Ravens-Jags. 5 Reasons for the outcome.

1. The Baltimore Ravens aren't advocates of style points. True to form, the Ravens escaped with a 24-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars by exploiting rookie quarterback Byron Leftwich. The player Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome targeted in a draft-day trade attempt that was blocked by a busy telephone signal had his moments driving the 1-7 Jaguars.

However, the young pocket passer was ultimately victimized for an interception and three fumbles, losing two. Plus, the Ravens generated a pass rush without requiring too much in the way of gimmicks from defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. The Ravens kept Leftwich from gaining a consistent comfort zone in the pocket. Committing less penalties than the previous two weeks along with Matt Stover's three field goals helped Baltimore (5-3) achieve a winning record in the first half of the season. 

2. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' diving interception off a pass deflected by safety Will Demps was reviewed by the instant replay official with one minute remaining. Unlike the last two weeks when Baltimore was on the losing end of challenges that infuriated coach Brian Billick, this one ended with both Demps' deflection and Lewis' interception being upheld. That allowed rookie quarterback Kyle Boller to kneel twice to end the football game. Lewis finished with a game-high 14 tackles in leading a bend-but-don't-break defense that had its hands full with elusive Jacksonville runner Fred Taylor. Taylor gained 78 yards on 22 carries and caught six passes for 30 yards, but he never scored.

3. Although Boller's accuracy lapsed after a fast start, as he completed only four of his 12 passes in the second half, he did help stake Baltimore to an early lead with a 33-yard touchdown pass to tight end Todd Heap on the opening drive. Boller completed all three of his passes on the drive, but finished 10-of-23 for 156 yards, a touchdown, an interception and a 63.0 quarterback rating.

4. On a day when NFL rushing leader Jamal Lewis was limited to 68 yards because of a stingy Jacksonville defense and the Ravens' curious play-calling, backup running back Chester Taylor's 29-yard scamper for a touchdown in the second half was critical.

5. Return specialist and reserve defensive back Lamont Brightful was activated because cornerback Corey Fuller was unable to play because of an injury. Regaining his old job for at least one day in front of newcomer Dedric Ward, Brightful returned three kickoffs for 101 yards with a 58-yard return to give the Ravens excellent field position.
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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