Ravens' running game a bright spot in loss

PHILADELPHIA – The Baltimore Ravens haven't altered their smash-mouth approach.<br><br> There was plenty of evidence in supply during the first half of their second preseason game Friday night in a 26-17 loss against an undermanned Philadelphia Eagles defense.<br><br> Led by Pro Bowl runner Jamal Lewis, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, the Ravens rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries by halftime.

"It felt great out there," said Lewis, who rushed for a league-high 2,066 yards last season. "We broke some big runs. The offensive line was opening up holes and we were able to stretch some plays out.

"It worked just like we did it in practice this week. It's nice when it happens the same way in the game."

Lewis gained 39 yards on eight attempts, including a 14-yard run. Backups Chester Taylor and Musa Smith combined for 36 yards on eight carries.

Even quarterback Kyle Boller got into the act with 31 yards on five carries. And backup quarterback Kordell Stewart scrambled for a 9-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

"I like what we did running the ball," offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said. "That part is coming along for us very well. We'll be in good shape running the ball."

INACTIVES The Ravens played without quarterback Anthony Wright (shoulder), return specialist Derek Abney (shoulder), cornerback Fred Weary (quadriceps), running back B.J. Sams (thumb), linebacker Peter Boulware (shoulder), offensive guard Casey Rabach (knee), defensive tackle Matt Zielinski (knee), offensive tackle Orlando Brown (family illness), tight end Trent Smith (leg) and defensive end Marques Douglas (elbow).

Jarret Johnson started in Douglas' place at right end. Ethan Brooks replaced Brown, who's with his ailing mother, in the starting lineup at right tackle.

The Eagles had 13 players miss the game with injuries, including starting defensive tackle Corey Simon, linebackers Dhani Jones and Nate Wayne, Pro Bowl safety Brian Dawkins and kicker David Akers.

INJURIES: Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap left the game with a bruised shoulder and didn't return. Cornerback Corey Fuller sprained his knee and didn't return.

Eagle running back Correll Buckhalter was carted off with a right knee injury. He tore his patellar tendon and will likely miss the entire season.

Linebacker Ike Reese sprained his medial collateral ligament.

CONNECTIONS: Both Ravens coach Brian Billick and Eagles coach Andy Reid played collegiately at Brigham Young. Billick was a graduate assistant when Reid played on the offensive line. And former Ravens quarterback Jeff Blake is the Eagles' backup.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Eagles honored Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bob Brown before kickoff. As for his thoughts on how he would have fared in today's game, Brown said: "I believed that I could block anything that was born from a woman, walked upright and called himself a man."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.
 


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