Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis didn’t need to be on the cover of a video game to make an impression with Ravens fans.
Many of them remember his 144-yard, one-touchdown outburst against the Ravens on Sept. 26, 2010 that resulted in a too-close-for-comfort 24-17 win for the Ravens.
But at least one player said the defense has buried the memory of that performance.
“Like I said, we put that behind us,” defensive end Cory Redding said. “That was the first time we played them last season. It was early in the game, early in the year. We played them later on in the year, and we stopped him. And we put that behind us. Of course, you will go back and look at those games and see what hurt us – this, that and the other – just to get refreshed about how he runs and the blocking schemes, all that kind of stuff. But for the most part, this is a new day, man, and a new era. [He is] the same guy, same team, and you just go out there and do it one more time.”
In his encore performance last season, Hillis did not enjoy a similar outing against the Ravens, gaining just 35 yards and zero touchdowns on 12 attempts.
This year, Hillis has revived talk of a “Madden curse” after being voted to the cover of the popular video game. Strep throat and an injured hamstring have limited him to 79 carries for 276 yards and two scores.
But Redding said he expects an energized opponent this Sunday when the Ravens visit Cleveland.
“Peyton Hillis is a professional football player,” Redding said. “Regardless of how many weeks he’s been out, he still is a paid, professional football player. So [he has] a lot of pride, a lot of heart. A lot of fight is going to come out of that man. So whenever he straps on the pads, it’s going to be war. He knows it, we know, so the best thing to do is go out there with the mindset of stopping it. We stopped him before and we can do it again.”
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs vowed that the defense would be ready for Hillis.
“He is a really aggressive runner,” Suggs said. “Everybody knows he is Peyton Hillis. He has the Madden cover. He likes to have good games against good defenses. I expect for the juggernaut to be up in there and try to run down some walls.”