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(Sunday, September 20th)
Final Score: Baltimore 31, San Diego 26
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco was an efficient 17-for-26 passing with 190 yards and two scores and Willis McGahee ran for two TDs, as Baltimore earned a hard-fought 31-26 road victory against San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium.
McGahee gained 79 yards on 15 carries and Ray Rice posted 82 total yards on eight carries and five receptions out of the backfield.
Kelley Washington was the recipient of a 27-yard TD pass among a four-catch, 58-yard effort for the Ravens (2-0), who pulled away late for a 38-24 triumph over Kansas City in the season-opener.
Baltimore kept a balanced attack with a 181-130 air-to-ground split in yardage.
Philip Rivers threw for a whopping 436 yards and two touchdowns with a pair of interceptions on 25-of-45 attempts.
Darren Sproles started in place of the injured LaDainian Tomlinson and racked up 150 total yards, including 124 through the air on seven receptions with an 81-yard catch-and-run score.
Vincent Jackson caught six passes for 141 yards and a score while Antonio Gates totaled 78 yards on five grabs for the Chargers (1-1), who pulled out a nail-biter, 24-20, against divisional foe Oakland in Week 1.
In addition to Tomlinson, San Diego was without two starting offensive lineman with both center Nick Hardwick (ankle) and guard Louis Vazquez (knee) having been injured Monday in Oakland.
As a result, the Chargers were fairly one-dimensional with only 53 rushing yards.
"I knew we were going to get some extreme looks considering the changes we've had from an offensive line standpoint. I thought our guys handled most of the things extremely well," Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. "Obviously there were some things on both sides of the ball that we didn't handle as well as we needed to. There is a couple of plays you'd like to have back."
San Diego got the ball back with just under three minutes left and Rivers led the hosts downfield with a chance for the win. They got as far as the Baltimore 15 with 41 seconds to go, but Rivers' third-down pass fell incomplete and Ray Lewis shot the gap between center and guard to stuff Sproles on a crucial 4th-and-2 play to cement the win for the Ravens.
"When the game was on the line, as soon as Philip dropped down I shot out and he (Sproles) was there," said Lewis of his key stop. "For my teammates, I told them we would not lose this game. That was probably one of the greatest plays of my career, because of my team, because of what we did as a team. It wasn't a called blitz. I just read the play. You go from film study and nothing changes. They stay to their form. Early in the game, that same play."
The Ravens opened up a 28-16 advantage on Flacco's nine-yard TD pass to Todd Heap 6 1/2 minutes into the second half. The drive took only four plays after Rivers was intercepted by Dawan Landry at the Chargers' 30.
Rivers bounced back to lead a nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive on the next possession and found Jackson for a 35-yard TD strike to cut the gap to 28-23.
Flacco then tossed his lone pick of the game and Antoine Cason's 22-yard return to the San Diego 44 set up a nine-play drive that ended with Nate Kaeding's 25-yard field goal to bring the hosts within two.
Rivers' second interception came in a bad spot as Antwan Barnes gave the Ravens possession at the opponents' 13-yard-line. The Bolts' defense held, though, and Steven Hauschka's 33-yard kick split the uprights for a 31-26 lead and under three minutes to play.
The Chargers opened the scoring with a big play on Sproles' short reception that turned into an 81-yard score on the Bolts' second touch of the game. The Ravens responded with a 68-yard scoring march with McGahee finishing on a five-yard TD run.
Kaeding then kicked a 29-yard field goal to give San Diego a 10-7 lead after one quarter. McGahee's second scoring run came from three yards out and capped an 11-play, 78-yard Baltimore romp to go in front 14-10.
Kaeding kept it close with a 22-yard field goal, but Baltimore was back in the end zone just as quickly. Flacco completed passes of 12 and 14 yards to Derrick Mason before hooking up with Washington for a 27-yard touchdown a little over 1 1/2 minutes before halftime.
San Diego was able to move into field goal range for a true 23-yard Kaeding kick to make it a 21-16 Chargers deficit at the break.
Baltimore ended 4-of-11 on third-down conversions while San Diego converted 7- of-16...The Chargers outgained the Ravens 474-311...The Bolts also won the time of possession battle 31:19-28:41...Mason had three catches for 31 yards...The Ravens have now won four consecutive road games against AFC opponents...Heap caught a TD pass for the fourth straight game...Lewis led the Ravens in tackles with 10. Three of those were for a loss...Terrell Suggs registered 1 1/2 sacks in the win...San Diego's Eric Weddle had nine tackles.
09/20 21:13:52 ET