BALTIMORE — 5 Keys to the Game:
1. In a virtual duplication of his late-game heroics last week in Cleveland, quarterback Steve McNair engineered another game-winning drive. In the Ravens’ 16-13 victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium, McNair sputtered again for the majority of the game with two interceptions. However, the former NFL Co-Most Valuable Player was efficient when it counted with 4 of 5 accuracy for 43 yards on the decisive drive, including his 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Todd Heap.
2. Although Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson gained 98 yards on 27 carries, he rarely made a distinctive impact other than a 29-yard run. The Ravens kept him bottled up for the most part and didn’t allow him to go the distance.
3. The Ravens limited All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates to four catches for 43 yards with linebacker Bart Scott [15 tackles] intercepting a Philip Rivers pass intended for Gates in the first half and returning it 24 yards.
4. The Ravens benefited heavily from the Chargers’ special-teams gaffes. After San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding booted a career-long 54-yarder, he flubbed a 40-yard try and had a botched snap derail his 52-yarder. Plus, punter Mike Scifres was ordered by coach Marty Schottenheimer to run out of the back of the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter after several penalties backed the Chargers up to their goal line.
5. The Ravens managed to win without a running game. Starter Jamal Lewis gained a season-low 34 yards on 15 carries as Baltimore managed just 56 yards on 21 carries against the Chargers’ top-ranked defense.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.