ST. LOUIS - Although the Ravens' defense pulled the plug on "The Greatest Show on Turf," the team's offense became the main source of the St. Louis Rams' electricity last night.
Four of the Ravens' seven turnovers led to 20 points as they bowed to the Rams in a wild 33-22 loss before 66,085 at Edward Jones Dome and a national television audience.
NFL's top-ranked offense without a first down on seven straight series.
But the Ravens' sloppiness lost them more than a two-game lead in the AFC North. Rookie quarterback Kyle Boller sprained his left knee in an accidental collision and did not play the second half. His status will be evaluated today when he undergoes a magnetic resonance imaging test in Baltimore.
With or without Boller, the story line remained the same for the Ravens, who tied a team record by turning the ball over seven times. With four by the Rams, the 11 total turnovers were a high for an NFL game this season.
"It's very disappointing to lose like that with the mistakes," coach Brian Billick said. "I thought the team showed incredible resiliency on the road through all the things we made happen and didn't make happen. We'll come back and fight through it."
The Ravens (5-4) remain in first place in the AFC North but saw their lead dwindle to one game over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Rams (6-3) won their 11th straight game at home, the longest streak in the NFL.
The tone was set on the first drive that featured 20- and 23-yard runs by Jamal Lewis and ended with an interception by Boller. The entire night was a series of one step forward and one stumble back.
Boller finished with one interception and a fumble, both of which were converted into touchdowns. Seeing his first extensive action this season, backup quarterback Chris Redman threw two interceptions, fumbled once and was sacked five times.
Even the offense's foundation, Jamal Lewis, cracked at critical times. The NFL's leading rusher had 111 yards on 27 carries for his seventh 100-yard game, but he also lost two fumbles.
One came deep in Rams territory and another led to Jeff Wilkins' 48-yard field goal that put the Rams ahead 30-22 with 5:25 to play. It marked the first fumbles Lewis had lost since the season opener.
"He can't do it and he knows that," Billick said. "He will do everything not to do it again."
To make matters worse, a Ravens offense that re-established its rhythm in the red zone near the end of the first half - which included a 1-yard toss to offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden - was thrown off-course when Boller was sidelined after halftime. The first-round pick banged knees with fullback Alan Ricard with 3 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter.
Boller, who was 10-for-21 for 112 yards, played out the rest of the quarter but his left knee stiffened during halftime.
"I'm definitely worried," Boller said. "Any time you get an injury like this, especially with a knee, you want to make sure it's going to be all right."
Redman looked like a quarterback who had thrown just one pass this season. He was 7-for-12 for 58 yards.
"Obviously, I struggled and turned the ball over too many times," Redman said. "I have to keep fighting and push through it and put it behind me. It was a rough start, but you can't find any excuses. You have to keep moving on."
Despite the haphazard quarterback change, the Ravens took their first lead of the game early in the third quarter, when Chester Taylor forced Rams punt returner DeJuan Groce to fumble at the St. Louis 28. In what was a sign to come, the Ravens sputtered with the prime opportunity but still went ahead 22-21 on a 41-yard field goal by Matt Stover.
The first lapse in the second half by the Ravens' defense cost it. After failing to get a first down on seven consecutive drives, St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger hit Dane Looker for a 24-yard pass, setting up a 49-yard field goal by Wilkins that pushed the Rams back ahead 24-22 to start the fourth quarter.
Rams 33, Ravens 22