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Bengals capitalize on Ravens' rookie mistakes

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The clock hadn't yet reached zero when Ravens
linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware ran to the opposing
sideline, right hands outstretched.

Question on the Ravens: Surely, Billick can't still believe Boller is his best option at QB?
Billick may publicly state that Boller is his guy no matter what. But he must question whether they have a better option on the bench. For the Ravens to win, they need at least 10 good passes per game and Boller isn't giving them to them.

Question on the Bengals: How impressive a win was this today?
This was an extremely impressive win for the Bengals. We've talked about teams making progress in their play without the results showing up in the standings. But the Bengals have been able to improve and win. Coach Marvin Lewis has done a heckuva job with this team.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

They knew how much this one meant to their close friend.

The Cincinnati Bengals turned Kyle Boller's three turnovers into
a 24-point swing, then held on for a 34-26 victory Sunday that was
indescribably sweet for their fired-up rookie coach Marvin Lewis.

In a measuring-up game, his Bengals (2-4) showed they belong.

"He wanted it," said Chad Johnson, who had five catches for
130 yards. "He wouldn't say so, but he did. I wanted to win for
him more than anybody. He wanted it bad."

He got it with a solid plan -- make Boller sweat, then make the
Ravens pay.

Jon Kitna threw touchdown passes of 45 and 82 yards -- the latter
off a fortuitous deflection -- as the Bengals went ahead 24-7 during
Boller's disastrous first half.

After a couple of slop-time touchdowns pulled the Ravens close,
the Bengals ran out the clock and their coach got a series of hugs.
Marvin Lewis was defensive coordinator on the 2000 Ravens team that
won a Super Bowl and is the standard for everything he's done in
Cincinnati.

During the week, Lewis conceded that he practically got tears in
his eyes as he watched game film of Baltimore's defense.

Abandoning his in-control demeanor, Lewis screamed from the
sideline Sunday and went onto the field to exhort his players
during timeouts -- a sign of how much this one meant, though he
wouldn't admit it.

"I've got a job to do, they've got a job to do," Lewis said,
glossing over his feelings. "I love them all, but we're competing
against them."

The Ravens made no attempt to hide their disgust with how they
played. They had 13 penalties for 113 yards and looked nothing like
a first-place team.

Though 3-3, they're still atop the AFC North, the only division
without a winning record.

"It's not the end of the world, but it's a wake-up call for
us," said safety Ed Reed, whose misplay turned into an 82-yard
touchdown pass. "We made a lot of mistakes, and they capitalized
on them."

Boller's touchdown pass to Travis Taylor put the Ravens ahead
early, but his first fumble changed everything.

Matt Schobel beat linebacker Adalius Thomas down the middle for
a 45-yard touchdown catch, the longest by a Bengals tight end in
nine years. Boller then fumbled again on a sack at the Ravens' 15,
setting up Corey Dillon's 2-yard scoring run less than three
minutes later.

Then, the Ravens' defense joined Boller in the self-destruction.

Kitna severely underthrew a long pass to Johnson, who had three
defenders around him. Reed perfectly played the ball, but it
slipped through his hands and deflected off his right shoulder --
directly to Johnson, who caught it waist-high and kept going for an
82-yard touchdown reception, the Bengals' longest in eight years.

"The bounces have been going to the other teams this year,"
Kitna said. "Sometimes, it's out of your control. Obviously, today
was one of those days, because Reed made an unbelievable play."

Kitna's 21-yard touchdown pass to Peter Warrick on the first
play of the fourth quarter put the Bengals up 34-10 and capped one
of his best days -- 16-of-21 for 274 yards without an interception
or fumble.

Boller later threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Taylor --
cornerback Jeff Burris went for the ball and missed -- and Lewis ran
2 yards for a touchdown that cut it to 34-26 with 1:16 to go. The
onside kick deflected off Warrick and went out of bounds, and the
Bengals ran out the clock.

Boller completed 15 of 27 for 302 yards -- most of them after the
game was out of reach. He also got a mild sprain in his left
shoulder when Justin Smith tackled him as he threw a pass away on
the final drive, but stayed in.

"One thing I did learn today: It's never over 'til it's over,"
Boller said. "But you can't put yourself in the kind of situation
we put ourselves in."

Game notes
Ravens RB Jamal Lewis had 101 yards, his fifth straight
triple-digit rushing game. ... Taylor had four catches for 138
yards and two touchdowns. ... It was the Bengals' second victory in
11 games against the Ravens. ... Coming into the game, the Bengals
were the only team in the league without a fumble recovery. ... RB
Corey Dillon, who missed the Bengals' last game with a strained
groin, was slow making cuts and had only 39 yards on 18 carries.