Chargers 13

(2-1, 1-1 away)

Ravens 16

(4-0, 2-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 1, 2006

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
SD 7 6 0 013
BAL 7 0 0 916

Top Performers

Passing: S. McNair (BAL) - 158 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: L. Tomlinson (SD) - 26 CAR, 98 YDS

Receiving: T. Heap (BAL) - 4 REC, 60 YDS, 1 TD

McNair rallies unbeaten Ravens for second week in row

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Ravens have a new formula for success: Keep the game close enough for Steve McNair to win it at the end.

Len Pasquarelli's take ...
Steve McNair, acquired from Tennessee in a June 8 trade meant to add stability, maturity, leadership and victories like the one accomplished here, proved again to be a human defibrillator for the Ravens, Len Pasquarelli writes.

McNair rallied the unbeaten Ravens for a second straight week Sunday, throwing a 10-yard pass to Todd Heap with 34 seconds left to defeat the San Diego Chargers 16-13.

In years past, the Ravens depended on their defense to squash the opposition, leaving the offense to do little else but avoid giving the ball away. Now that McNair is at quarterback, late-game heroics are becoming the standard.

One week earlier, McNair struggled before engineering a late drive that produced a field goal and a 15-14 win over Cleveland. He did little against the Chargers (2-1), either, until it mattered most.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
As expected, this was a dogfight between great defenses. The Chargers used a no-huddle attack early, throwing Baltimore's defense off.

That approach kept the Ravens from substituting freely and helped the Chargers dictate tempo. San Diego also used different jumbo offensive personnel groupings effectively, and Baltimore used a lot of its 4-4-3 scheme to counter. In the first half, the Chargers owned the time of possession, yardage and field position battles. In the second half, both defenses dominated and forced mistakes.

The Chargers, however, could not put the Ravens away. The Ravens spent their second-half timeouts early and couldn't stop the clock in the final minutes, but they won thanks to a late drive led by Steve McNair. The clutch performance was McNair's coming-out party in Baltimore.

"There was no doubt in my mind we would win this game when No. 9 went out there," said Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle, who played with McNair in Tennessee. "He's been through everything you can be through as a quarterback. He's been MVP. He's been in the Super Bowl. He's just got it."

Showing precisely why they obtained him in an offseason trade with the Titans, McNair went 4-for-5 for 43 yards and ran once for 12 yards during the final drive, which began after San Diego intentionally took a safety with 3:12 to go.

"The defense gave us the opportunity by keeping it within six points," McNair said. "We knew if they gave us the opportunity, we have the confidence in ourselves to get the job done."

McNair never faced a third down during the march. After a 17-yard pass to Mark Clayton got the ball to the San Diego 35, McNair ran to the 23 and completed a 13-yarder to Clayton.

On second down, McNair found Heap for the game-winner, leaving the Ravens at 4-0 for the first time.

"If we don't make enough plays to win early, we can make plays to win the game late," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "That's why we brought him here."

The Ravens never led until Heap bulled his way over the goal line with linebacker Shawne Merriman in tow.

"It came down to a missed tackle. I really tried to take his head off," Merriman said.

McNair finished 17-for-30 for 158 yards and two interceptions. He also threw two touchdown passes.

LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 98 yards on 27 carries for the Chargers, who got a touchdown on their first possession and never reached the end zone after that.

"This one hurts because of the control we had the whole game and we let it slip," said quarterback Phillip Rivers, who went 13-for-22 for 145 yards and an interception that led to a Baltimore touchdown.

Rivers accepted blame for a spotty showing by the San Diego offense, which totaled 67 points in wins over Oakland and Tennessee.

"I didn't play as well as I need to for us to win," he said.

For 59 minutes, it appeared San Diego would win on the strength of a defense that yielded only one touchdown in its first two games.

"You got to learn how to finish it off," Merriman said.

The game appeared to turn on a fumble by Baltimore tight end Daniel Wilcox at the San Diego 1 with 5:18 left in the third quarter and San Diego up 13-7. Wilcox took a shovel pass from McNair and lost the ball after being hit by Stephen Cooper.

The play was particularly damaging to the Ravens because coach Brian Billick lost the team's final timeout with an unsuccessful replay challenge.

After a punt, Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason slipped behind the coverage down the left sideline, but he inexplicably dropped a long throw from McNair that almost certainly would have produced the go-ahead touchdown.

Minutes later, McNair threw his second interception to end a promising drive.

The Ravens closed to 13-9 when punter Mike Scifres intentionally ran out of the end zone. Baltimore took over at its 40, and McNair went to work.

San Diego led 13-7 at halftime after limiting the Ravens to 45 yards on 24 plays.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff and moved 69 yards in nine plays, going up 7-0 on a 31-yard pass from Phillip Rivers to Malcom Floyd. Rivers went 4-for-5 for 60 yards, including a 13-yarder to Antonio Gates on a third-and-13.

San Diego's next possession ended with an interception by Bart Scott, whose 24-yard return set up a 5-yard TD pass from McNair to Wilcox.

The Chargers answered with a 34-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding for a 10-7 lead.

Kaeding added a career-long 54-yarder late in the half but missed a 40-yarder in the third quarter, and a botched hold ruined a 52-yard try in the fourth quarter.

Game notes

Scifres had a 71-yard punt in the fourth quarter. ... Baltimore G Edwin Mulitalo (elbow) left in the fourth quarter and did not return. ... Kaeding made 15 straight FG tries before missing from 40.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1314
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6453
Total Yards284206
Yards per play4.43.9
Total Drives1313
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-12-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

sdTD10:21Malcom Floyd, 31 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 4:39
balTD5:33Daniel Wilcox, 5 yd pass from Steve McNair (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 22 yds, 2:52
sdFG14:56Nate Kaeding 34 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 46 yds, 5:37
sdFG1:56Nate Kaeding 54 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 20 yds, 1:17
balSF3:17Mike Scifres rush for a -7 yards Tackled.
Drive info: 4 plays, -9 yds, 2:17
balTD0:41Todd Heap, 10 yd pass from Steve McNair (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 2:38