C. Taylor's cutback slices game open

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The backup, Chester Taylor, gave the starter, Jamal Lewis, advice on how to conquer the Jacksonville Jaguars' defense before he decided to accomplish the task himself.

"He was telling me the whole time, 'Press it, then cut it back,'" Lewis said. "Then he got in there and did it and got in the end zone. That is what we needed."

Taylor's second rush of yesterday's 24-17 win over the Jaguars at M&T; Bank Stadium proved to be the game's biggest, a fourth-quarter, 29-yard scamper over left end that gave the Ravens a two-touchdown lead with less than eight minutes left.

The run showcased what Taylor brings to the Ravens -- good vision (he cut back after the Jaguars were jammed to the inside), patience (he waited for receiver Travis Taylor to finish the springing block on the cornerback) and speed (he outran the safeties to the end zone).

"I saw Travis Taylor out there blocking," Chester Taylor said. "He did a great job blocking the cornerback. I just went around him and ran to the end zone.

"Coach [Matt] Simon always said I've got to give him quality minutes. So that's what I try to do when I go in the game."

Chester Taylor's touchdown -- which was the second-longest run of his career -- helped make up for the yards usually gained by Lewis, who was held to just 68, his lowest total of the season.

"It was huge, offsetting the touchdown we gave up offensively," Ravens coach Brian Billick said of a Ravens fumble returned by Jacksonville for a touchdown.

End of J. Lewis' run

Lewis' string of six straight 100-yard games ended.

The good news for Lewis is that he went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and that his hurting shoulder again held up, though he had to miss a couple of plays after landing wrong in the fourth quarter.

"I came down on my hurt shoulder and had to come out," Lewis said. "I came out and let it settle down a bit. I'm fine now."

R. Lewis' squeeze play

The loudest cheer of the day was followed immediately by near silence.

After Ray Lewis' game-clinching interception at the Ravens' 9 with less than a minute left, Lewis stayed on the ground in pain for a few seconds before heading to the sideline and celebrating with his teammates.

Lewis got the wind knocked out of him.

"When you grab the ball so hard to make sure the referee doesn't overturn it, you kind of squeeze it to your chest and the ground doesn't give," said Lewis, who still had a red mark on his ribs. "I forgot that."

Billick's deep thought

Billick accepted responsibility for the strangest call of the afternoon.

Rather than give Jamal Lewis three straight chances to gain 10 yards when the Ravens took possession with just over three minutes left, he ran Lewis on first down for a yard, then had Kyle Boller throw a pass to tight end Todd Heap 40 yards downfield.

Heap had one-on-one coverage, but the pass was overthrown. The incompletion stopped the clock for Jacksonville, which had only one timeout left.

"That was my call," Billick said. "I wanted to make something happen. They had been moving the ball well; we hadn't. I wanted to take one shot to try to put the game away, and it didn't turn out."

Lewis ran for 2 yards on third down, and the Ravens were forced to punt with two minutes left.

Boller's fumble revisited

Boller chalked up his third-quarter fumble, on what should have been a simple handoff to Lewis, to one of those bizarre things that happens during a game.

"It was really weird how it happened," Boller said. "The ball was past [fullback] Alan [Ricard], and the elbow in the back of his run knocked it out of my hand. So there really wasn't anything I could do about that."

The ball kicked around for a few seconds before Jaguars linebacker Akin Ayodele recovered and returned it 15 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

Knight returns with bang

Sidelined with injuries for much of the season, Ravens cornerback Tom Knight made his return in the team's nickel package yesterday and made his presence known.

Early in the fourth quarter, Peter Boulware sacked Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich, forcing the rookie to fumble. Knight scooped the ball up at the Jacksonville 27. The recovery set up Chester Taylor's 29-yard touchdown run, which turned out to be the winning score.

"What happens is you see the guys around you making plays and you just feed off it," said Knight, who acknowledged he was a little rusty after missing three games with leg injuries. "Everybody starts getting hungry for turnovers."

Scott gets a shot

Normally known for his work on special teams, Ravens linebacker Bart Scott was needed in the Ravens' dime packages when safety Chad Williams went down with a lower back strain.

Scott had one tackle on defense and two on special teams.

"You never want to be the guy that lets your teammates down," said Scott, who said that being on the scout team during the week in practice helps him get ready to fill in for different players if needed. "That's why you prepare yourself all week."

Kick backs

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio did not regret kicker Seth Marler's unsuccessful attempts at an onside kick after Jacksonville had scored a touchdown to move to within 24-17.

Marler twice had to re-kick after failing to wait for the official's whistle, and his third attempt, as instructed, went straight down the field to returner Lamont Brightful.

"First we kicked it and it bounced off Todd Heap's chest, and we would have had a shot. Then we decided to go the other way and let it be a race between Rashean [Mathis] and Chris [McAlister]," Del Rio said. "The third one, we decided to go down there and play field position. We ran the gamut, had a bunch of options we took a look at. In the end, we had to get the ball back and we did."

The Jaguars regained possession with 1:49 to play, a drive that ended with Ray Lewis' win-clinching interception.

So close?

Referring to Jacksonville's 134 yards rushing, the highest total the Ravens have allowed this season, Jaguars running back Fred Taylor said: "We had some success early," but he lamented the team's 29 total yards on the ground in the second half.

"They've got a great defense," Taylor said. "It's kind of hard to find words after losing so many games so close by doing so many small things wrong."

End zone

Travis Taylor surpassed the 150-reception mark for his career after making three catches for 64 yards. ... Anthony Wright, Corey Fuller (hamstring/groin), Ovie Mughelli, Aubrayo Franklin, Damion Cook, Ron Johnson, Dedric Ward and Riddick Parker were the Ravens' inactive players.

Sun staff writers Jeff Zrebiec and Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

Next for Ravens

Matchup:St. Louis Rams (5-3) vs. Ravens (5-3)

Site:Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis

When:Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

TV/Radio:Ch. 24, ESPN/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (102.7 FM)

Line:Rams by 7

Series:Tied 1-1.

Last meeting:Rams won, 27-10, on Sept. 12, 1999, in St. Louis

Running along

With 1,045 rushing yards this season, Jamal Lewis has become the 14th player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 in his first three active seasons (he sat out the 2001 season with a knee injury):

Player, Team....Seasons

J. Lewis, Ravens....2000, 2002-03

Corey Dillon, Cin. ....1997-99

Eddie George, Hou./Ten. ....1996-98

Curtis Martin, N. Eng. ....1995-97

Terrell Davis, Den. ....1995-97

Barry Sanders, Det. ....1989-91

Eric Dickerson, L.A. Rams ....1983-85

Billy Sims, Det. ....1980-82

Joe Cribbs, Buf. ....1980-82

Ottis Anderson, St. L. ....1979-81

William Andrews, Atl. ....1979-81

Earl Campbell, Hou. ....1978-80

Tony Dorsett, Dal. ....1977-79

John Brockington, G.B. ....1971-73

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