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Ravens Fire Past Jets 33-0


In practice or preseason or during the real thing, Jermaine Lewis wants to be an impact player. He couldn't imagine having a bigger, quicker impact than he managed Saturday night.

Lewis

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  • touched the ball five times, which was enough to produce 14 points and spark the Baltimore Ravens to a 33-0 rout of the New York Jets in an NFL exhibition game.

    Lewis had a 97-yard runback of a punt and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass as the Ravens won their second straight preseason game.

    "I feel more confident," said the third-year receiver and kick returner, who could be on the verge of a breakthrough season. "Last year, I had to prove what I could do. I don't feel I really have to prove it like last year."

    Lewis led the NFL with a 15.6-yard punt return average in 1997. He broke two for TDs.

    He set the tone against New York with his spectacular return, retreating to his 3 to catch Nick Gallery's kick. He quickly burst through the Jets' coverage and was free before he reached the Baltimore 40.

    "I knew I was back there, but not the 3," he said. "It was a low punt and I knew I could get it upfield."

    After Matt Stover kicked a 51-yard field goal that bounced off the crossbar and through, Lewis made it 17-0. He beat Pro Bowl cornerback Aaron Glenn to the left corner and caught Jim Harbaugh's floating pass just before stepping out of the end zone. Lewis also had a 20-yard third-down catch on the 72-yard drive.

    "It was a great pass, right into the corner," Lewis said. "I knew I was close to the sideline, so I tried to drag my feet to make sure I was in there."

    He was, and the Jets never were in the game after that. They lost for th first time in the preseason under coach Bill Parcells after five wins over two years, and sustained their worst exhibition defeat in 22 years. Baltimore out-gained them 384-148, had three interceptions and five sacks, and controlled the ball for 35½ minutes.

    "We are immature," Parcells said. "This should put us back in reality. I didn't expect all three phases to play bad. I am concerned about everything that happened."

    Stover connected from 32 yards with four seconds left in the first half, and the Ravens got going again early in the third quarter.

    On the first play after a punt, tight end A.J. Ofodile beat rookie Scott Frost over the middle, then bounced off an attempted tackle by another rookie, Kevin Williams. The 39-yard scoring play made it 27-0, and Stover made a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter. Rookie Nelson Garner finished the scoring with a 37-yard field goal.

    It was New York's worst exhibition loss since Sept. 4, 1976, a 41-6 romp by Pittsburgh.

    "We didn't need that kind of wakeup call," Glenn said.

    The Jets did get a good look at new running back Curtis Martin, the high-priced free agent who missed the exhibition opener with a sore hamstring. He carried 12 times for 40 yards, all in the first half. He also was stopped short on a fourth-and-inches at the Ravens 27.

    But not much else looked good for New York, while Baltimore looked like a Super Bowl contender. Lewis was particularly dominant, and his backup, Floyd Turner, set up a field goal with a reaching 26-yard reception.

    When the Ravens set out to run, they got a strong contribution from Errict Rhett, who was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in the off-season. Rhett, currently a backup to Jay Graham, gained 73 yards. Third-stringer Priest Holmes added 57 yards late in the game.

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