The Baltimore Ravens climbed back on the quarterback carousel tonight. Unable to find a productive leader for their offense, the Ravens tried their third quarterback of the season, and to little avail.
Backup Tony Banks, replacing an ineffective Stoney Case, engineered the Ravens' only scoring drive, but the points came too late in a 35-8 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs before a crowd of 68,771 at PSINet Stadium.
The Ravens (2-4) were held scoreless until running back Errict Rhett scored on a two-yard run with 4 minutes 5 seconds remaining in the game. Fullback Chuck Evans ran in the two-point conversion.
Before Rhett's score, Kansas City (4-2) had accumulated a 28-0 lead. The Chiefs completed the scoring when former Ravens running back Bam Morris rushed for a one-yard touchdown with 2:30 left in the game.
"This is as disappointing of a game as I've ever played in," first-year Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You try to improve from one week to the next . . . but none of that happened tonight."
Case, who had replaced Scott Mitchell after the second game of the season, was dreadful in his fifth career NFL start. He finished the first half 8 of 23 for 41 yards. He also threw three interceptions--two of which were returned for touchdowns--after going two games without a turnover.
Banks replaced Case following his third interception. Case finished the game 15 of 37 for 103 yards, and Banks, who played the final 10:35, was 8 of 14 for 69 yards.
"It's pretty disappointing," Case said. "It's probably one of the most disappointing losses of my career. I can't remember when it's been this bad. I have no excuse. I just played terribly."
For the first three quarters, the only fans who enjoyed this night were the ones who relish defensive battles. Baltimore had generated just 80 offensive yards by the end of the first half, and Kansas City had gained only 112, including 73 that came on the Chiefs' only touchdown drive of the half.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez, who caught two touchdown passes in the game, scored on an 11-yard pass from Elvis Grbac 12:01 left before halftime.
The Chiefs' defense also scored twice. Cornerback James Hasty, who had two interceptions in a game for the first time since 1988, returned one for 56 yards with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter to put the Chiefs ahead 14-0.
Gonzalez's second score came with 12:37 remaining in the game. He caught a 22-yard pass from Grbac to put Kansas City ahead 21-0.
The Chiefs' second defensive touchdown came when linebacker Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass by Case and lateraled the ball to Reggie Tongue, who returned the ball 38 yards to give Kansas City a 28-0 lead with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Morris, who rushed for 1,511 yards during his two-year stint with the Ravens, became the first running back to rush for more than 55 yards this season against Baltimore. Morris rushed for 70 yards on 16 carries.
The Ravens' already depleted offensive line suffered another blow when starting right tackle James Atkins left the game in the first quarter with a strained groin. Atkins, who had not played a game this season because of a strained hamstring, was filling in for starter Harry Swayne. Baltimore listed Swayne (lower leg contusion) and backup tackle Spencer Folau (knee) on the inactive list prior to the game. After Atkins left the game, the Ravens were down to six healthy offensive linemen.
The Ravens had a chance to take the early lead in the first quarter when Matt Stover kicked a 32-yard field goal. However, they were penalized for 12 men on the field. Stover's second attempt from the 37-yard line hit the right upright.