Final

Ravens 27

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Buccaneers 0

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, September 10, 2006

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 7 10 3 727
TB 0 0 0 00

Top Performers

Passing: S. McNair (BAL) - 181 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: J. Lewis (BAL) - 18 CAR, 78 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Wilcox (BAL) - 3 REC, 52 YDS, 1 TD

McNair rolls as D shuts out Bucs; Ravens snap road skid

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- It didn't take Steve McNair long to show what he can mean to the Baltimore Ravens.

It was over when ...
The Ravens' defense took the field. With Ray Lewis back after a 10-game injury absence last season, Baltimore limited the Bucs to 142 total yards, forced three interceptions and handed Tampa Bay its first shutout at home since '96.
Game ball goes to ...
Just like Steve McNair was co-MVP in '03, he's co-MVP of this game too, finishing 17-of-27 passes for 181 yards, one TD and no interceptions against the league's No. 1 defense from last season. He shares the honors with, naturally, the Ravens' D.
ESPN's take ...
In Steve McNair's first game as a Raven, it was the Baltimore defense that stole the show by pitching a shutout. Baltimore's defense made big play after big play and Chris McAlister's 60 yard interception for a touchdown set the tone. Massive NT Haloti Ngata followed suit by rumbling for a 60 yard run-after-interception himself. In the third quarter after the Buccaneers' offense showed some signs of life, the Ravens made a huge stop on fourth-and-goal from the four to take the wind out of Tampa Bay's sails and seal the game.

Playing with the confidence and poise that figures to relieve pressure from a perennially stout but overworked defense, the 2003 NFL co-MVP led a long touchdown drive after the opening kickoff and spent the rest of Sunday enjoying Ray Lewis and Co. at their best in a 27-0 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"This team knows what I can do. It's the people that's outside looking in that don't know," said McNair, obtained from Tennessee in a trade after the Titans decided he no longer fit their plans. "I'm still able to play this game to a high level."

Chris McAlister returned one of the Ravens' three interceptions 61 yards for a touchdown and 340-pound rookie Haloti Ngata lumbered 60 yards with a tipped pass to set up a field goal to help build a 17-0 halftime lead.

Baltimore (1-0) won on the road for the first time since beating the New York Jets 20-17 in overtime on Nov. 14, 2004, ending an 11-game skid that was the longest in the NFL. The Bucs (0-1) were shut out at home for the first time since 1996 after going 77 games without being blanked.

"We had a mind-set just to come play our type of football and we did," Lewis said. "Our offense, you have to tip your hats to them. They came out first drive, and they made life easy for us."

McNair completed 17-of-27 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the league's No. 1 defense from last season. The only time he was sacked, the three-time Pro Bowl selection lost the grip on the ball attempting to pass and fell on the fumble.

The Ravens sacked Chris Simms twice, limited Carnell "Cadillac" Williams to 22 yards rushing on eight carries and held Simms' favorite target, speedy receiver Joey Galloway, without a catch. The Bucs managed just 142 yards total offense.

"We fell behind," Williams said, "and things just fell apart."

Jamal Lewis scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter and McAlister returned his interception for a 14-0 lead on the first play of the second. Ngata's first career pick led to Matt Stover's field goal, and Ed Reed finished the raid on Simms' errant passes with a fourth-quarter interception that led to McNair's 4-yard TD pass to Daniel Wilcox.

Simms was 17-of-29 for 133 yards and was benched by coach Jon Gruden midway through the fourth quarter. Rookie Bruce Gradkowski replaced him to cheers from what was left of a crowd of 65,087. The sixth-round draft pick was no match for the Ravens either.

The Bucs could have avoided a shutout by kicking a field goal late in the third quarter but elected to try for a touchdown when Simms threw an incompletion on fourth-and-4 from the Baltimore 6.

"A loss is a loss," Simms said, shrugging off the final score. "We could have kicked a field goal just to say we weren't shut out. ... We'll be back. We're not going to let one game ruin our season."

Baltimore struggled to move the ball after McNair directed a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted more than nine minutes. But with the Ravens' defense re-energized with Ray Lewis back in the lineup after missing most of 2005 with an injury, the outcome was never in doubt.

McAlister picked off an underthrown ball intended for Anthony Becht and returned the interception up the sideline, racing into the end zone with help from a convoy of blockers that prevented Williams -- the last player with a chance to stop him -- from making the tackle.

Ngata, the Ravens' first-round draft pick, intercepted a pass tipped by linebacker Bart Scott. He took off for the sideline, turned the corner and rumbled up field before running out of gas and being forced out of bounds at the Bucs' 9.

"I never ran that far. I think that explains why I ran out of bounds," Ngata said. "I was looking for somebody to pitch it to, but I didn't feel like I could. I saw blockers in front of me, so I just kept running."

Ray Lewis sat out the last 10 games of 2005 with a hamstring injury that required surgery, and Baltimore stumbled to a 6-10 record, missing the playoffs. His return and McNair's arrival are the main reasons the Ravens think they have a chance to contend for a championship.

"It's one step," the two-time NFL defensive player of the year said. "We're not claiming nothing else. We'll go back and watch film Monday and then we restart again."

Game notes


The Ravens won a season opener for the first time since 2001. ... McNair is 3-0 in games he's started against Tampa Bay. ... The Bucs played without injured middle linebacker Shelton Quarles (groin) and starting guards Dan Buenning (ankle) and Davin Joseph (knee).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BAL
TB
1st Downs168
Passing 1st downs
95
Rushing 1st downs
53
1st downs from penalties
20
3rd down efficiency
5-143-12
4th down efficiency
0-00-1
Total Plays6250
Total Yards271142
Yards per play4.42.8
Total Drives1312
Passing168116
Comp-Att
17-2718-34
Yards per pass
6.03.1
Interceptions thrown
03
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-133-21
Rushing10326
Rushing Attempts
3413
Yards per rush
3.02.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-30-1
Penalties4-253-21
Turnovers03
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
03
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession35:4924:11

Passing Leaders

BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNair17/271816.7101-13
TBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Simms17/291334.6032-20
Gradkowski1/540.8001-1

Rushing Leaders

BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis18784.3127
Anderson7253.608
TBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams8222.807
Simms133.003

Receiving Leaders

BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Wilcox35217.3135
Mason45012.5019
TBRECYDSAVGTDLG
Clayton33411.3027
Becht4276.8012

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBALTB
balTD5:50Jamal Lewis, 4 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 80 yds, 9:16
70
SECOND QUARTERBALTB
balTD15:00Chris McAlister, 60 yd interception return (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 2:08
140
balFG1:59Matt Stover 12 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yds, 0:35
170
THIRD QUARTERBALTB
balFG10:27Matt Stover 34 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 13 yds, 2:37
200
FOURTH QUARTERBALTB
balTD7:23Daniel Wilcox, 4 yd pass from Steve McNair (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 61 yds, 6:11
270