By Joe Platania
BALTIMORE 37, BUFFALO 34 (OT)
With Sundays win, the Ravens can claim only their second winning October in team history, going 2-1 in 2003. However, Baltimore is still 24-33 lifetime in October, its worst record in any month. The Ravens are now 2-1 against the AFC East but 13-16 overall against the Baltimore Colts former home. They play Miami Nov. 7.
McGahee got 64 yards on 11 carries, leaving him six yards short of 6,000. He will be the eighth active back to get there. Ray Rice had 72 yards on 16 attempts and Boldin led all receivers with 92 yards (surpassing the 8,000 mark) on six catches and a touchdown. Heap had three catches for 59 yards. He has 451 career catches and 39 touchdowns.
In four previous Ravens-Bills meetings, neither team had scored as many as 20 points in any of them. Nose tackle Kelly Gregg left the field under his own power late in the first quarter with a thigh bruise but returned. Heap suffered a shoulder stinger early in the second half and returned. Terrell Suggs injured a hamstring late in the game.
The expected placement of tackle Jared Gaither (back) on the season-ending injured reserve list means five players are now classified as such: Gaither, tackle and sixth-round pick Ramon Harewood (double knee surgery), defensive tackle Kelly Talavou (knee), center Daniel Sanders (shoulder) and cornerback Domonique Foxworth (knee).
The Ravens will now embark on their bye week, sure to feature at least a couple of lifting sessions before a few off days. Including Sundays game, the Ravens are now 6-9 in pre-bye games. They have reason to be optimistic going into the Miami game; the Ravens are 9-5 after the week off with wins in eight of their last 10 post-bye games.
Talk about good luck: The teams bye Sunday falls directly on Halloween, a day the Ravens have been cursed, losing all three games played by a combined margin of nine points. Baltimore lost a 1999 home game to Buffalo (13-10), a 2004 contest in Philadelphia (15-10) and a 2005 Monday night game in Pittsburgh (20-19).
Punter Sam Koch put three of five punts in the coffin corner, giving him a club-record 129 punts inside the 20, breaking Kyle Richardsons record. His 19 coffin-corner kicks this year lead the NFL. Parmele and Wilson split six kick returns, but the Ravens still played to their league-worst average start of the 22-yard line. No punts were run back.
Inside linebacker Ray Lewis (15 tackles, sack,) played in his 201st career regular season game, only six shy of Matt Stovers team record. Buffalo was one of just six teams tied with the Ravens all-time. With the tie broken, there are five such teams left: Tennessee (8-8), Minnesota (2-2), Chicago (2-2), Philadelphia (1-1-1) and St. Louis (2-2).
The Ravens wore their usual home purple jerseys with white pants, while Buffalo was clad in white jerseys with white pants. The Bills won the toss and elected to defer. The defense was introduced to the crowd and members of the 2000 Super Bowl-winning team formed a gauntlet through which the players ran before the game.
A moment of silence was observed during pregame ceremonies to remember those from the Super Bowl team who have died: receivers coach Milt Jackson, backup guard Orlando Bobo and fullback Chuck Evans. Notable absences from the Super Bowl celebrations due to television duties were head coach Brian Billick and tight end Shannon Sharpe.
Linebacker Jarret Johnson took the field for his 104th straight game, the longest active Ravens streak and fourth-longest behind Peter Boulware (111), Matt Stover (110) and Terrell Suggs (105). Derrick Mason played in his 87th straight as a Raven (129 overall between Baltimore and Tennessee), and punter Sam Koch has played in 71 in a row.
The Ravens' inactives included injured safety Tom Zbikowski (knee), linebacker Tavares Gooden (shoulder) and wideout Donte' Stallworth (foot). Others benched were safety Ken Hamlin, wideout David Reed, offensive lineman Scott Kooistra, and defensive tackles Lamar Divens and Arthur Jones, the teams only healthy scratch for all seven games
Buffalo sat tackle Cornell Green (knee) and cornerback Terrence McGee (back) due to injuries. The team also sat Mount Hebron High graduate Aaron Maybin, tackle Ed Wang, defensive ends Alex Carrington and John McCargo, linebacker Keith Ellison and third-string quarterback Levi Brown. Only three defensive players have started every game.
As if things havent been tough enough for the Bills, they played the leagues second-toughest schedule coming into Sunday with an opponents 2010 win percentage of .643. The game against the Ravens was the first of three straight away from home for the Bills including a Kansas City trip and a designated home game in Toronto against Chicago.
Buffalo and Cleveland are the only two teams in the league to have all their games at 1 p.m. on Sundays with no prime-time appearances scheduled. Scouts from the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs were at the game. Respectively, those teams play the Ravens and Bills next. The Bills have scored on all 17 red zone drives this year.
For more Ravens news, check out Joe Platania's Ravens Report at PressBoxOnline.com.