Bengals finish strong
Fourth-quarter rally jolts Ravens
BALTIMORE -- First, Carson Palmer tossed the ball all over the field during his finest day in the NFL.
Then, after leading the Cincinnati Bengals to an improbable comeback victory, he delved out the credit to everyone around him in the locker room.
Palmer threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and the Bengals rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 27-26, yesterday.
Shayne Graham kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Bengals their first win in Baltimore in eight tries since 1996.
"It was important to do this against a division team, and to exorcise another demon here today," said Bengals second-year coach Marvin Lewis, who was Baltimore's defensive coordinator from 1996-2001.
It was also Cincinnati's first road victory against a team with a winning record since 1990, and marked the second-biggest comeback on the road in franchise history -- second only to an 18-point rally in 1996 against Baltimore. The Bengals face a stiffer road test next weekend when they visit the Patriots.
Matt Stover's fourth field goal put the Ravens up, 26-24, with 1:42 left, but Palmer calmly drove Cincinnati (6-6) into position for the winning kick, covering 60 yards in seven plays.
Palmer went 29 for 36 for a career-high 382 yards. T.J. Houshmandzadeh had 10 catches for 171 yards and Chad Johnson 161 yards on 10 receptions.
"T.J. was making plays. Chad was making plays," Palmer said. "And when you give your quarterback a chance to throw the ball like that, against probably the best front seven in this game, those guys are going to get open. The O-line played lights out, and we ended up winning."
After scoring 58 points one week earlier against Cleveland, the Bengals mustered only a field goal for three quarters. But Palmer brought Cincinnati back.
Chester Taylor ran for 139 yards and a touchdown in place of the injured Jamal Lewis, but it wasn't enough for the Ravens (7-5). The loss all but ended Baltimore's bid to repeat as AFC North champions and endangered its chances of reaching the playoffs as a wild-card team.