KANSAS CITY -- If theres a silver lining to the Ravens 9-6 win vs. the Kansas City Chiefs its that they have their first win on the road and that when all else failed with the no-huddle offense it was running back Ray Rice who bailed them out.
Rice, who sometimes disappears in the running game because of the new emphasis on passing more and earlier in possessions, went silent after a productive first quarter when he gained 49 yards on five carries.
On the Ravens final drive at their own 15-yard line, quarterback Joe Flacco scrambled for a 16-yard gain on third-and-15 to extend a drive. Then, Rice ran the ball three times in a row after that, securing a first down, as the Ravens were able to kill the clock and escape 4-1 and with their first road victory.
Im glad we were able to keep it in our hands, end the game, running the ball, said Rice, who finished with 102 yards on 17 carries. It felt good to know that we ran the ball.
The Ravens didnt have much choice because Flacco couldnt find a rhythm. He was sacked four times. He completed just 13 of 27 passes for 187 yards, didnt throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season and had an interception en route to a 55.6 passer rating.
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker went 3-for-3 on field goals to give Baltimore its only points.
The defense deserved the credit, forcing the Chiefs into four turnovers to neutralize running back Jamaal Charles' impact of 140 yards on 30 carries. They've forced 12 turnovers for the season.
In the first half alone, Charles had 20 carries for 125 but the Ravens made subtle adjustments to prevent him from making game-changing plays and extending drives.
We found a way to keep them out of the end zone, coach John Harbaugh said. They had three points at halftime. Our defensive coaches did a tremendous job. They did an adjustment with all of our fronts. It just made a big difference for us.
It wasnt that we were being blocked. We werent just getting off blocks at the right time. Hes was a little quicker through the hole than some backs that you see. Our timing wasnt quite right. We cleaned it up a little bit. We changed our fronts.
That meant mistake-prone Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel had to win the game rather than just manage it. He had 10 of his teams NFL-high 15 turnovers coming into the game.
Cassel finished 9-for-15 for just 92 yards and two interceptions before being knocked out with a head injury in the fourth quarter.
Cassel also was credited with two fumbles, with the most costly one coming at the Ravens goal line to start third quarter and the Chiefs ready to break a 3-3 tie. Ravens safety Ed Reed recovered the botched snap in the end zone.
Later in the quarter, after Flacco was intercepted Brandon Flowers, Cassel was intercepted by Cary Williams with the ball at Baltimores 37.
The much-maligned defense, which has come under fierce criticism for being just 23rd overall in the league, couldn't have picked a better time to step up because the Ravens' offense stagnated away from home.
In fact, it hasn't scored a touchdown therein six quarters going back to a Week 2 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles 24.23. In that game, Tucker made two second-half field goals to give Baltimore its only points as it lost a 17-7 lead.
They play at home next Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, and even though they're sitting atop the AFC North there's a lot to fix.
In the end we got the W, cornerback Lardarius Webb said. Thats what counts most.