The Ravens' tempers flared up throughout the game, as they received four penalties for poor conduct. Tony Pashos, Jonathan Ogden, Chris McAlister and even coach Brian Billick all received flags.

"The key for us at halftime was protecting the football and not killing ourselves with penalties," said McNair, who finished 29-for-47 passing. "I think we led the league in personal fouls today. The thing about it is we overcame them. That's the sign of a great football team."

McNair had his own problems to rectify. He stepped out of the end zone for a safety in the first quarter and threw two interceptions.

But McNair always seemed to answer with a big play, from the 65-yard touchdown to Mark Clayton in the first quarter to the 30- yard touchdown to fullback Ovie Mughelli in the second quarter.

"His demeanor never ceases to amaze me," Billick said. "I've never seen anyone with such amazing calmness."

McNair's third game-winning drive was short and succinct. Starting at midfield with 5:09 left in the game, McNair marched the Ravens into the end zone on four plays, the biggest coming on a 34-yard pass to rookie Demetrius Williams.

McNair then found a wide-open Mason in the end zone for their first touchdown connection as Ravens. The Ravens had Todd Heap running shallow in the end zone, which caused the safety to bite on the tight end and leave Mason running uncovered behind.

"It was a play that was meant to happen," Mason said.

After the teams traded punts, the Titans crossed into Ravens territory for the first time in the second half on their final possession. A 17-yard scramble by rookie quarterback Vince Young essentially put Tennessee in field-goal range.

Before the kick, defensive tackle Justin Bannan asked Pryce what to do. Pryce, the free-agent addition from the Broncos, replied, "Run over the guy in front of you."

Said the 6-foot-5 Pryce after the game: "I just have long arms, but Justin made the play. He cleared everybody out. I felt like nobody touched me."

The Ravens are close to becoming untouchable in their division. With a three-game lead and only seven games remaining, the Ravens are quickly closing in on their first division title since 2003.

"We couldn't allow this game slip away. For us to get this win was crucial," Mason said. "We just want this team to look forward and put ourselves in position where everybody - not just in our division - but everybody in the AFC is chasing us."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com