The throw to Stewart, from wide receiver Randy Hymes, nicked off the quarterback's outstretched hands. As usual, the Ravens had to settle for Stover's 31-yard field goal to close within 14-9 with 12:46 left in the game.

The Bengals then sealed their second straight win in Baltimore with a 12-play, 91-yard drive that included a 48-yard throw to Chad Johnson and a 3-yard touchdown pass to Chris Henry. Cincinnati converted three third downs that drive and finished 7-for-11 on third downs for the game.

The Bengals' first touchdown drive went for 80 yards on 12 plays, which was capped by Rudi Johnson's 1-yard run. Their second was helped by tight end Todd Heap's fumble at the Ravens' 31, which led to Tab Perry's 8-yard touchdown catch.

"Getting teams off the field on third down is something we pride ourselves on; we've got to get better at it," said linebacker Bart Scott, whose two penalties aided Cincinnati's first touchdown drive. "They made the plays and we didn't."

The defense can't even rely on the one former constant on offense. Running back Jamal Lewis, who had gained 100 yards in each of his seven games against Cincinnati, finished with 49 on 15 carries, a 3.3-yard average.

With Lewis stuck in his season-long rut, the Ravens had to turn frequently to Wright. He was 19-for-30 passing for 153 yards but was 2-for-8 for 8 yards (not including one spike) in the red zone.

Wright said defenses are dropping off all of their defensive backs and middle linebackers into the end zone, forcing him to throw underneath, where receivers have been getting stopped short of the goal line.

As a result, the Ravens have been held to one or no touchdowns in seven of eight games this season. Now, with Kyle Boller suiting up yesterday, Wright could soon be returning to the bench.

"I am very frustrated," Wright said. "This is one of the most frustrating years I have had in a long time."

With the playoffs a pipe dream, the Ravens must find a way to end their longest losing streak since 2000. It also marks their worst record since 1998, the season the Ravens fired coach Ted Marchibroda.

"At 2-6, history says we might as well pack our bags and go home. But that's not what we're going to do," left guard Edwin Mulitalo said. "We just have to come back, work hard and stick together. If we start turning on each other, it's just going to be a longer season."
No-TD zone

Once again, the Ravens' trips into the red zone failed to produce touchdowns. On four trips inside the Bengals' 20-yard line, the Ravens came away with only nine points.

Quarter, Yard line, Plays, Yards, Result
First, Bengals' 17, 2, 1, Stover 34 FG
Second, Bengals' 14, 3, 0, Stover 32 FG
Fourth, Bengals' 15, 3, 3, Stover 31 FG
Fourth, Bengals' 14, 8, 1, Lost on downs

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com