On a day in which the Ravens' offense exploded with its highest output of 1998, the team learned it must forge ahead next week without its top scoring weapon since wide receiver/punt return man Jermaine Lewis has been ruled out of the Tennessee game with a high right ankle sprain.
Lewis suffered the injury six minutes into the second half, his misfortune coming at the expense of the Colts. Lewis hurt his ankle at the end of a 53-yard completion from quarterback Jim Harbaugh on a play that took the Ravens to the Indianapolis 1. Two plays later, they cut the Colts' lead to 24-21.
Lewis, who beat cornerback Rico Clark down the right sideline to get open, bobbled the pass before being hit from behind by Roosevelt Blackmon.
"If I hadn't bobbled it, I would've walked in [to the end zone]. I let that safety [Blackmon] come over, and he ended up on my leg," said Lewis, whose ankle was in a cast in the post-game locker room. "It hurts right now, but I've come back from an ankle before."
Lewis, who will miss his first game of the season, watched little-used veteran Floyd Turner play well in his absence. Turner's 22-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the fourth quarter cut the Colts' lead to 31-28.
Turner, who came into the game with only 10 catches this season, has been unhappy with his playing time. He responded with three receptions for 42 yards, including his dismantling of Colts cornerback Jason Belser on the touchdown. Turner sold Belser on a slant-in before breaking to the outside and hauling in Harbaugh's perfect pass in the right corner of the end zone.
"Today was the most active I've been. I'm just trying to make the best of the situation. I just do what I can do when they let me play," said Turner, who has 13 receptions, two for scores. "As far as turning [his season] around, I played a pretty decent game against the Colts today. I don't think I turned anything around. I don't see that."
First one is Roe delight
James Roe waited two years and 12 games for the moment.
The moment came with 6: 44 left in the first half, on a first-and-10 from the Indianapolis 15, with the Ravens trailing 17-3 and in desperate need of a sign of life.
Roe, who replaced the injured Michael Jackson (sprained left foot) and made his first start of the year, lined up wide left and promptly gave the Ravens a blast of oxygen.
Roe beat cornerback Tyrone Poole on a slant across the middle, where safety Tim Hauck had vacated. Roe caught Harbaugh's pass and scored the first touchdown of his career. Then he gave the ball to Ravens equipment manager Ed Carroll.
"The first one feels so good. It's something you dream of," Roe said. "I've had faith and I've kept working for it. I finally came through."
Roe tied for the team lead in receptions (four) and yards (53). After Lewis left the game, Roe also filled in as a punt returner. He returned one for 15 yards.
Scary last moments
Second-year safety Ralph Staten said all he wanted to do was ice the game by returning an interception in the final seconds for a touchdown. With a minute left and the Ravens leading 38-31, he should have covered up the ball, taken a fall and savored the victory.
Instead, after snaring a deflection off Colts running back Marshall Faulk around the Ravens' 20, Staten charged up the right sideline -- with the ball exposed -- for an 11-yard gain, which was interrupted when the ball was stripped from behind by Colts receiver Jerome Pathon.
Thankfully for the Ravens, cornerback DeRon Jenkins won out in a mad scramble for the loose ball along the sideline. The Ravens then ran out the clock and began to celebrate.
"I wasn't deliberatedly sticking it [the ball] out there," Staten said. "When you see a wide-open sideline, you try to go to the end zone and you hope a couple of guys will block for you. I was glad someone got it on our team."
Said Jenkins: "I saw the receiver following Ralph and my instincts were to follow Ralph. What happened is what we didn't want to happen. I just tried to stay alert."
No sharp corners
Ravens cornerbacks Rod Woodson and Duane Starks didn't look alert for much of the game, especially in the first half, when rookie quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Torrance Small damaged them at will.
Starks, coming off his best game since winning the starting job a month ago, turned in his worst performance. He was burned for touchdowns by Faulk in the first quarter and by Small in the second. After allowing a 15-yard completion to Small midway through the third quarter, Starks went to the bench. Jenkins finished at his old position.
Starks said he suffered a hyperextended right knee early in the game, on a 26-yard pass play to Marvin Harrison. He also suffered a contusion on his right elbow in the second half. He also admitted to some mental problems.
"I never felt into the game before it started. I didn't feel it. My mind was not really there," Starks said. "I blew so many assignments in this game. I've got to make sure that never happens again."