The Ravens responded on the ensuing kickoff, which was brought back 64 yards by returner B.J. Sams. Trimming the Colts' lead to 20-10, the Ravens converted on fourth down twice, including a 13-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Kyle Boller to tight end Todd Heap.

After the Ravens stopped Indianapolis on another three-and-out, they were driving again and moved to the Colts' 38 where they faced a fourth-and-seven. Rookie Clarence Moore, who stands 6 feet 6 and weighs 211 pounds, had the first-down catch in his hands but dropped it when hit by 5-8, 168-pound cornerback Jason David.

Their final possession ended in more frustration when Colts linebacker Cato June picked off Boller's fourth-down pass and returned it 71 yards to the Ravens' 4 with a minute left.

The only suspense left was whether Manning would tie the record. But the crowd of 57,240 booed when he knelt down twice, running out the clock.

"That's the right way to play," said Manning, who has 47 touchdown passes this season. "If they were to call a timeout right there, maybe it'd be a little bit different. They were kind of conceding that the game was over."

The Ravens, though, responded to adversity early, rebounding from a poor opening series that allowed the Colts to jump to a 3-0 lead. Lewis' 47-yard burst (his second-longest of the season) helped the Ravens tie the game early in the second quarter.

It appeared the Ravens were in control of the game late in the second quarter and were in position to take the lead going into halftime. Instead, they unraveled in the final two minutes of the half and left trailing.

Boller's 33-yard strike to Travis Taylor down the middle of the field got the Ravens into field-goal range. But end Dwight Freeney, who just outran All-Pro tackle Jonathan Ogden on the edge and delivered countless quarterback pressures, sacked Boller 9 yards behind the line and forced the Ravens to punt.

In one of his most irate moments of the season, Billick screamed as his offensive players came to the sideline.

"It was a mental error," Billick said. "It put us in jeopardy."

After the Ravens' defense managed another three-and-out, their offense had another shot to redeem itself. Boller, though, was intercepted on an overthrown pass and Indianapolis safety Mike Doss returned it 32 yards to midfield with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

Manning then hit tight end Marcus Pollard, who went free down the seam past dime back Chad Williams, for a 31-yard pass and the Colts called a timeout with five seconds left. Vanderjagt's 33-yarder gave Indianapolis a 6-3 halftime advantage.

It was plays like those that swung the momentum and put the Ravens in a tough - but not impossible - position to make the playoffs. With such a logjam for the final spot, they'll likely have to win their final two games.

"It's very disappointing," Baxter said of the loss. "We competed to the last minute and we came up short. It's not over yet. I would like to see them again [in the playoffs] and it looks like it might be possible."
Down the stretch

Here's a look at the remaining schedules for the five teams in the mix for the two AFC wild-card spots.

Team (W-L) AFC Week 16, Week 17
N.Y. Jets (10-4) 7-4 N.E. (12-1), at St. L. (6-8)
Ravens (8-6) 5-5 at Pit. (13-1), Mia. (2-11)
Denver (8-6) 5-5 at Ten. (4-10), Ind. (11-3)