Taking command

RAVENS REPORT

Quick-starting Ravens tame Bengals for 2-game North lead

Ravens 26 Bengals 20

Ravens Gameday

November 06, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY

How the game was won

The Ravens (6-2) ambushed the Bengals with two touchdowns in the first 4:32 of the game. Jamal Lewis ran for a 2-yard touchdown after the Ravens recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, and Ed Reed ran 25 yards for a score after Samari Rolle picked off Carson Palmer and handed the ball to Reed during his return.

Playing keep-away

The Ravens' offense played a big part in containing Cincinnati's big-play attack. The Ravens dominated the time of possession (37:24 to 22:36), putting together three scoring drives of five minutes or longer.

Mixed results

On the Bengals' final three passes, the Ravens' secondary sealed the victory by knocking down two and intercepting the final one. But big plays remain a problem, as the Ravens allowed three passes of 20 yards or longer and got flagged for a 34-yard pass interference penalty.

Still perfect

Kicker Matt Stover hit four field-goal attempts, extending his consecutive streak to 34. But he had his biggest scare of the season in the third quarter, when his 36-yarder hit high off the left upright and still fell over the crossbar.

Down but not out

The Ravens had another scare early in the fourth quarter, when two former NFL Defensive Players of the Year were injured and on the ground - linebacker Ray Lewis and Reed - after an apparent fumble by Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry (it was later ruled that Henry was down before he lost the ball). After a few minutes, Lewis and Reed returned to their feet and were back in the game.

Division outlook

In equaling their win total from last season (six), the Ravens extended their AFC North lead to two games over the Bengals and four games over the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

They said it

"I thought the odds were better. They were higher that they could go 80 yards for a touchdown ... with the time given than the possibility of a blocked field goal. That makes you take time off the clock, and this time it worked."

- Brian Billick, explaining why he chose to throw the ball on fourth down with 25 seconds remaining instead of attempting a game-clinching, 45-yard field goal.

Coming attraction

The Ravens will try to avoid being upset by the Tennessee Titans for a second straight season when they travel to Nashville on Sunday. Last season, a young Titans team upended the Ravens, 25-10.

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