Ravens likely to run the ball until Lewis drops

OWINGS MILLS - It doesn't require Nostradamus or inside information to anticipate the Baltimore Ravens' offensive game plan. <br><br> Send Pro Bowl runner Jamal Lewis to the left, up the middle and to the right. <br><br> With tight end Todd Heap and wide receiver Travis Taylor both out with injuries, expect Lewis and Chester Taylor to be utilized extensively Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Unless Bengals coach Marvin Lewis literally dares quarterback Kyle Boller to throw the football downfield by placing more than eight or nine defenders at the line, it figures to be a predictable approach for last year's top-ranked running game.

When asked if 50 runs would shock him after Baltimore posted 41 carries for 172 rushing yards in a 30-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, Lewis said: "It wouldn't surprise me, but we have to do what we have to do to win. We're a little banged-up right now, so we have to alter our game. If we have to run the ball 50 times, we have to do it. It depends on the game situation, but I think we'll go out and run the ball a lot."

Lewis rushed for a league-high 2,066 yards last season and was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Through two games, he has rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries for a 2.7 average. His longest run is 12 yards after a series of breakaway touchdowns last season.

Now, he's attracting even more attention from defenses and has been without center Mike Flynn and offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden for two and one games, respectively.

"Their main goal is to not let me get 100 yards and not let me get loose," Lewis said. "Why should I be concerned? It's cool. I'm all right with 60 yards if we can come out with a win. I don't think it's going to change that much because they're keying on me. We're not going to hide anything. Teams know what we're going to do."

LUCK OF THE BOUNCE: Last week, a potential interception glanced off Ed Reed directly to Steelers receiver Hines Ward for a 58-yard completion instead of a possible touchdown.

In a 34-26 loss last year in Cincinnati, the Pro Bowl safety deflected an underthrown Kitna pass right to Bengals receiver Chad Johnson for an 82-yard touchdown.

"I remember too well," said Reed, who has 12 career interceptions. "I don't call it luck. I call it something that won't happen to me again."

LITTLE J.O.: Marques Ogden knew it was coming on his first day of work: a bunch of nicknames centered around the practice-squad offensive tackle's status as the younger brother of All-Pro offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden.

"They called me, 'Little J.O and J.O. Jr.,'" said Marques Ogden, a Washington native and former Howard University player who signed with Baltimore on Tuesday. "It's great to be with my brother. He's always been a great resource for me for my entire career."

FINAL WORD: The Ravens split the Bengals' series last year during the first season in Cincinnati for Marvin Lewis, the former Ravens defensive coordinator. Will the familiarity play a major factor?

"It becomes a bad Abbott and Costello theme: 'I know that he knows that I know that he knows that I know, so we're going to do this, but he knows that, so we're going to do something else,'" Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You can drive yourself nuts doing that."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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