Redskins pick off Ravens
Banks' interception near end of first half is turning point; No TDs in past 3 games; Davis: 33-yard TD run; Ravens out of 1st place
LANDOVER - The road trip finally ended for the Ravens yesterday, but the drought didn't.
One more time, the red zone turned into the Bermuda Triangle. One more time, the end zone was a forbidden paradise. One more time, quarterback Tony Banks was left to explain how all those high-priced offensive weapons disappeared under a cloud of mistakes.
And there was no explaining a 10-3 loss to the Washington Redskins before 83,252 at FedEx Field.
It was a game that boiled down to two plays - one that Redskins running back Stephen Davis made and one that Banks didn't.
When Davis ran through a gaping hole on the right side of the Ravens' defensive line - and through safety Rod Woodson - early in the fourth quarter for a 33-yard touchdown, the Ravens (5-2) relinquished their hold on first place in the AFC Central Division.
When Banks threw an interception on the goal line at the end of the first half, it sent the offense spiraling toward its third straight performance - all road games - without a touchdown.
The Ravens haven't reached the end zone since the fourth quarter of a Sept. 24 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals. The drought spans 13 quarters, 186 minutes, 39 seconds of clock time and 36 possessions. It's the longest current dry spell in the NFL.
More? The Ravens have scored one touchdown in five road games this season, none in the past four.
"This here is ridiculous," said tight end Shannon Sharpe, one of the Ravens' expensive off-season additions. "I'm very disappointed. I just told Tony, 'You're going to get all the blame, and you have to understand that. But you can't get down on yourself.' "
The Ravens acknowledged confusion on a stunt call that opened the gate for Davis' touchdown run. Banks' mistake was much more obvious, and painful. But the end-of-the-half sequence was hardly all his fault. Poor clock management was also a contributing factor.
The Ravens got the ball with 2:57 left in the first half when linebacker Jamie Sharper forced a Davis fumble and cornerback Chris McAlister recovered at the Redskins' 42.
After Banks ad-libbed a 10-yard run, running back Jamal Lewis got the call on the next four plays to reach the 10-yard line, where the Ravens called their first timeout with 56 seconds left. They got just two plays off in the next 46 seconds, though. There was a 2-yard loss for Lewis, then a pass-interference call against Washington's Matt Stevens in the end zone.
On first-and-goal from the 1 with 10 seconds left, Banks threw over the middle for Sharpe, but found linebacker Kevin Mitchell instead for a drive-killing interception, the first of Mitchell's six-year career.
Billick said he eschewed a run because of the amount of time left.
The play sent in was a pass to wide receiver Travis Taylor, who was covered. Sharpe was the third read, a "last resort," Sharpe said.
"I saw Sharpe, and I thought I had a little seam, but obviously I didn't. Coach Billick tells me constantly not to throw a flat ball down there, and I threw a flat ball," Banks said.
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