the tape because I don't want to blame nobody," Lewis said. "I don't want to blame myself. I don't know what happened."
This was Lewis' 20th career fumble, the 13th he has lost and his third in the past two games. Against the Dolphins, Lewis rushed for 88 yards on 26 carries, averaging nearly two yards under his season average of 5.2 per attempt. Lewis' bruising output against defenses designed specifically to limit his impact represents the chief strength of the Ravens' low-scoring offense. Yet, his fumbles have become an issue, one that greatly affected the team's cause on Sunday. "It is always a concern," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "Why we had the problem we had on the exchange, that is on the quarterback and on the running back. I am not going to stand here and say, 'It was Anthony's fault or it was Jamal's fault.' "It didn't get executed. Over the course of the week, both will work on it. In similar situations, Jamal knows that can't happen in order for us to win. He is conscious of that and is frustrated about it."
Lewis acknowledged that he aggravated his preexisting shoulder injury shortly before the fumble. However, Billick said the shoulder was examined and judged to be fine. "We knew that Jamal Lewis was nursing a sore shoulder and that he had put the ball on the ground a few times last week," Dolphins safety Sammy Knight said. "So, we were definitely trying to get in there and cause a strip or see what we could do to get that ball." Lewis has 240 carries this season, but emphasized that he doesn't feel overworked. With 1,372 yards of total offense, Lewis has accounted for 47 percent of the team's yardage total. He has touched the ball on 256 of the Ravens' 596 offensive plays. "I feel good," Lewis said. "I don't think I was over-run. I'm a little banged-up, but I could go out there and run the ball now."
LONGEST RETURN: When return specialist Lamont Brightful burst 73 yards to set up a Matt Stover field goal on Sunday, it marked the longest return for Baltimore this season. It was also Brightful's longest return since his 95-yard punt return for a touchdown last season against the Cincinnati Bengals. "It was great to see us impact the game a little bit with our return game," Billick said. "That's been lacking a little bit the first half of the season, but it showed up the last two weeks. That's a positive."
INJURY UPDATE: Ravens defensive end Tony Weaver suffered a shoulder stinger and didn't return Sunday, but the injury isn't believed to be serious.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Ravens (5-5) have been installed as a two-point favorite over the Seattle Seahawks (7-3) for Sunday's contest at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens have only played Seattle once, taking a 31-24 win on Dec. 7, 1997 in Baltimore.
QUICK HITS: The Ravens' rushing offense now ranks second in the NFL, although Lewis has rushed for a league-high 1,244 yards. He's 72 yards ahead of Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green. … The Ravens' defense ranks third overall, ninth against the run and third against the pass. … Stover has converted 12 consecutive field goals. … Kickoff specialist Wade Richey booted four touchbacks and ranks second in the NFL with nine for the season. … Dave Zastudil punted seven times for a 46.6 average.
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.