BALTIMORE (AP) – It would have been a wonderful story of redemption: Kyle Boller taking over for an injured Steve McNair and leading the Baltimore Ravens to victory. Jake Delhomme would have none of it.

Delhomme threw for a career-high 365 yards and two touchdowns, and Carolina slipped past the Ravens 23-21 for its fourth straight win.

Steve Smith had eight catches for 189 yards and a touchdown, and John Kasay kicked three field goals for Carolina (4-2). The Panthers limited Baltimore (4-2) to 80 yards rushing – the fourth straight game they held the opposition under 100 yards on the ground.

Boller entered in the first quarter after McNair sustained a concussion and sprained neck while being sacked by Michael Rucker and Chris Draft.

Boller had been Baltimore’s starter for three years before the Ravens traded for McNair, who was immediately made the starting quarterback upon joining the team in June.

McNair experienced mixed results in his first five games, but did manage to mount a pair of fourth-quarter drives that helped Baltimore get off to a 4-0 start. None of that mattered after the 12-year veteran left Sunday, leaving Boller to confront a strong Carolina defense.

Boller went 17-for-31 for 226 yards and three touchdowns, two on deflected passes that Mark Clayton turned into scores. But Boller couldn’t do enough to offset Delhomme’s brilliant performance.

Boller threw a touchdown pass in the second quarter to give Baltimore a 7-3 lead, but Delhomme answered with a touchdown drive to put Carolina ahead to stay.

After Boller threw a 62-yard TD pass to Clayton to bring the Ravens to 16-14 with 4:33 to go, Delhomme tossed a 72-yard touchdown pass to Smith. A 7-yard pass from Boller to Todd Heap made it 23-21 with 2:13 left, but Baltimore never got the ball back.

Delhomme completed 24 of 39 passes and threw two harmless interceptions.

Kasay kicked field goals of 21, 31 and 21 yards. The last one made it 16-7 and concluded a 91-yard drive in which Delhomme completed passes of 31 and 18 yards to Smith.

On his third drive, Boller took the Ravens 73 yards in 13 plays and threw his first touchdown pass since Christmas. Boller ran for 3 yards on a fourth-down play before Clayton caught a deflected 14-yard pass in the end zone for a 7-3 lead.

Delhomme responded with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Drew Carter, who got behind Samari Rolle and caught the pass in stride at the goal line.

Kasay kicked a 31-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the half to make it 13-7.

The Panthers’ first possession ended in an interception by rookie Dawan Landry, ending Delhomme’s club-record streak of passes without being picked off at 150.

McNair was then intercepted by Colin Branch at the Carolina 38, and Delhomme completed passes of 32 and 16 yards to Smith before Kasay kicked a field goal.

McNair went 2-for-4 for 4 yards and an interception.

AP-ES-10-15-06 1623EDT


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