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McNair Rallies Ravens to Win

October 02, 2006|From the Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens have a new formula for success: Keep the game close enough for Steve McNair to win it at the end.

McNair rallied the unbeaten Ravens for a second straight week Sunday, throwing a 10-yard pass to Todd Heap with 34 seconds left to defeat the San Diego Chargers, 16-13, at Baltimore.

In years past, the Ravens depended on their defense to quash the opposition, leaving the offense to do little else but avoid giving the ball away. Now that McNair is at quarterback, late-game heroics are becoming the standard.

One week earlier, McNair struggled before engineering a late drive that produced a field goal and a 15-14 win over Cleveland. He did very little against the Chargers (2-1), either, until it mattered most.

"There was no doubt in my mind we would win this game when No. 9 went out there," said Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle, who played with McNair in Tennessee. "He's been through everything you can be through as a quarterback. He's been MVP. He's been in the Super Bowl. He's just got it."

Showing precisely why they obtained him in an off-season trade with the Titans, McNair went four for five for 43 yards and ran once for 12 yards during the final drive, which began after San Diego intentionally took a safety with 3:12 to go.

"The defense gave us the opportunity by keeping it within six points," McNair said. "We knew if they gave us the opportunity, we have the confidence in ourselves to get the job done."

McNair never faced a third down during the march. After a 17-yard pass to Mark Clayton got the ball to the San Diego 35, McNair ran to the 23 and completed a 13-yarder to Clayton.

The Ravens (4-0) never led until Heap bulled his way over the goal line with linebacker Shawne Merriman in tow.

New England 38, Cincinnati 13 -- Laurence Maroney ran for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Patriots (3-1) to a rout at Cincinnati.

Maroney stiff-armed his way through the Bengals (3-1) on touchdown runs of 11 and 25 yards that set the tone. Quarterback Tom Brady, frustrated the previous Sunday in a loss to Denver, completed 15 of 26 passes for 188 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.

Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked four times and lost a pair of second-half fumbles that set up touchdowns. Palmer was 20 of 35 for 245 yards in his least productive showing since he returned from a major knee injury.

Houston 17, Miami 15 -- No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams finally got a sack, and the Texans (1-3) got their first victory by beating the visiting Dolphins (1-3).

David Carr scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard run, and Houston survived a late rally by Miami for the win.

The Dolphins trailed 17-9 when Daunte Culpepper found Chris Chambers for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:39 to go. Miami went for the two-point conversion, but the pass by running back Ronnie Brown was tipped by Williams and sailed over Chambers' head.

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