Sunday afternoon against the Browns, Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis virtually played Babe Ruth.
The former University of Tennessee star called his shot during the week in a telephone call with Cleveland Browns linebacker Andra Davis, a Florida product who played against Lewis in the Southeastern Conference.
Then Lewis went out and hit a grand slam, rushing for 295 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns to break the NFL single-game rushing record in a 33-13 victory over the Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Lewis surpassed the mark of 278 yards set by Cincinnati’s Corey Dillon against Denver on Oct. 22, 2000.
Lewis scored on an 82-yard burst up the middle on his first carry and added a 63-yard dash on his 23rd attempt in the fourth period. He gained 180 yards on 16 carries in the first half. He missed 300 yards when a holding penalty in the second quarter nullified a 60-yard score and took 12 yards from his total.
After finishing eighth in the league in rushing last season, Lewis averaged 9.8 yards per carry against the Browns and helped the Ravens rush for the third-most yards by an opponent in Browns history. Their 343 net yards was bested only by Pittsburgh’s 361 on Oct. 7, 1979 and the Steelers’ 354 on Oct. 10, 1964.
On Friday, Browns safety Earl Little said the story was circulating that Lewis had predicted he would break the league record.
—Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal “Lewis’ 295 yards sets single-game rushing record as Ravens romp”