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Baltimore at Oakland

Raiders find a pulse, send Ravens into division tie

SportsLine.com wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis faced the Oakland Raiders' patchwork defense, it was a terrible mismatch.

Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens were thoroughly beaten -- and they also lost their edge in the playoff race.

Jerry Rice caught his second touchdown pass of the season, and the Raiders limited Lewis to 125 meaningless yards in a 20-12 victory Sunday, snapping Baltimore's three-game winning streak.

The loss knocked the Ravens (8-6) into a tie with Cincinnati atop the AFC North after the Bengals' win over San Francisco. Baltimore hasn't won on the road since Oct. 12, losing four straight - and the Ravens never got close enough to threaten the Raiders, who showed remarkable pride against an opponent with much more motivation.

"We're building for next year, trying to make sure this season doesn't taste so bad," Oakland receiver Jerry Porter said. "They didn't give our defense any credit at all. They gave us the ball in pretty good situations where we almost had to go score."

Zack Crockett scored on a 1-yard plunge set up by Phillip Buchanon's interception return on the Ravens' opening drive. Oakland (4-10) never lost that lead while snapping its three-game losing streak, though neither team was terribly impressive in a game dominated by defense, penalties and mistakes.

And except for a handful of impressive runs, Lewis went nowhere.

"It's shocking," Lewis said. "They did a better job than we thought they would, and we didn't make the plays we had to make. We weren't aggressive enough. We couldn't finish our drives and plays."

Though Lewis ran 24 times, he couldn't get in the end zone or spark his teammates, who seemed to sleepwalk through long stretches of the game.

The Ravens also struggled to establish their running game against Oakland's injury-riddled defense. Odd play-calling didn't help: On at least two key third downs in the first half, Baltimore coach Brian Billick called unsuccessful passes in short-yardage situations against one of the NFL's worst run defenses.

"They probably just tried to catch us off-guard," Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson said. "You get a little fancy sometimes and don't go with your bread and butter. We still had to stop them, though."

Rice caught a 21-yard slant from Rick Mirer 1:20 before halftime. It was Rice's 194th career TD, 64 more than Cris Carter atop the NFL career list.

After struggling on offense for most of the first three quarters, Baltimore pulled within 17-12 on Anthony Wright's 13-yard pass to Todd Heap late in the third period. The Ravens mounted another strong drive on their next possession, but Lewis and Wright fumbled their exchange at the Oakland 27 with 10:54 to play.

The Raiders drove for Sebastian Janikowski's second field goal, and Baltimore did nothing with its final two drives. With the ball at their 21 and 1:40 to play, the Ravens managed three incompletions, a sack and a penalty.

"We had several opportunities to win the game, but we made costly mistakes," Billick said. "And we gave up the control card for ourselves in the playoffs. We spotted them a touchdown right at the start of the game, and played catch-up the rest of the game."

Throwing sidearm and regularly missing open receivers, Mirer was 16-of-35 for 186 yards in the Ravens' first visit to the Coliseum in three years since Baltimore won the AFC championship game 16-3 on the way to its Super Bowl victory.

Wright had led the Ravens' surge into the playoff race, but he was no better than Mirer, going 12-of-27 for 193 yards.

Buchanon made his sixth interception of the season on the Ravens' third play of the game. He leaned over Frank Sanders to make the catch, somehow kept his feet and returned it to the Baltimore 1, where Crockett scored two seconds later.

After Baltimore kicked a field goal, Doug Gabriel returned the kickoff 71 yards. Oakland couldn't move the ball, but Janikowski kicked a field goal -- and the Raiders had a 10-3 lead with just 1 yard of offense.

Matt Stover's streak of 21 consecutive field goals for the Ravens ended when his 50-yard attempt fell inches short of the crossbar in the final seconds before halftime.


  • Billick repeated his criticisms of the instant-replay system after a call went against him on a 2-point conversion attempt in the third. "A lot of money spent on a system that doesn't work," Billick said.
  • DT Dana Stubblefield didn't play after leaving the Raiders on Saturday night to attend to personal business.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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The Raiders and Derrick Gibson (right) make it a tough day for Ravens QB Anthony Wright.
The Raiders and Derrick Gibson (right) make it a tough day for Ravens QB Anthony Wright.(AP)


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Scoring Summary
TDZack Crockett, 1 Yd run (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good), 14:05. Drive: 1 play, 1 yards in 0:02.
FGMatt Stover 32 Yd, 7:52. Drive: 12 plays, 61 yards in 6:13.
FGSebastian Janikowski 37 Yd, 6:53.
FGMatt Stover 28 Yd, 12:38. Drive: 7 plays, 70 yards in 2:54.
TDJerry Rice, 21 Yd pass from Rick Mirer (Sebastian Janikowski kick is good), 1:20. Drive: 8 plays, 60 yards in 2:10.
TDTodd Heap, 13 Yd pass from Anthony Wright (Chester Taylor Run for 2 Pt. Conversion failed), 2:10. Drive: 4 plays, 49 yards in 1:47.
FGSebastian Janikowski 23 Yd, 5:58. Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards in 4:56.
A. Wright12/2719311
J. Lewis24125025
C. Taylor324015
A. Ricard1202
A. Wright3-205
T. Heap693131
T. Taylor362041
T. Jones125025
F. Sanders21309
R. Mirer16/3518610
T. Wheatley1339016
C. Garner72806
R. Mirer6804
Z. Crockett5412
J. Rice348121
T. Brown441015
C. Garner441025
D. Jolley126026
T. Wheatley212012
J. Porter111011
O. Santiago1707
Complete Player Stats