Over the next week, BR.com will take a look back at the story of the Ravens' 2007 campaign. Here is a look at Weeks 10-13.
Week 10 (Nov. 11, 2007): Bengals 21 - Ravens 7
Summary: Despite a stellar defensive performance that kept the high-powered Cincinnati Bengals offense out of the end zone, the Ravens turned the ball over six times and lost 21-7.
Ravens vs. Bengals
Steve McNair committed three of the turnovers, losing two fumbles and throwing an interceptions at the end of the first half. McNair had trouble generating any offense against a team that went into the contest giving up an average of 397.1 yards per game.
The Bengals had not held any team to under 20 points all season, but the only Ravens points came on Willis McGahee's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:56 remaining. McNair finished 17-of-26 for 128 yards before being replaced by Kyle Boller midway through the fourth quarter. The starting signal caller's three turnovers were compounded by a McGahee fumble, a fumbled kickoff by Cory Ross and a Boller pick.
Baltimore's defense was without starting cornerbacks Samari Rolle (illness) and Chris McAlister (knee), and backup David Pittman (head), then lost third corner Corey Ivy in the first quarter from a concussion. The unit still managed to keep quarterback Carson Palmer in check while limiting the Bengals to only 70 rushing yards.
Palmer completed 23 of 34 attempts for 271 yards, including a 50-yarder to WR Chris Henry, but was held without a passing TD for the 1st time this year. The Ravens also tagged Palmer for 3 sacks and multiple hurries.
Key Stat: Mark Clayton's 107 yards on eight catches, including a 47-yarder, was his sixth-career 100-yard receiving game.
They said: "This is probably the lowest point in my career that I've had over my last two games. What do I need to do about it? I don't know. I'm trying to play hard to help this team, but it's just not there. I don't know what it is. You go out there and you practice hard. You go out there and get pumped for a game. You drive the ball down in the 2-minute drill and get a tipped ball interception. You come out in the second half, you drive the ball down and a guy comes up from behind you and strips the ball out. Bad luck. If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all. You just got to keep fighting through it and keep working hard." - Steve McNair
Week 11 (Nov. 18, 2007): Browns 33 - Ravens 30
Summary: No one could have written a more bizarre ending to Baltimore's 33-30 OT loss to the Cleveland Browns. Matt Stover capped a gritty comeback by hitting a 47-yard field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. The Ravens thought they won, 30-27, when Phil Dawson's 51-yard kick as time expired was ruled "no-good."
Ravens vs. Browns
The ball bounced off the curved support post and fell forward into the end zone, prompting officials to convene for nearly five minutes before they reversed the call. Many Ravens had to be brought back out of the locker room before Cleveland won the coin toss in overtime. The Browns needed just one possession before Dawson's 33-yard game-winner.
Baltimore overcame three turnovers in the opening quarter to head into halftime trailing 13-7. Ray Lewis took an interception 35 yards for the Ravens' first score. Kyle Boller began the second half by going 3-of-3 for 44 yards, and Willis McGahee capped the eight-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown.
Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson answered with a 1-yard sneak across the goal line and a Boller pick was returned 100 yards by Browns safety Brodney Pool for a touchdown. Boller shook off the pick to lead two fourth-quarter field goal drives - 34 and 41 yards from Stover - and tied the game at 27 by finding wideout Devard Darling for a 27-yard touchdown. When Boller got the ball back, he led the tying scoring drive.
Key Stat: Boller became the Ravens' all-time passing leader on a 22-of-41, 279-yard performance.
They said: "I guess it's like the in-out rule in basketball. If it goes in and comes back out it's good. Just the odds were against us. I don't know what those odds are, you're probably better off winning the lottery than seeing that happen again. I've never seen that happen before." - Jason Brown
Week 12 (Nov. 25, 2007): Chargers 32 - Ravens 14
Summary: Playing without several injured starters and other key contributors, a battered Ravens squad fell 32-14 to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Baltimore missed a quartet of Pro Bowlers: defensive tackle Trevor Pryce (IR), Chris McAlister (knee), tight end Todd Heap (thigh) and quarterback Steve McNair (shoulder). In addition, Marshal Yanda started at right tackle for Adam Terry (ankle).
Ravens at Chargers
The Ravens jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the second quarter on Willis McGahee's 1-yard touchdown run, but San Diego responded with 26 unanswered points fueled by quarterback Philip Rivers, who completed 25 of 35 for 249 yards and three touchdowns. In the 1st half, the Ravens gave up two fumbles that led to field goals, while tight end Antonio Gates broke away for 35- and 25-yard scoring catches.
Baltimore set up its initial scoring drive with a 57-yard kickoff return from rookie Yamon Figurs. Boller finished 21-of-33 for 191 yards and one touchdown, but fumbled on his own 30-yard line when he was hit by linebacker Shawne Merriman. Kaeding connected from 41 yards, and then Rivers hit wideout Chris Chambers with a 5-yard touchdown pass. When Mike Anderson fumbled the following kickoff return, Kaeding booted another FG with time expiring in the half.
Boller mounted an 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive in the third quarter that culminated in a 13-yard throw to FB Le'Ron McClain for the rookie's 1st-career touchdown, but it wasn't enough.
Key Stat: The Ravens held star running back LaDainian Tomlinson in check, with 36 of his 77 rushing yards coming on one 3rd-quarter run.
They said: "As a defense, my job as a leader is to just keep our heads up and keep running out there and play. But, you saw people start playing the nickel and dime game, take 3 yards here and 3 yards there. That gets frustrating, but as a team we just have to keep playing and not turn the ball over and give them short fields." - Ray Lewis
Week 13 (Dec. 3, 2007): Patriots 27 - Ravens 24
Summary: The Ravens did a lot of things right to beat the undefeated New England Patriots, but left M&T Bank Stadium on the wrong side of a 27-24 score. A last-minute touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to Jabar Gaffney beat the home team. And, even after Gaffney secured the 8-yard reception with 44 seconds remaining, the Ravens weren¹t finished. Kyle Boller¹s 52-yard heave was caught by Mark Clayton at New England¹s 3 as time expired.
Ravens vs. Patriots
Baltimore controlled possession behind Willis McGahee¹s 138 yards on 30 carries. The Ravens, who lost their sixth straight, held a 376-326 net yards advantage and limited the Patriots to a season-low third-down efficiency (2 of 12, 17%).
Baltimore set the tone with its defense, which kept the Patriots out of the end zone and forced a 21-yard field goal on the game¹s opening drive. Boller, who completed 15-of-23 for 210 yards, answered with a 53-yard pass to wideout Devard Darling - the Ravens' longest play of the season - that set up a 4-yard touchdown toss to Derrick Mason for a 7-3 lead. Matt Stover added a 29-yard field goal, but the Patriots knotted the score at 10 before the half.
McGahee carried the ball six times on an eight-play drive out of the break, capped with a gritty 17-yard touchdown run, his seventh consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. The teams then traded touchdowns, including a 1-yard Boller dart to Daniel Wilcox, while a 38-yard field goal from New England closed the margin to four points in the 4th quarter. The Patriots had to convert two fourth downs on the final series, when a debated defensive holding call on Jamaine Winborne led to Brady¹s game-winning touchdown pass.
Key Stat: The Ravens' defense rushed Brady for three sacks and held the NFL's Most Valuable Player to a 76.3 quarter rating (season worst).
They said: "We played pretty good tonight. But yes, there are still things that we can improve on. We know that we can play this way, and we should play this way every week. We have to use this as a stepping stone to get to where we want to be, because we know we can do it. We just played against one of the best teams in the NFL." - Kyle Boller