1. The Baltimore Ravens’ 22-3 victory over the winless St. Louis Rams on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium was punctuated by six turnovers to tie a team record, including a franchise-record five interceptions from defensive backs Chris McAlister, Derrick Martin, Ed Reed and Corey Ivy with even defensive end Dwan Edwards notching one off a deflected pass. Baltimore’s fourth-ranked defense (4-2) victimized an extremely shorthanded Rams offense (0-6), shutting down their running game for just 67 net rushing yards on 27 carries for a 2.5 average per carry. The Rams were playing without starting quarterback Marc Bulger, All-Pro left tackle Orlando Pace, star running back Steven Jackson and wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Dante Hall. This marks the Ravens’ 100th win in franchise history, including playoff victories.
2. This game would have degenerated into a full-scale rout if not for the Ravens following their tradition of botching things in the red zone. They went 1-for-5 inside the Rams’ 20-yard line after entering the game ranked 28th overall in red-zone scoring. Willis McGahee’s touchdown run broke a streak of 18 series without a touchdown. Veteran kicker Matt Stover booted five field goals, including kicks from 43, 42, 23, 31 and 36 yards to tie a career-high and a Ravens team record.
3. The Ravens nearly knocked beleaguered Rams backup quarterback Gus Frerotte out of the game, sacking him four times. They continually harassed Frerotte, holding him to 19 of 36 accuracy for 208 yards and a 30.6 rating. Nose guard Kelly Gregg was particularly impressive, recording a sack for the second week in a row and recovering a fumble. Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs registered his first sack of the year, his first since the final game of last year. Plus, defensive tackles Justin Bannan and Haloti Ngata picked up sacks.
4. Despite starting quarterback Steve McNair being scratched with a tight back and a lingering groin pull, the offense managed to keep dinking and dunking down the field with a few longer strikes mixed in throughout, including 34 and 28-yard completions. Backup quarterback Kyle Boller completed 18 of 30 passes for 184 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a 63.8 rating. He’s scheduled to start next week so McNair can get three weeks to rest, including the bye, prior to the Ravens’ Nov. 5 Monday night game against the AFC North division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
5. McGahee only rushed for 61 yards, but did bust into the end zone on the ground for the first time since joining the Ravens in an offseason trade. It represents the Ravens’ sixth offensive touchdown in six games.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
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