Starting at his own 13 yard-line, the oft-criticized quarterback faced the prospect of moving the ball behind a makeshift offensive line.
Fortunately, he was operating against the Houston Texans.
Boller came through, and Matt Stover kicked a 38-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining to give Baltimore a 16-15 victory Sunday.
A game filled with blunders, fumbles and penalties ended in familiar fashion for the Texans, who let a seemingly certain victory get away for the second consecutive week.
"We've got to be able to make plays at the end of the game and bring it home," Houston linebacker Shantee Orr said. "That's what we haven't been able to do the last two weeks."
A week ago, the Texans (1-11) blew a 10-point lead in the closing minutes against St. Louis and lost in overtime. This time, Houston allowed Boller to move the Ravens 67 yards in eight plays before Stover delivered.
"It excites me as a veteran here to see that we didn't give up and we did enough to win the game," said Stover, 37, who has kicked 11 game-winners over a 15-year career.
Kris Brown's fifth field goal with 1:08 left put Houston in position for its second victory. But the Texans couldn't hold on.
Boller completed a 24-yard pass to Todd Heap on third down, then hit rookie Mark Clayton with an 11-yarder. Two plays later, a 35-yard completion to Clayton got the Ravens (4-8) into field-goal position.
"You've got to make something happen," Boller said. "All you can hope for is to execute the way we did. Guys just made plays, and that's what it's all about."
Boller went 17-for-33 for 198 yards and ran for a second-quarter score.
After Baltimore's Adalius Thomas returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown with 7:16 to go, the Texans trailed 13-9. But Houston got a field goal with 3:31 remaining, then took advantage of poor clock management to get the ball back.
A fair catch by B.J. Sams on the kickoff and two subsequent timeouts preceded a Ravens punt. Domanick Davis returned the kick 21 yards to the Baltimore 29, and Brown followed with a 39-yard field goal.
It wasn't enough.
"I'm on the sidelines at that point, watching it," Houston quarterback David Carr said. "To have that happen two weeks in a row, especially in the situation we're already in, it makes it harder."
Houston fumbled five times, was intercepted once and received 11 penalties for 93 yards. Yet the Texans stayed close because the Ravens fumbled four times, were penalized eight times and could muster only 73 yards rushing.
Baltimore sacked Carr five times, including a career-high three by Terrell Suggs.
Davis ran for 155 yards on 29 carries, but the Texans failed to score a touchdown for the first time in 31 games dating back to December 2003.
"We've still got to find a way to hit some big plays. We were able to hit a couple, but not enough," Carr said.
In the third quarter, Sams had an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown nullified after the Ravens were called for two penalties on the play.
That set off a series of miscues by both teams. After Boller recovered his own fumble at the Baltimore 1, Houston's Jerome Mathis fumbled away a punt at the Baltimore 36. Chester Taylor gave it back, losing the ball on the 29.
Andre Johnson then dropped a likely touchdown pass, and the Texans settled for a 22-yard field goal by Brown for a 9-7 lead with 14:30 left.
"I kind of misjudged it and it hit me on the shoulder pad," Johnson said. "I feel real bad about that happening."
Boller played behind an offensive line that was without injured starters Keydrick Vincent (hamstring), Orlando Brown (back) and Pro Bowl left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who strained a hamstring in the first quarter and did not return.
Baltimore did, however, regain the services of safety Ed Reed, who was back in the starting lineup after missing six weeks with a sprained ankle.
A fumble by Jamal Lewis ended Baltimore's first series on its 36, but the Texans lost 15 yards in three plays and had to punt.
That rest of the game sputtered along in similar fashion.
- Clayton had a season-high seven catches.
- The Texans scored their first first-quarter points on the road.
- It was the third game in which Baltimore did not allow a TD.