Final

Bengals 20

(4-4, 2-2 away)

Ravens 26

(6-2, 3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, November 5, 2006

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD 

1 2 3 4 T
CIN 0 7 3 1020
BAL 14 3 6 326

Top Performers

Passing: S. McNair (BAL) - 245 YDS

Rushing: R. Johnson (CIN) - 18 CAR, 78 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Heap (BAL) - 4 REC, 84 YDS

AFC North-leading Ravens get quick jump on Bengals 

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Baltimore Ravens enjoyed an outstanding start against the Cincinnati Bengals, then spent the next 55 minutes protecting the advantage.

The Ravens prevailed, and now they'll try to maintain a commanding lead in the AFC North over the next eight weeks.

Pasquarelli on the Bengals
Len Pasquarelli
Cincinnati believes it's better than Baltimore, that it's better than its record. The Bengals better start believing something's wrong in Cincinnati.

• To read the rest of Len Pasquarelli's column on the Cincinnati Bengals, click here.

Baltimore scored two quick touchdowns off turnovers and never trailed in a 26-20 victory Sunday, their second straight since coach Brian Billick took control of the offense.

"Huge win for us in the division," Billick said. "It puts us in a position to go forward and do some good things."

Steve McNair passed for 245 yards, Jamal Lewis scored a touchdown and Matt Stover kicked four field goals for the Ravens (6-2), who took a two-game lead over second-place Cincinnati.

Since Billick fired offensive coordinator Jim Fassel and assumed playcalling duties, the Ravens have scored 61 points and McNair has played brilliantly. He was 21-of-30 against the Bengals after going 17-of-23 in a 35-22 win at New Orleans last week.

McNair fared far better than Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer, who went 12-of-26 for 195 yards. His first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and his last pass was also intercepted, ending any hope the Bengals (4-4) had of finishing a comeback from a 17-0 deficit.

"In order to win, we needed to play our best -- and we didn't," Palmer said.

Chad Johnson caught four passes for 32 yards to pass Cris Collinsworth and Issac Curtis and move into second place on the Bengals' career list with 419 receptions. Carl Pickens tops the list with 530.

Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Baltimore got up early, and then did an outstanding job of milking the clock and controlling the football. Steve McNair (right) was patient, poised and is clearly more comfortable in this offense since Brian Billick took over the playcalling. On defense they attacked Carson Palmer and tested his will in the first half. The Ravens' defense didn't attack nearly as much as the game went along as the Bengals played very hard in the second half and showed some rhythm on offense. The Bengals wouldn't go away, but in the end, Baltimore was more aggressive, did a better job in the trenches and simply made more big plays at home.

But Johnson was in no mood to celebrate his accomplishment after Cincinnati lost for the fourth time in five games. The Bengals are at .500 for the first time since 2004.

"We, as a team, are not playing well enough to come away with victories. No explaining necessary. No beating around the bush. As a whole, we are not playing well at all," Johnson said.

He was particularly upset about being held to four catches.

"Four? Four? That's substandard. I'm supposed to be the best player and I can't even get the ball," he said. "No excuses, I didn't get the job done."

Cincinnati, which had won three straight over Baltimore, made it interesting at the end. A 71-yard pass from Palmer to Chris Henry set up a touchdown run by Rudi Johnson that made it 23-17 early in the fourth quarter, but Baltimore responded with a field goal by Stover with 8:25 left.

After Shayne Graham kicked a 31-yarder for the Bengals, Baltimore punted and Cincinnati took over at its own 24 with 3:21 to go. On fourth-and-4 from the 30, Ronnie Prude broke up a pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Houshmandzadeh screamed for an interference call, then displayed his frustration by taking off his helmet and angrily slamming it to the ground.

"A penalty is a penalty. If it's too much pressure to call it on fourth down, you shouldn't be refereeing," Houshmandzadeh said. "He hit me before the ball got there."

That wasn't the only subject Houshmandzadeh broached after the game.

"We're just a better team than they are. We didn't win the game and I'm sure they'll get a laugh over that," he said. "But deep down, we know we're better than Baltimore and they know it. We've got better players than they do."

The game couldn't have started better for the Ravens. Six plays after Cincinnati's Chris Perry fumbled the opening kickoff at his 34, Lewis scored from the 2.

Minutes later, the Ravens went up 14-0 with their fourth defensive touchdown of the season.

On Cincinnati's third offensive play, Samari Rolle intercepted Palmer's overthrown pass at the Cincinnati 49 and ran 24 yards. As he was being tackled, he gave the ball to Ed Reed, who took it into the end zone.

"It was just a great play on his part," Reed said. "Just good awareness letting it go and knowing it was me."

Baltimore made it 17-0 in the second quarter when Stover kicked a 43-yard field goal to conclude a drive of 8 minutes, 20 seconds. It was the Ravens' longest drive since their first of the season, in Tampa Bay.

A 26-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Houshmandzadeh enabled Cincinnati to close to 17-7 late in the half.

Two field goals by Stover made it 23-7 before Graham kicked a 51-yarder for the Bengals, the first third-quarter points against Baltimore this year.

Game notes


The Ravens finished with a season-high 374 yards in offense. ... Palmer's 71-yard pass to Henry was the Bengals' longest play this season and a career long for Henry. ... Baltimore is 43-1 under Billick when leading by at least 14 points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CIN
BAL
1st Downs1621
Passing 1st downs
713
Rushing 1st downs
68
1st downs from penalties
30
3rd down efficiency
1-106-15
4th down efficiency
1-20-1
Total Plays5069
Total Yards275374
Yards per play5.55.4
Total Drives1113
Passing182245
Comp-Att
12-2621-31
Yards per pass
6.57.9
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-120-0
Rushing93129
Rushing Attempts
2238
Yards per rush
4.23.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-21-5
Penalties4-408-81
Turnovers30
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession22:3637:24

Passing Leaders

CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer12/261947.5122-12
BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNair21/312457.9000-0

Rushing Leaders

CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson18784.3117
Johnson294.506
BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis24723.0110
Smith34615.3030

Receiving Leaders

CINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Henry27939.5071
Houshmandzadeh36622.0126
BALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Heap48421.0028
Clayton8739.1018

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCINBAL
balTD12:06Jamal Lewis, 2 yd run (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 34 yds, 2:53
07
balTD10:41Ed Reed, 25 yd interception return (Matt Stover kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, -2 yds, 1:33
014
SECOND QUARTERCINBAL
balFG5:44Matt Stover 43 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 61 yds, 8:19
017
cinTD1:12T.J. Houshmandzadeh, 26 yd pass from Carson Palmer (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 79 yds, 4:33
717
THIRD QUARTERCINBAL
balFG8:55Matt Stover 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 74 yds, 6:05
720
balFG4:31Matt Stover 36 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yds, 2:11
723
cinFG2:24Shayne Graham 51 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 40 yds, 2:08
1023
FOURTH QUARTERCINBAL
cinTD13:37Rudi Johnson, 4 yd run (Shayne Graham kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 91 yds, 1:39
1723
balFG8:29Matt Stover 35 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 47 yds, 5:06
1726
cinFG4:05Shayne Graham 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 46 yds, 1:53
2026