Bengals buckle down on defense, Graham provides offense in win

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Cincinnati Bengals used an uncharacteristic approach to earn a tremendously satisfying victory.

Shayne Graham kicked a team-record seven field goals, and the Bengals received a surprisingly efficient performance from their defense Sunday in a 21-7 win over the punchless Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati (3-6) owned the league's 31st-ranked defense, was tied with winless Miami for most points allowed and had not yielded fewer than 20 points in any game this season. All that changed against the Ravens (4-5), who committed six turnovers.

"I think it says a lot for our team. Everyone's kind of put us in a hole right now," Graham said. "You have to give a lot of credit to our defense that everyone seems to be bashing right now. For them to get the ball where we had it for the field position says a lot."

Graham connected from 34, 19, 22, 35, 35, 21 and 33 yards. His seven field goals were one short of the NFL record set earlier this season by Tennessee's Rob Bironas, and Graham might have had the chance to tie the mark if the Bengals didn't run out the clock late in the game.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping, but there really wasn't enough time to do it and explain it with an ethical decision," he said. "With where the clock was, it just wouldn't have been right."

Baltimore quarterback Steve McNair struggled in a second straight start, passing for only 128 yards, losing two fumbles and throwing an interception before being replaced by Kyle Boller.

Boller's entrance in the fourth quarter brought cheers from what was left of a sellout crowd, but his first drive ended with an interception. He then engineered a 52-yard march that resulted in a meaningless 1-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee with 1:56 left.

"Steve was a great quarterback, he still is a great quarterback and he will continue to be a moving force in this league," Ravens guard Jason Brown said. "Everybody has a bad day."

But they have been coming more frequently for McNair, who this season has thrown only two touchdown passes and committed 11 turnovers.

"This is probably the lowest point in my career," McNair said. "What do I need to do about it? I don't know."

Baltimore has lost three straight and has been outscored 59-14 in its last two games.

Carson Palmer went 23-for-34 for 271 yards for Cincinnati. Chris Henry, playing for the first time after an eight-game suspension for violating the league's conduct policy, had four catches for 99 yards.

Palmer ordinarily would be embarrassed about failing to produce a touchdown, but he had no problem with it in a winning effort.

"It's good when you win, not so good when you lose," he said. "The Ravens are always tough when you get down into the red zone. ... We were satisfied to get three points every time we went down there."

The Bengals were inside the Baltimore 20 seven times.

Cincinnati had gone 1-6 since opening the season with a 27-20 win over the Ravens. The Bengals' main problem was their porous defense, but that wasn't an issue against the offensively challenged Ravens.

"At times this year we've played like we did tonight," linebacker Landon Johnson said. "It's more a question of being consistent, and we were consistent for a majority of the game."

After a scoreless first quarter, the Bengals got a field goal at the end of a 52-yard drive after Baltimore failed to convert a fourth-and-8 from the Cincinnati 32.

On their next possession, the Bengals moved 91 yards to set up another field goal for a 6-0 lead. Palmer was 5-for-5 for 79 yards, including a 50-yarder to Henry.

Baltimore finally got moving late in the half. After getting to the Cincinnati 2, McNair threw a floater that tight end Todd Heap tipped in the air and was intercepted by rookie Leon Hall.

It didn't get any better in the third quarter for Baltimore. The Ravens had a decent drive going until McNair lost the ball on a third-down scramble at the Cincinnati 30. Dexter Jackson went 15 yards with the loose ball, and a 15-yard run by Rudi Johnson led to another field goal, making it 9-0.

Graham added three more in the fourth quarter, all following Baltimore fumbles.

Game notes
The Ravens played without starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister (knee) and Samari Rolle (illness), and CB Corey Ivy left with a concussion. ... Cincinnati has won seven of eight against Baltimore. ... Boller was 6-for-8 for 89 yards.