BALTIMORE (AP) – B.J. Sams proved to be more elusive than Michael Vick – and far more productive.

Sams returned six kicks for 212 yards, Jamal Lewis scored three touchdowns and the Baltimore Ravens wore down the Atlanta Falcons in the second half for a 24-10 victory Sunday.

It was the fourth straight victory for the Ravens (8-2), who failed to score before halftime against a short-handed Atlanta defense but rallied behind Sams, whose long runbacks set up two third-quarter touchdowns.

The Ravens then clinched it with an 87-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes. Lewis finished the 15-play march with a touchdown run with 3:02 left, giving Baltimore a 24-10 lead.

Lewis ran for 91 yards on 22 carries. The three touchdowns – on runs of 2, 16 and 5 yards – matched his career high.

Vick ran for 54 yards on six carries, but was sacked five times for 45 yards in losses and completed only 11 of 27 passes for 127 yards.

It was the third straight loss for the Falcons (5-5).

The Ravens played a second straight game without middle linebacker Ray Lewis (back), and were also without starting guard Keydrick Vincent. Atlanta’s defense was depleted by injuries to defensive ends John Abraham and Patrick Kerney, linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, and cornerbacks Jimmy Williams and Jason Webster.

Down 7-0 at halftime, the Ravens’ slumbering offense finally stirred during the opening series of the third quarter. A 42-yard pass from Steve McNair to Mark Clayton set up a 29-yard field goal by Matt Stover, who earlier had his run of 36 straight field goals end with a misfire from 42 yards out.

Baltimore then forced a punt, and Sams juked and stutter-stepped his way 59 yards to the Atlanta 17. Then, after Jamal Lewis caught a swing pass for 5 yards on a fourth-and-1, he scored from the 2 on third down to give the Ravens their first lead.

Morten Andersen answered with a 21-yard field goal to tie it at 10, but Sams took the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to the Atlanta 37. Three plays later, Lewis backed into the end zone to end a 16-yard run that put Baltimore ahead for good.

McNair went 24-for-34 for 236 yards.

Falcons coach Jim Mora gambled on the game’s first series, keeping his offense on the field on a fourth-and-1 from the Atlanta 39. Warrick Dunn was stuffed for a loss, but it didn’t cost the Falcons because Stover followed with his first miss since Oct. 31, 2005.

It foreshadowed a miserable half for the Ravens, who left the field to a chorus of jeers. Baltimore received four false-start penalties, gained 7 yards on nine rushing attempts and blew another chance to score when McNair followed a 65-yard punt return by Sams with a fumble at the Atlanta 14.

The only score of the first half came late in the first quarter, when a 36-yard punt return by Allen Rossum set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Vick to Michael Jenkins.

AP-ES-11-19-06 1602EST


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