BALTIMORE – It appears as though the Cincinnati Bengals have mastered the art of winning in Baltimore.

Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, Rudi Johnson ran for 97 yards and a score, and the Bengals kept the Ravens out of the end zone in a 21-9 victory.

Cincinnati (7-2) was nursing a 14-6 lead before Palmer capped a 91-yard drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Henry with 6:05 to go. That was enough of a cushion to dispatch the Ravens, whose lone points came on three field goals by Matt Stover.

The Bengals had lost seven straight in Baltimore until last year, when Palmer brought Cincinnati back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter. This time, the Bengals held the lead over the final 36 minutes, thanks to a defense that limited Baltimore to 240 yards.

Anthony Wright went 19-for-30 for 153 yards for the Ravens, whose flickering playoff hopes took another hit. Baltimore’s 2-6 start equals the worst in franchise history, matching the mark of the 1998 team.

Wright left the game in the third quarter with an injured left ankle after being tackled by John Thornton. Kordell Stewart came in and revived the Baltimore offense, running four times for 23 yards on a 13-play drive and even going out for a pass on a trick play.

The throw to Stewart, from wide receiver Randy Hymes, ticked off the quarterback’s fingertips. Minutes later, Stover kicked a 31-yard field goal to bring Baltimore to 14-9 with 12:46 left.

But Palmer answered with a 12-play march that included a 48-yard pass to Chad Johnson, who finished with five catches for 91 yards.

Wright returned the next series, but by then the Ravens were in too big of a hole.

Palmer went 19-for-26 for 248 yards. His other touchdown pass was an 8-yarder to rookie Tab Perry in the second quarter.

An inadvertent referee’s whistle cost Baltimore an apparent touchdown early in the third quarter with Cincinnati holding a 14-6 lead. Bengals tight end Matt Schobel fumbled when hit by Adalius Thomas, and Will Demps picked up the ball and went the distance.

But officials ruled the play dead as Demps picked up the ball at the Baltimore 42, and the Ravens went nowhere before punting.

The Bengals then had a touchdown pass from Palmer to Henry wiped out when a replay showed the receiver didn’t have possession before getting both feet down. Six plays later, Shayne Graham missed a 48-yard field goal try.

Baltimore outgained Cincinnati 160-138 in the first half, but the Bengals used a long drive and cashed in a turnover to take a 14-6 lead.

The Bengals advanced to the Baltimore 30 on their first possession before two straight sacks ruined the drive. Wright then ran for 22 yards during a 64-yard march that produced a 34-yard field goal.

A 1-yard touchdown run by Rudi Johnson put Cincinnati up 7-3 in the second quarter. Palmer was 4-for-5 for 52 yards during the 12-play, 80-yard drive.

Todd Heap lost a fumble on the third play after the kickoff, and the Bengals recovered on the Baltimore 31. Four straight runs by Johnson moved the ball to the 8, where Palmer flipped a shovel pass to Perry, who scored his first NFL touchdown on his second reception of the season.

The Ravens closed to 14-6 when Stover ended a beat-the-clock march with a 32-yard field goal.

AP-ES-11-06-05 1616EST


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