This post is sponsored by Sprint.
Despite the fact that the Cleveland Browns lost to the Baltimore Ravens by a final score of 24-17 on Sunday, one player certainly deserves a game ball for his efforts: running back Peyton Hillis.
Hillis did something that is a rarity in the NFL: he ran for more than 100 yards against the Ravens' defense. To be more specific, he ran for 144 yards and 1 touchdown on 22 carries. There are times when one big run can inflate a runner's yards-per-carry average. For the game, Hillis averaged 6.5 yards per carry thanks to a 48-yard burst toward the end of the third quarter that helped give the Browns a fourth-quarter lead. Even if you take away that run though, Hillis still managed to run for 4.57 yards per carry.
For a defense that is as physical and as intimidating as the Ravens are, Hillis turned the tables on them: he drove their defenders back several yards, he pushed forward for the extra yard or two to pickup a first down, he caught the ball out of the backfield and forced the defense to honor him on playaction fakes. The Ravens' defense couldn't and didn't trash talk because Hillis, quite simply, owned them.
Apparently, the Ravens' Terrell Suggs didn't even know who Hillis was prior to the game. What about after?
"Never heard of him before in my life [before the game]," Suggs said. "I know who he is now."
Prior to Hillis' 48-yard scamper, the longest run of his NFL career was 19 yards (he did have a reception two years ago that went for 47 yards). As much as I love Jerome Harrison, I don't see how the Browns could sit Hillis down after what he did as a receiver and a rusher against arguably one of the best run-stopping defenses in the NFL. Now it might be time to see Hillis be the featured back, with Harrison being the guy who comes in as a substitute.