"The crazy thing is ... it happened again today," Rolle said.
The Ravens never reached the end zone again but their offense dominated the time of possession (37:24 to 22:36).
Johnathan Joseph nearly intercepted quarterback Steve McNair with no one between him and the end zone. But receiver Derrick Mason came from behind and threw Joseph down, forcing him to drop the ball.
"We wanted to jump on these guys fast and then control the ball, keeping their offense off the field," said McNair, who finished 21-for-31 for 245 yards and needed three stitches on his chin for a hit that occurred on a key 10-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. "I think our offense did a great job of getting first down after first down. That was our goal today."
The defense's goal was to eliminate the big plays, which popped up once again.
Palmer hit Houshmandzadeh for a 26-yard touchdown in the second quarter and then found Chris Henry for a 71-yard pass in the fourth quarter. The longest play of the game set up Rudi Johnson's 4-yard touchdown (which closed the deficit to 23-17) and caused some concern for the Ravens.
The Ravens had thought Henry had fumbled the ball, and on the return, two NFL Defensive Players of the Year (Lewis and Reed) lay on the ground injured.
Reed bruised his leg. Lewis, who got pushed back into the end zone by Johnson on the next play, took a knee from Reed on his spine and said he lost some feeling in his body.
Both expect to play Sunday.
"I'm healthy and I can walk," Lewis said, "so everything is good."
With their best record at the midway point in team history, the Ravens are in excellent shape heading into the second half of the season, even though their strangely subdued locker room would suggest otherwise.
"Don't get me wrong, we're happy about getting a win but we're very cognizant of the fact that we need to keep improving," offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden said. "We've got to be able to get that killer instinct and finish [these games] off."
Ravens 26, Bengals 20