In garbage time, Boulware trashes shoulder again; It pops out on last series by Browns; Rhett, Starks step up; Holmes returns

THE BALTIMORE SUN

CLEVELAND -- Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware was smiling in the post-game locker room, which was quite a contrast from the misery he portrayed on the sideline in the closing minutes of the team's 41-9 rout over the Cleveland Browns yesterday.

Boulware spent several minutes writhing on his back in pain, while the team's medical staff worked to correct a recurring problem -- realigning the separated shoulder that has dogged Boulware for more than a year.

"It pops out almost every game," said Boulware, referring to the right shoulder he protects each week by wearing a special harness, which basically reduces him to a one-armed tackler.

Boulware's shoulder separated again on the Browns' final series late in the fourth quarter, and he wasn't even hit on the play. Boulware said he tried to brace his fall with his right arm. He hit the ground. Boom. Instant, excruciating pain.

"I tried to catch myself and it popped. I usually can pop it back in myself, but this time I couldn't do it," he said. "And when [the medical staff] tried to put in back in, it hurt like crazy."

When asked why he was still in the game at that point, with the Ravens leading by 32 points, Boulware said he and end Michael McCrary were the only starters still on the field. And when McCrary came off the field after the previous play, Boulware decided to stay in the game.

"I don't think I've ever been in a game like this, where we just blew somebody out," said Boulware, who said he "definitely" would play next week in Jacksonville.

Rhett takes off

Running back Errict Rhett topped the 100-yard rushing barrier for the first time since Oct. 3 in Atlanta, and he did it by breaking off a 52-yard touchdown run with 2: 50 left in the third quarter.

That marked the longest run from scrimmage in Rhett's six-year career.

On the play, Rhett, who finished with 117 yards on 17 carries, burst up the middle and into daylight. "I'm a cutback runner, they were looking for the cutback, and they just opened the gate," Rhett said of the lack of Cleveland linebackers and defensive backs. "It was perfect."

Rhett finished his run by looking back over his left shoulder at about the Browns' 15, where cornerback Corey Fuller was closing on him. Rhett carried Fuller across the goal line.

"I was just playing around. I wanted to look back and make sure nobody could creep up behind me and knock the ball out," Rhett said. "I wasn't worried about him catching me."

Rhett is one of the team's most vocal players, although he admits he met his match yesterday in Fuller. "[Fuller] talked for the entire game. He's always been a nasty trash talker. I was starting to throw the football at him five or six times, but I kept my composure," Rhett said.

Holmes back in running

Lost in Rhett's effort was the return of Priest Holmes.

Holmes, who was out three games with a sprained knee and had not played since the second game vs. Pittsburgh, replaced Rhett in the fourth quarter yesterday. He rushed 10 times for 40 yards.

"Fresh legs always feel different, compared to the guys who have been out there for the last six or seven games," Holmes said. "That was a springboard for me to get comfortable. I could have run all day."

Words from Zeus

Browns right offensive tackle Orlando Brown, known as one of the game's more high-strung players, got through yesterday's action without any controversy.

"He played hard. Nothing cheap. You can't ask anything more than that," said Ravens defensive end Rob Burnett, who was a teammate of Brown's for five years before Brown left the Ravens to sign with Cleveland last February.

Brown almost cost the Browns their lone victory eight days ago in New Orleans. On the game's winning play, a Hail Mary pass from Tim Couch to Kevin Johnson, Brown wrestled defensive end Jared Tomich to the ground, then elbowed him in the back.

No flag was thrown on the play, but the NFL tossed a $5,000 fine at Brown after reviewing the play.

Brown had little to say to Baltimore writers -- "I ain't talking to you" -- but when those from Cleveland started asking questions, he was back talking again.

It wasn't long before he was complaining about the criticism that he and guard Wally Williams got last year for the poor play of the Ravens' offensive line. Both left the team in free agency.

Brown stressed the Ravens aren't much different without them.

"They [Ravens] ain't that great. They're a good team. They were saying me and Wally were the reason why [they were losing]. I don't think we're the reason why. They're still in the same boat. They're still losing."

Starks steps up

Cornerback Duane Starks continues to make a case for getting back into the starting lineup. Starks, who was demoted to nickel back a month ago, picked off a Couch end-zone pass two minutes into the second quarter to preserve a 7-3 Ravens lead.

It's hard to call that moment a turning point in a 41-9 blowout, but Starks, who leaped in front of Darrin Chiaverini to intercept Couch, at least took some confidence away from an offense that had started to move the ball.

"When they thought they had something going, we took it away from them," said Starks.

"I just wasn't making enough big plays in the first few games. Now, I'm just trying to put things back together to where I can get back on the field [as a starter]."

New stadium loses something

The new Cleveland stadium is cleaner and brighter and is certainly loud. But the new place just doesn't feel like the old place. At least that's what Ravens defensive tackle Larry Webster, formerly of the Browns, thinks.

Webster hinted that the fans had more of an upper-crust look and sound to them.

"The NFL is more about big business now," Webster said. "It's hard for the lower class and the middle class to afford a seat."

Blitz aided Woodson TD

Backup quarterback Ty Detmer said he tried to beat the blitz on the pass Rod Woodson picked off and ran back 66 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"It was fourth-and-10," Detmer said. "They ran a blitz. I knew I had to hit a hot receiver who runs a 3-yard out. If he catches it, more than likely he may not get the first down. I try to wait as long as I could. When I realized there wasn't much else that was going to be there and the blitz was coming in on me, you try to throw it and give a guy a chance to make a play.

"Fourth down, you don't hold it and take a sack so I just kind of cut it loose and Woodson made a good play. He's a smart player."

Et cetera

Right tackle Harry Swayne suffered a foot injury near the end of the game and will have follow-up X-rays today. The Ravens' game in Cleveland was the first of a three-game road swing. Last year, six teams had three-game road swings and went 3-15. Buffalo, the only team to play a three-game road swing so far this year, went 2-1. The Ravens drew only four penalties yesterday, including none in the first half. They drew an illegal substitution flag in the fourth quarter when at least a half-dozen players tried to change places with replacements who charged in from the sideline as the Browns snapped the ball.

1st time a charm

The Ravens opened yesterday by going 73 yards in 12 plays and scoring a touchdown, using 6 minutes, 47 seconds. That marked the first time this season they had scored on their opening drive. How they'd started their first seven games:

Opp. Plays Yds. Time Res.

St.L. 3 -8 1: 04 Punt

Pitt. 3 3 1: 02 Int

Clev. 3 -4 1: 11 Punt

Atl. 10 36 5: 58 Punt

Tenn. 5 16 1: 44 Punt

K.C. 5 11 2: 07 Punt

Buff. 6 23 2: 57 Punt

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