Dallas quarterback Vinny Testaverde relished the chance to stop the Cowboys' two-game losing streak, while doing it against one of his former teams.
But yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium, Testaverde looked much like the passer who wore out his welcome here during the Ravens' first two seasons.
Quarterback Kyle Boller took another step forward in his development by leading the Ravens to a 30-10 victory with a fine second half. But Testaverde's fingerprints were all over the proceedings.
When his disastrous day was done, Testaverde had thrown two second-half interceptions at a huge cost. After his first turnover, in which Testaverde failed to see safety Ed Reed converging to provide double coverage on Keyshawn Johnson, Boller connected with Kevin Johnson for a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Ravens a 14-3 lead.
Then, a little more than four minutes into the fourth quarter, Testaverde stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure and tried to dump off a short pass. Instead, safety Chad Williams picked it off and ran 44 yards untouched for a touchdown to make it 24-3.
With that, the ballgame was over, and so was the day for Testaverde, 41, who injured his right shoulder on the play - although the Cowboys did not provide details.
"I'm disappointed in the second half and the way we played and I played. Any time you play against a former team, you want to come out and play well," said Testaverde, who played in Baltimore in 1996 and 1997 and made his first Pro Bowl appearance here, but also had a penchant for making mistakes at crunch time.
Drew Henson, a 24-year-old rookie, replaced Testaverde and led Dallas to its touchdown.
It remains to be seen whether Testaverde, an 18-year veteran who has played for four franchises, will start against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving.
Before bowing out with his injury, he was lacking once again for a Dallas team that has dropped off the playoff radar with a thud. On a day in which the Cowboys had the ball for nearly 34 minutes and squandered good field position, Testaverde completed just nine of 22 passes for 109 yards, and ended with a rating of 18.9.
In his past three games, Testaverde has thrown two touchdowns passes and six interceptions and has lost a fumble.
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells blamed his entire offense and credited the Ravens' defense for Dallas' lousy showing, but the coach screamed at Testaverde after his first interception.
"I was just telling him I have to be able to trust you more than that," Parcells said. "It was only a two-man pattern. We had good field position, and it was an all-or-nothing, play-action [pass] after a good [kickoff] return. You can't indiscriminately throw. Second-and-10 is better than what happened."
Said Keyshawn Johnson: "I think Vinny was trying to throw the ball away. Ed Reed happened to be where he was trying to throw it."
Testaverde said he didn't see Reed that well.
"I wish I could have seen it clearer," he said. "I was hoping Keyshawn could get up and knock it down, but he didn't get much of a chance to do it. It was a bad decision on my part. It changed the momentum."