Final

Bills 6

(1-5, 0-3 away)

Ravens 20

(4-2, 2-1 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 24, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
BUF 3 0 3 06
BAL 10 7 0 320

Sanders scores touchdown for Ravens

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The absence of Jamal Lewis wasn't nearly as significant to the Baltimore Ravens as the return of Prime Time.

Deion Sanders conjured memories of his high-stepping past Sunday, returning an interception 48 yards for a touchdown and also picking off a pass in the end zone to lead the Ravens past the Buffalo Bills 20-6.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Bills at Ravens: Why has Mularkey been unable to get Bledsoe back on track?

There are a number of reasons why Bledsoe has struggled in this offense. First, the Bills' offensive line has done a poor job of consistently protecting him. Bledsoe isn't a mobile quarterback and he has problems getting outside the pocket and evading the rush. Right now he needs a great line to shield him from the rush and to give him time to make his reads. Obviously he doesn't have that and it's hurting this team. But the biggest problem facing the Bills is their lack of playmakers. Right now they don't have a consistent rushing attack and no complementary receiving threats.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

"Neon Deion" even got into the act on offense, although his 10-yard loss on an end around was perhaps the only flaw of an otherwise spectacular afternoon.

"I was smiling so much I almost forgot the play when I came out of the huddle," Sanders said. "I was just so happy to be out there."

Sanders ended a three-year retirement to join the Ravens as a fifth defensive back. He missed two games due to a hamstring injury and had only one interception before Sunday, but he made a big difference against the Bills.

"They talked about me before I came. He's too old. He shouldn't be doing this," Sanders said. "I'm a 37-year-old kid out there."

Chad Williams went 94 yards with an interception for the Ravens, who sputtered offensively but took advantage of five turnovers by Drew Bledsoe to beat the punchless Bills (1-5).

Baltimore (4-2) played without Lewis, serving a two-game suspension for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. The standout running back pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 in Atlanta to using a phone to set up a drug buy, and will miss the Ravens' game next week in Philadelphia.

Chester Taylor filled in for Lewis and ran for 89 yards on 21 carries, but the victory was primarily the result of a punishing Baltimore defense.

"All the guys stepped up," said Sanders, who appeared at his postgame interview in a dark suit, tailored shirt and fashionable hat.

With the score 3-3 in the first quarter, Bledsoe flipped a swing pass to running back Willis McGahee that was deflected by Williams. Sanders plucked the ball out of the air and went the distance, covering the last 30 yards in high-stepping fashion before breaking into a dance in the end zone.

"It felt good. It really did," he said. "At breakfast this morning I told the guys, 'When I get into the end zone stand back and let me dance first. Then you can congratulate me."

Sanders not only gave the Ravens the lead, but helped preserve it. With Baltimore up 17-6, he intercepted a pass in the end zone with 12:26 remaining, further justifying the Ravens' decision to take a chance on the aging defensive back.

"For those that didn't think it was a good move," coach Brian Billick said, "then maybe they can rethink that."

Bledsoe went 20-for-36 for 203 yards and lost a fumble. His four interceptions were one more than he threw in his first five games this season.

"We've got to play better," Bledsoe said. "We've got to run the ball better (and) our offense isn't good enough in the passing game. I don't know what the answer is."

The Bills have scored only six offensive touchdowns this season -- none on the ground. Travis Henry, who started despite a sprained left foot, gained 27 yards on seven carries and McGahee had 58 yards on 16 attempts.

Buffalo finished with a 270-160 advantage in yardage but never reached the end zone.

"It was like something I've never been a part of. It was terrible," receiver Eric Moulds said.

Williams sealed the victory by taking Bledsoe's pass from his goal line to the Buffalo 6, setting up a field goal by Matt Stover for a 20-6 lead with 4:42 left.

It wasn't a perfect day for Baltimore, though. Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller went 10-for-19 for 86 yards, and Baltimore lost Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden to a pulled hamstring.

Aaron Schobel sacked Boller on the game's second play from scrimmage, forcing a fumble that led to a field goal by Rian Lindell.

Boller then moved the Ravens 54 yards, aided by a roughing-the-passer call against London Fletcher, before Stover kicked a field goal.

Sanders then scored his 23rd career touchdown, the ninth on an interception return.

"The guy can still play. I don't know why they don't think so," Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister said. "Like always, Prime Time was prime time for us today."

Baltimore went up 17-3 on its next possession on a 5-yard touchdown run by rookie B.J. Sams.

Game notes


Sams' TD was only the second allowed by the Bills on the ground. ... The Ravens' four interceptions tied a club record.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBUFBAL
balTD1:48Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 55 yds, 0:00
39
bal1:48
Drive info: 1 plays, 55 yds, 0:00
310
FOURTH QUARTERBUFBAL
balFG4:45Matt Stover 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yds, 1:29
620
FIRST QUARTERBUFBAL
bufFG12:18Rian Lindell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 2:12
30
THIRD QUARTERBUFBAL
bufFG7:58Rian Lindell 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 70 yds, 3:48
617
SECOND QUARTERBUFBAL
balTD10:19B.J. Sams, 5 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 83 yds, 4:27
316
bal10:13
Drive info: 9 plays, 83 yds, 4:27
317
FIRST QUARTERBUFBAL
balFG4:30Matt Stover 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 54 yds, 6:34
33