Playing with third-string quarterback Danny Kanell made the task virtually impossible, especially on a day in which the Lewis & Lewis Show put on a stellar performance before a record crowd.
Matt Stover kicked four field goals for the Ravens (4-3), who maintained their hold on first place in the AFC North by beating Denver (5-3) for a fourth straight season, including the 2000 playoffs.
"Sometimes, it's just one of those things," Ray Lewis said. "We match up very well against Denver."
Starting for the first time since 2000, Kanell went 16-for-31 for 114 yards and two interceptions.
"Obviously, it was not the kind of comeback I wanted," Kanell said. "Bottom line, it's a loss. I'm bummed about it right now."
The Broncos hoped that running back Clinton Portis could carry the offense, but he was limited to 86 yards on 22 carries.
"It's hard to win football games on the road if you can't run the ball," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "We were kind of limited in some of the things we could do, but that's no excuse. We just didn't execute very well.
"Can we get better than we were today? I hope we can."
The game drew 69,721 fans, the largest crowd ever to see a pro football game in Baltimore.
Baltimore was nursing a 9-6 lead when Ray Lewis picked off Kanell's pass intended for Rod Smith. Lewis brought the ball to the Denver 20, and Kyle Boller capped the four-play drive with a 5-yard pass to Terry Jones with 7:35 left.
"I just broke on it. It's a good thing it was there," Lewis said.
Stover kicked a field goal after the Broncos turned the ball over on downs at their 14. Jamal Lewis added a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:56 to go after Gary Baxter returned an interception 34 yards to the Denver 28.
Jamal Lewis ran a career-high 32 times for 134 yards and caught three passes for 28 yards. He is the first back to run for 100 yards against Denver this season.
"We keep pounding them, and they just wear down over time," said Lewis, who leads the NFL with 977 yards rushing.
Held to 58 yards in the first half, the Broncos matched that total on their opening possession of the third quarter before closing to 9-6 on a 22-yard field goal by Jason Elam.
It turned out to be Denver's most effective drive of the day. The Broncos' defense wasn't much better.
"When you get beat 26-6, when in my eyes that team definitely isn't better than us, we didn't come to play," Denver linebacker Al Wilson said.
Kanell went 3-for-8 for 21 yards in the first half, and Portis was limited to just 31 yards rushing on 10 carriers.
The Ravens' first possession started with four straight runs by Jamal Lewis and ended with Stover missing a 45-yard field goal.
Denver then mounted a similar drive, giving Portis the ball for six straight runs before Elam kicked a field goal.
The Broncos' next possession ended with a failed gamble that led to a 25-yard field goal by Stover. After Kanell was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 at the Denver 48, the Ravens settled for three points following a replay review that overturned an apparent touchdown catch by Todd Heap.
Stover made it 6-3 midway through the second quarter with his 300th career field goal, a 39-yarder after Bart Scott tipped Micah Knorr's punt from the end zone.
Stover added a 22-yarder on the half's final play to cap a six-minute drive.
Denver linebacker John Mobley was carted off with a bruised spinal chord late in the half. All of his feeling eventually returned to normal, and X-rays were negative.
- Broncos' starting RT Matt Lepsis was ejected with 10:02 left in the first half after bumping an official.
- Smith extended his consecutive games with a reception to 69, surpassing the franchise mark set by Ed McCaffrey.
- Ravens WR Frank Sanders made his 500th career catch in the third quarter.
- Baltimore CB Corey Fuller left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring strain.
The Associated Press News Service
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