Ravens get pushed around

Holmes rushes for 125, two TDs as K.C. offense dominates Ravens `D'

Chiefs rack up 398 total yards

K.C. controls the clock for first win

big plays by Ravens keep it close

Chiefs 27, Ravens 24

October 05, 2004|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Like their leader Ray Lewis, the Ravens were pushed around, punched and left bloodied.

The Ravens' 27-24 loss to the previously winless Kansas City Chiefs last night at M&T Bank Stadium delivered a nationwide statement that the defending AFC North champions were far from prime-time players.

In the franchise's first loss on Monday night in four appearances, the Ravens were dominated in total yards (398-207) and time of possession (39:43 to 20:17). The onslaught was an in-your-face punishment that left Lewis with a bloody nose.

"It came down to they were more physical than us in just about every facet of the game," said Ravens coach Brian Billick. "And that's unique for us. We're not going to win too many games when we're not playing our physical game."

Kansas City running back Priest Holmes ran for 125 yards - the first back to crack 100 yards in nine games against the Ravens - and paced the Chiefs on their marathon drives. The Ravens surrendered scoring drives of 10, nine, 14, 12 and 13 plays as they were continually shoved off the ball by a manhandling Kansas City offensive line.

Holmes' 1-yard dive - following a Will Shields block on Ray Lewis - staked the Chiefs to a 27-17 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.

After a 1-yard touchdown by Jamal Lewis cut the Ravens' deficit to 27-24 midway through the final quarter, the Ravens had two more tries to come back in the last six minutes but failed to move beyond their 40-yard line.

The Ravens' last hope - a long pass from Kyle Boller to Kevin Johnson on fourth down - tipped off Johnson's hands and out of his grasp.

The Ravens kept the game close with trickery (a 57-yard touchdown pass to Randy Hymes off a flea flicker), a big special teams play (a 58-yard punt return by B.J. Sams for a score) and a fourth-quarter drive marked by two defensive penalties inside the 8-yard line.

Asked about Sams, Billick said, "He kept it a lot closer than probably the play really deserved in a 27-24 loss.:

One of the reasons the Ravens lacked any punch was their inability to establish the run.

Against the NFL's fourth-worst rush defense, running back Jamal Lewis managed just 73 yards on 15 carries. His longest run was his first of the game.

Lewis, who is expected to enter a guilty plea Thursday to avoid a federal drug trial, said his pedestrian numbers were more a result of play calling than being distracted.

"We didn't take advantage of their weakness, which is to pound the ball and run it down their throat," Lewis said. "We didn't do that."

The Ravens (2-2), whose seven-game home winning streak ended, fell a game behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

What was more disheartening for the Ravens was how they stumbled in their only Monday Night Football appearance of the season. Their usually stout defense allowed Kansas City to convert on eight of 16 third downs and allowed the Chiefs to cross midfield on seven of 11 drives.

"We need to stay focused," Ray Lewis said. "Not every game is going to be a shutout. We will have days like this, but we need to move on."

Most of the talk entering the game surrounded Jamal Lewis and his legal situation. On the game's first play from scrimmage, Lewis broke his most impressive run of the game, charging 18 yards to midfield.

Six plays later, Boller's 6-yard pass to tight end Terry Jones was short of a first down but got the Ravens within field goal range. Matt Stover's 50-yard kick, his longest in two years, gave a 3-0 lead to the Ravens, who scored on their opening drive for the third straight game.

Kansas City's first series was mistake-filled from beginning to end for the Ravens.

Kickoff specialist Wade Richey hit the ball out of bounds to set the Chiefs up at their 40-yard line. After Kansas City quickly moved into the red zone on a 17-yard pass to tight end Jason Dunn and a 19-yarder to receiver Johnnie Morton, an uncovered Dunn slipped past safety Will Demps and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass.

It was the first points allowed by the Ravens in the first quarter this season and the first touchdown in 16 possessions allowed by their defense.

The Ravens dug themselves a 10-3 hole by the second Kansas City series, as they provided the Chiefs with more help. Two defensive penalties - pass interference on Chris McAlister and unnecessary roughness on Terrell Suggs - accounted for 24 of the 53 yards on the Chiefs' scoring drive, which was capped late in the first quarter by Lawrence Tynes' 42-yard field goal.

The Ravens' offense had fallen into a lull with back-to-back series without a first down before resorting to some trickery.

Jamal Lewis took a pitch right, drawing the entire defense to his side, and then lateraled it back to Boller, who tossed it 60 yards in the air to a wide-open Hymes. After getting tripped up inside the 10-yard line, Hymes tumbled into the end zone to complete the 57-yard play. The longest pass of the Ravens' season tied the game at 10 early in the second quarter.

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