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Baltimore 38, Cincinnati 27

Nov. 10, 2002 at 6:21 PM   |   Comments

BALTIMORE, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Jeff Blake completed 16 of 24 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown and Baltimore's defense came up with three interceptions Sunday in carrying the Ravens to a 37-28 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Cincinnati's Jon Kitna completed 13 consecutive passes in the second and third quarters as the Bengals put up an early fight, but his interceptions led to two Baltimore touchdowns.

"It was frustrating," said Kitna, who threw two touchdown passes. "I wish I would've played a little better."

The Bengals (1-8) also gave up a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter when rookie Lamont Brightful found the end zone for the first time in his NFL career. It was the longest punt return in Ravens history, the longest ever against the Bengals and the longest in the NFL this season.

"I knew I had a chance to have a good return," Brightful said. "I saw the guys double-team on the outside guy and I saw Ed Reed coming back for (the block). I just made the decision to cut in from the angle and took it from there."

Cincinnati's Corey Dillon, meanwhile, carried 21 times for 102 yards to surpass 7,000 yards for his career (7,005). The star running back also caught five passes for 48 yards.

Before this game, Blake had completed the last Cincinnati touchdown pass at Baltimore, a strike to Carl Pickens in 1998. The Bengals had not scored on the road against the Ravens since then and have not won in Baltimore since 1996.

Cincinnati, which recorded its first win of the season last week in Houston, has not won back-to-back road games since 1995.

Jamal Lewis ran roughshod over the Cincinnati defensive line, carrying 21 times for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also set up Blake's one-yard touchdown pass to Travis Taylor with five carries for 28 yards on the nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive.

"They were getting us stunting and getting the defense cutting and we weren't getting the thing played right," Bengals Coach Dick LeBeau said of his team's run defense.

Lewis got off to a strong start, scoring on a one-yard run to cap Baltimore's opening nine-play, 74-yard drive. By the end of the day, he had passed Priest Holmes as the Ravens' all-time leading rusher with 2,145 yards.

Baltimore (4-5) avoided a third consecutive loss by posting its largest point total of the season. The Ravens stand a game and a half behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

Rookie safety Ed Reed had two interceptions for Baltimore, but suffered some embarrassment in the first quarter when he fumbled on his way into the end zone. Reed held the ball out in a premature celebration and allowed Cincinnati receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh to knock the ball out of his hand and regain possession for the Bengals.

"I was like a kid in a candy store with no money," Reed said. "You want the candy but you just can't get it. The ball went up and I looked back but not all the way. The guy just came up behind me, but I have to be smarter."

Reed made sure to take care of the ball on his second interception, which he returned 21 yards to the Cincinnati 19 to set up Lewis' second touchdown.

The Bengals' eighth loss ensured that Cincinnati will not have its first winning season since 1990. Since falling to the Los Angeles Raiders in that season's AFC divisional playoff, the Bengals are 54-131.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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