Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore: The Jamal and Ray Lewis Teams
When the Browns came back as a team in 1999, after the original team became the Ravens, the first games between the two squads were even more difficult to watch because, as Browns fans and a city, you couldn’t help but say to yourself, “that was our team”.
The first years of the matchup were usually about the Ravens’ tenacious defense, led by linebacker Ray Lewis and their running game, led by Jamal Lewis. The Browns didn’t beat the Ravens in the first two years. In that 2000 season, Baltimore ended up winning the Super Bowl.
Oh, the agony for the Browns faithful. That was a terrible time to be a Cleveland fan. Modell lifting the Lombardi Trophy drove some fans crazy.
The Browns finally started to win a few games over the next few years. In 2002, when the Browns made a run to the playoffs, Cleveland beat the Ravens 14-13 behind the arm of former quarterback Tim Couch.
The following 2003 season it reverted back to Raven domination as it was their running back Jamal Lewis who stole the show as he went for 500 yards rushing in two games against the Browns. The first was a 295-yard performance where he averaged nearly 10 yards a carry and scored twice. When the two teams went at it again in December, Lewis exploded again for 205 yards and two more scores.
Baltimore was always a run-first team, even back then and they won a Super Bowl with a very mediocre, game-manager quarterback named Trent Dilfer. Sound familiar Browns fans? Can the Browns get to a Super Bowl with a solid run game and a game manager like Mayfield? You bet.
Baltimore also had the best defense around and that defense helped win them the Super Bowl in 2000. Ray Lewis, the linebacker always seemed to play his best too when he went up against the Browns.
In his Hall of Fame career of 17 years, he was a menace to our teams. He finished his career with a whopping 139 solo tackles and seven sacks, both categories he had the most of against any other team he faced in the NFL. He had his most tackles for losses against Cleveland too with 16.
Lewis even had four interceptions and took one back for a pick-six in his games against the good guys. To top that off he recovered four fumbles. Talk about a pain in the side, Lewis was that to Cleveland. I’m sure Tim Couch and the rest of the Browns offensive players are still having nightmares today.