Lewis #039;predicts#039; incredible run into NFL record books

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 15, 2003

BALTIMORE - First, Jamal Lewis made the Cleveland Browns furious by saying he would run all over them.

Then, much to the Browns' dismay, he backed up the promise.

Lewis set an NFL record with 295 yards rushing Sunday and scored two touchdowns to lead the Baltimore Ravens to a 33-13 victory.

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Lewis had an 82-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage, added a 63-yarder for a score in the fourth quarter and broke the record with a 3-yard run with 6:55 left.

He shattered the single-game mark held by Corey Dillon of Cincinnati, who ran for 278 yards on Oct. 22, 2000, against Denver.

''The Browns know what kind of back I am, but I don't think they expected a day like this,'' Lewis said. ''But it came.''

On a phone call with Cleveland linebacker Andra Davis earlier in the week, Lewis predicted that he would break Dillon's record if given 30 carries - twice as many as one week earlier in a 34-15 loss to Pittsburgh.

''Andra told me he wanted me to get the ball 30 times. I told him if I get the ball 30 times it's going to be a career day,'' Lewis said. ''I'm not going to say I predicted it. It was lucky.''

Lewis averaged a whopping 9.8 yards on his 30 carries.

''The dude is Nostradamus,'' Cleveland safety Earl Little said. ''He went out there and did his thing, and we didn't do our job. This is the most disgusting feeling I've had in my whole life, but I'll bounce back.''

Little was angered at Lewis' boast - even if the running back did back it up.

''You can't disrespect guys like that,'' Little said.

Lewis would have had a third score and surpassed 300 yards if not for a holding penalty on Marcus Robinson during a 60-yard run in the first half.

''On a day like today, I can't regret anything,'' he said. ''It was beautiful.''

Lewis, who missed the entire 2001 season because of a torn knee ligament, had 100 yards by his second carry Sunday and was at 180 yards by halftime.

''I was going in at halftime when (Ravens tackle) Jonathan Ogden said, 'Let's go get it. We can get 300 yards,''' Lewis said.

Said Ogden: ''I figured if he broke the record we'd get the win.''

The Ravens (1-1) spoke all week about the importance of using Lewis more, especially because the tailback shredded Cleveland for 187 yards in a game last October.

The Browns knew he was coming, but were powerless against him.

''I couldn't care less about the record,'' Davis said. ''If we would have won the game, he could have had 1,000.''

After the Browns (0-2) cut a 13-point deficit to 16-13, Lewis' 63-yard TD run gave Baltimore a 10-point cushion with 14:49 remaining.

''They didn't get quiet until the end of the fourth quarter,'' Lewis said of the Browns. ''Andra told me, 'I can't say anything else.' He was congratulating me as we was playing. He showed me much respect.''

Matt Stover kicked a field goal with 1:58 left for Baltimore and Ed Reed returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown on the final play.

Lewis' heroics overshadowed a stout performance by the Baltimore defense, which limited Cleveland to one first down in the first half while taking a 16-3 lead.

Lewis also helped the Ravens overcome another poor showing by rookie quarterback Kyle Boller, who hurt his knee and was replaced by Chris Redman in the third quarter. Boller went 7-for-17 for 78 yards and an interception.

Baltimore's 343 yards rushing was a franchise record, and the most the Browns have ever allowed.

''This could be a wake-up call,'' Cleveland tackle Gerald Warren said. ''The defense has to stay strong, stick together and not let this move us back. We have to block it out and not focus on this game.''