Ravens' defense run over by Patriots' Dillon

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Between the rapid-fire stiff arms and churning thighs of Corey Dillon, the New England Patriots' star running back ran around, over and through the Baltimore Ravens' defense. In the Ravens' 24-3 loss Sunday to the defending Super Bowl champions at Gillette Stadium, the former Cincinnati Bengals' malcontent gained a game-high 123 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

Dillon is only the third runner to eclipse 100 yards this season against Baltimore's third-ranked defense, joining the Kansas City Chiefs' Priest Holmes (125 yards) and the New York Jets' Curtis Martin (119).

"Corey Dillon had a good day, and that's why he's a perennial 1,000 yard back," defensive end Tony Weaver said.

Dillon, whose career-best against Baltimore is 127 yards on Dec. 23, 2001, gained 83 yards after halftime.

His 1-yard touchdown run through the arms of linebacker Ray Lewis gave the Bengals a 17-3 lead three seconds into the third quarter. He then tacked on a 2-point conversion with a run up the gut of the Baltimore defense.

"Pure and simple, he got to the outside," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We knew he was going to do that and we still let him get out there. That's what kind of back he is."
Dillon eclipsed 1,000 yards for the season with his first run from scrimmage, a 5-yard gain in the first quarter.

In the third quarter, Dillon, who was acquired for a second-round draft pick in a trade after burning all bridges in Cincinnati, rushed for 53 yards. He punished cornerback Corey Fuller with a stiff-arm to the face, sending him flying to the ground.

"They pounded him and pounded him and he got the edge," defensive end Marques Douglas. "We never want to give up 100 yards to anyone, but he got us today."

For the season, Dillon has 1,121 yards on 236 carries with seven touchdowns and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

"We knew he wouldn't run inside at 56 and 52 [inside linebackers Ed Hartwell and Ray Lewis]," Suggs said. "We knew he was going to the outside and he still did his thing."

RUNNING GAME STALLS: Playing in place of injured starter Jamal Lewis, Chester Taylor rushed for 61 yards on 16 carries. His longest run was only eight yards.

"I felt like we were going to get some yards on the ground due to the circumstances," Taylor said. "We knew we had to execute better than that."

FUMBLING: Quarterback Kyle Boller lost his sixth fumble of the season on a hit by linebacker Tedy Bruschi, with the Patriots recovering for a touchdown. Boller leads the NFL in lost fumbles.

"We probably should have been under center than in shotgun," Boller said.

Another fumble was recovered by Boller after an errant shotgun snap by center Casey Rabach.

TOUGH CONDITIONS: It rained so hard that afterward New England coach Bill Belichick said his sweatshirt must have weighed 20 pounds.

The Ravens didn't seem to handle the conditions as adeptly as the Patriots.

"I didn't feel like I couldn't throw the ball," Boller said.

Baltimore didn't tackle nearly as well as New England, though.

"Under the conditions we were under, it was slippery and hard to grab guys, but that's no excuse," cornerback Gary Baxter said. "When you go to wrap up a guy, you have to make sure you wrap him up because it's hard to bring a guy down."

INJURY REPORT: The Ravens reported no injuries, although Lewis required stitches across the bridge of his nose.

It's the same area he cut in a Baltimore loss to Kansas City in October.

DEBUT: In running back Jamel White's first game with the Ravens after signing earlier this week, he carried the football twice for six yards.

"A lot of runs they did were similar to the ones we did in Tampa and Cleveland," White said. "The running part is not the hard part. It's picking up the passing stuff."

INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated quarterback Anthony Wright, punter Dave Zastudil (shoulder), running back Jamal Lewis (ankle), nickel back Deion Sanders (toe), offensive tackle Orlando Brown (knee), tight end Todd Heap (ankle), linebacker Cornell Brown (infection) and nose guard Aubrayo Franklin.

Heap called it an extremely frustrating situation as he missed his ninth game in a row.
"We'll see has been the same answer for nine weeks and we'll try to give it another go again this week," Heap said. "It's been pretty bad."

Brown, who missed practice a few weeks ago with a knee injury, said it was trainer Bill Tessendorf's decision to make him a late scratch.

Aaron Wilson writes for RavensInsider.Com and the Carroll County Times.

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