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Ravens' offense can't find rhythm; defense outplayed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith
Bulluck was so elated over teammate Brad Kassell's interception
return for a touchdown that he grabbed the first football he saw
and punted it into the stands.

Oops. That was the ball Kassell wanted for his trophy cabinet.

"If he has to buy it, I'll buy it for him," Bulluck said of
the ball, which now belongs to a fan.

Bulluck and the Titans were in a giving mood Sunday after
proving they really can tackle in beating the Baltimore Ravens
25-10 in their home opener.

Steve McNair threw a touchdown, Rob Bironas kicked field goals
of 39, 29 and 47 yards and Rob Reynolds blocked a punt in the end
zone for a safety as the NFL's youngest team easily dismantled a
supposedly improved Ravens offense.

The rebuilding Titans (1-1) had replaced five starters on
defense this offseason, but they easily outplayed Baltimore's Pro
Bowl-stocked unit with six sacks and two turnovers, including
Kassell's 21-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

Kyle Vanden Bosch just missed a safety on his third sack of the
game, but Reynolds got it when he blocked Dave Zastudil's punt and
tackled Will Demps in the end zone in the final minutes.

"The defense played great," Titans running back Travis Henry
said.

The Ravens (0-2) struggled for a second straight week on
offense, and not even a change in quarterback seemed to help.

Anthony Wright started for Kyle Boller, who was booed when he
left with a hyperextended right big toe in last week's 24-7 loss to
Indianapolis. Wright had helped lead the Ravens to the AFC North
title in 2003 before losing to the Titans in a wild-card game on
Jan. 3, 2004, his last start.

Now they head into their bye week before hosting the New York
Jets on Oct. 2, and coach Brian Billick said he can't even begin to
break down all the mistakes.

"We've got a lot of work to do, plain and simple. This bye
didn't look to be in a particularly good spot when it first came
out. But obviously right now, it's what we need because we have a
great deal of work these next two weeks," Billick said.

The Titans' defense gave up 206 yards last week in an
embarrassing 34-7 loss at Pittsburgh.

They fed off the emotions of a sold-out crowd and more than
atoned by holding Baltimore to 182 yards offense and a
Ravens-franchise low of only 14 yards rushing. The Ravens went
three-and-out on six of their first seven possessions and didn't
get a first down until the third quarter.

"What a difference a week makes," Titans coach Jeff Fisher
said.

"We now have to maintain this level of play, and that is the
challenge week to week."

The Titans had no such problems as they held the ball for more
than 19 minutes in the first half and rolled up 228 yards with a
13-0 lead. They finished with 290 yards.

After a fumble by Jamal Lewis, McNair tossed a 2-yard pass to
fullback Troy Fleming for a 7-0 lead midway through the first
quarter.

Lewis finished with nine yards on 10 carries, and he only had
compliments for Tennessee.

"Watching on film from last week, they looked like a totally
different defense. They played well. They played great as a whole
team," Lewis said.

Bironas, who missed his only field goal attempt at Pittsburgh,
capped a 13-play drive in the second quarter with his first field
goal and added a 29-yarder just before halftime. He tightened his
hold on his first NFL job with the 47-yarder in the third.

McNair finished 19-of-36 for 195 yards.

Wright had trouble getting comfortable and was 25-of-40 for 212
yards. He fell when he stepped on center Mike Flynn's foot after
the snap, and bobbled a snap three times out of the shotgun.

Billick's only other options were rookie Derek Anderson and
veteran Kordell Stewart, who was signed earlier this week.
Baltimore finally got on the board by abandoning the run on their
first drive in the third quarter.

Wright hit seven straight passes in moving the Ravens to the
Titans 12. But he missed Wilcox under pressure and overthrew
Clarence Moore in the end zone, so they settled for a 30-yard field
goal from Matt Stover.

The Ravens finally scored on a 12-yard TD toss to ex-Titan
Derrick Mason in the fourth when it was too late.

Game notes
Vanden Bosch came into the game with only five sacks in
his first four seasons with Arizona. ... Kassell's interception and
TD return was a career-first for the linebacker. ... The 14 yards
rushing allowed was the fewest by Tennessee since holding Buffalo
to 4 yards rushing net on Nov. 23, 1997. ... The six sacks by the
Titans were the most since Sept. 8, 2002, when they had six against
Philadelphia.