Ravens 35

(5-2, 3-1 away)

Saints 22

(5-2, 3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 29, 2006

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 7 21 7 035
NO 0 7 0 1522

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 383 YDS, 3 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: J. Lewis (BAL) - 31 CAR, 109 YDS

Receiving: M. Colston (NO) - 6 REC, 163 YDS, 2 TD

McNair's 3 TDs help Ravens knock out Saints, Bush

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Blasted off his feet as he threw, Steve McNair lay on his back for a moment, then propped up his head, grinning after another first-down pass.

In his return from a concussion and strained neck two weeks ago, McNair never shied away from contact, throwing accurately in the face of penetrating defenders or scrambling for key first downs.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Coach Brian Billick did a good job of keeping the Saints defense off balance with his multiple groupings and play selection. The Ravens got back to their power running game with RB Jamal Lewis to set up the play-action pass and, as a result, QB Steve McNair (above) easily played his best game of the season.

However, the storyline of this game was the turnovers the Ravens' defense created that resulted in 28 points. The Ravens attacked the Saints' running game with multiple fronts, which resulted in the Saints becoming a one-dimensional passing attack. Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan rattled QB Drew Brees with his multiple pressure and disguises on the backend in coverage. Even though Brees threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns, his critical mistakes and New Orleans' penalties played a major role in the outcome of this game.

By the time the New Orleans Saints figured out how to slow him down, McNair had run for one touchdown and thrown for two more as the Baltimore Ravens snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-22 victory on Sunday.

"Feeling confident and having the will to go out there and execute" got him off to the fast start, McNair said. "Our offense has been struggling and today was a good day."

The Ravens' defense was dominant as well, accounting for two touchdowns on a pair of 12-yard interception returns by Louisiana natives Ronnie Prude and Dawan Landry. They also knocked Reggie Bush out of the game in the fourth quarter. Bush went to the locker room favoring his left ankle, but later said he did not expect to miss a game.

Baltimore (5-2) became the first team to beat the Saints in the Louisiana Superdome this season and made it look easy, despite coach Brian Billick only recently taking over the play-calling after firing offensive coordinator Jim Fassel following the Ravens' last game two weeks ago.

"I particularly like the play calls of the two interceptions for touchdowns," Billick joked. "Today was players knowing what it is they needed to do, having worked it properly in practice."

Still, the play-calling wasn't bad, and several Saints said the Ravens surprised them by how often and when they threw.

The Ravens used crisp play-action fakes out of running formations to pass for several key first downs and took a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard quarterback draw.

Elias Says
Drew Brees
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was only the second player in NFL history to throw two passes in the same game that were intercepted inside his own 15-yard line and returned for TDs. The other was Donald Hollas of the Raiders against the Dolphins in 1998.

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

McNair gave Baltimore a 14-0 lead on a quick third-down slant to Clarence Moore early in the second quarter. He finished 17-of-23 for 159 yards, which was more than enough with Ravens running back Jamal Lewis gaining 109 yards on 31 carries.

"He is running hard and physical and that's the style running game we're going to have," Billick said. "It's great to get him cranked up."

Even when McNair made a mistake that should have resulted in an interception, it worked out for a score. Late in the first half, his pass for tight end Todd Heap was underthrown and linebacker Scott Fujita was set to intercept it. But cornerback Jason Craft got a finger on it, tipping it over Fujita and straight to Heap, resulting in a 28-7 lead for the Ravens at halftime.

"It was a combination of them kind of beating our butt a little bit and us not getting any breaks," Fujita said.

New Orleans (5-2) kept fighting, but the deficit was far too large against Baltimore's hard-hitting defense.

Drew Brees was intercepted three times, twice on deflections, and sacked twice. Ray Lewis, who made six tackles, also thwarted the Saints' first decent scoring chance when he intercepted Bush's halfback pass intended for Marques Colston in the end zone. That was the second turnover for Bush, who fumbled at the Saints 43 when he was hit by blitzing safety Gerome Sapp as he took a handoff on the Saints' opening drive.

"When you make mistakes on your end of the field, they result in points" for the opponent, Saints coach Sean Payton said. "In this case, if you look at the turnovers, that's what happened. It's not any magic formula. It went against everything we've been trying to accomplish and we've just got to go back and make the corrections."

Brees finished 24-for-45 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Joe Horn became the Saints' all-time leader in touchdown catches when he hauled in a 32-yard scoring pass in the second quarter, passing Eric Martin. His 49th touchdown catch as a Saint made it 21-7, but New Orleans wouldn't get any closer. Rookie Colston had touchdown catches of 47 and 25 yards in the fourth quarter and has six TDs this season.

The Saints could not run the ball, however, finishing with only 35 yards on 14 carries.

The Baltimore secondary, meanwhile, did not miss an opportunity to punish the Saints for making mistakes.

Landry's touchdown on the first of his two interceptions made the score 35-7 about midway through the third quarter, prompting an initial flow of disappointed fans to the exits. His second interception early in the fourth quarter all but cleared out the place.

Game notes

The Ravens' fumble recovery in the first quarter was their 14th of the season. Their four interceptions gave them five for the season. ... Saints kick return specialist Michael Lewis played for the first time since Sept. 19, 2005. He had a 46-yard kickoff return in the first half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2117
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6362
Total Yards293403
Yards per play4.76.5
Total Drives1313
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-30-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs20

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

balTD7:59Steve McNair, 5 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 43 yds, 4:56
balTD12:24Clarence Moore, 4 yd pass from Steve McNair (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yds, 6:57
balTD6:17Ronnie Prude, 12 yd interception return (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 5 yds, 1:27
noTD4:15Joe Horn, 32 yd pass from Drew Brees (John Carney kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 52 yds, 2:01
balTD0:15Todd Heap, 6 yd pass from Steve McNair (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 71 yds, 3:58
balTD8:13Dawan Landry, 12 yd interception return (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 12 yds, 0:00
noTD14:52Marques Colston, 47 yd pass from Drew Brees (John Carney kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 74 yds, 1:19
noTD0:41Marques Colston, 25 yd pass from Drew Brees
Drive info: 6 plays, 60 yds, 1:20