The Ravens gave up 255 pass yards to Philip Rivers in the first half today, but the defense came up big when it had to. Three times the Chargers had the ball inside the Ravens' 6 and got only a field goal each time.
The Ravens used two rush touchdowns by Willis McGahee and a 27-yard TD catch by an uncovered Kelley Washington to take a 21-16 lead into the break.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 118 yards, hitting 10 of 14 passes, but his numbers were dwarfed by Rivers, who completed 12 of 22 for 255. The Ravens gave up completions of 22, 37, 45 and 81 yards in the half.
As feared, Darren Sproles gouged the Ravens for big plays. He slipped into the flat on San Diego's second series, and took Rivers' pass for an 81-yard touchdown, outrunning Fabian Washington and turning Ed Reed around. The Chargers had been backed up inside their own 1 on the series.
The Chargers had a first down at the Ravens' 5 later in the first quarter, but a sack by Haloti Ngata lost 10 yards and they settled for a field goal.
Two series later, San Diego had first-and-goal at the 2, but Sproles lost two yards on a rush and a catch. The Ravens came with a full blitz on third down and Rivers threw incomplete. Then came Nate Kaeding's second field goal.
The Chargers reached the 1 at the end of the half on a 24-yard pass to Vince Jackson, who beat Fabian Washington. But a huge delay of game penalty and two incompletions forced coach Norv Turner to opt for a field goal with 10 seconds left.
In contrast to the Ravens, who threw short passes to the sideline, Rivers went deep often. But the Chargers' missed opportunities loomed large at the half.