RB Destroyed The Cleveland Browns
This Sunday, the Ravens head to Cleveland where they’re 12-5 all-time.
In total, Baltimore has played Cleveland 34 times since 1996, and has won 25 of those games.
To say the Ravens usually dominate the Browns is an understatement. One player that really got that trend started was Jamal Lewis.
In 2003, two years after he had surgery to repair a torn left ACL, Lewis had the best year of his career. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time and was named the best running back in football (First-Team All-Pro). Lewis also rushed for 2,066 yards that season, which to this day remains the 3rd-best single-season performance of all-time.
Therefore, it was no surprise that Lewis added an AP Offensive Player of the Year award to his trophy case.
In 2002, Lewis played the Browns twice and ran 47 times for 287 yards. At 6.1 yards per carry against the Browns that year, he didn’t need to prove anything in 2003. But he did just that.
In his two games against the Browns in 2003, Lewis carried the ball 52 times for a total of 500 yards and scored four touchdowns. That per carry average comes to 9.6 yards.
To put that into context, the all-time leader in rushing yards per attempt in a single season is Michael Vick with 8.4 (2006). Lewis averaged 1.2 yards more against the Browns in 2003. In his six games against the Browns since that incredible season, Lewis rushed for 481 yards.
Throughout his 10-year NFL career, Lewis rushed for 10, 607 yards. That ranks 24th all-time.
Think about that. From Day 1, he had to beat out Priest Holmes and battle Shannon Sharpe for touches. When Lewis did get the ball, he routinely faced 8-man boxes. People knew what the Ravens were going to try to do on offense, but Lewis made them pay anyway.
In 2003 this was especially true.
Everyone knew who would get the ball when the Ravens were on offense. No matter the defense, weather conditions, or playoff stakes, Lewis took the challenge head on and was flat out dominant.
In Week 2 of the 2003 season, the Ravens hosted the Browns. Despite 10 carries of one yard or less in that game, Lewis still rushed for 295 yards. However, he would’ve cracked the 300-yard mark if not for a ticky-tacky holding call against Marcus Robinson on the tail end of a would-be 60-yard TD gallop that erased another 12 yards rushing.
That year, the Ravens went 10-6 and won the AFC North championship. They lost to the Titans, 20-17, in a home playoff game.
What I’ll remember most, though, about that season was Jamal Lewis running rampant over the Cleveland Browns.
His dominance in those two games is something I won’t soon forget.