- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Ravens took a step forward in beating the Chiefs on Sunday. No, you didn't read that wrong.
Last season, all four of the Ravens' losses came on the road against teams that had losing records at the time. Baltimore shouldn't apologize for winning by a field goal Sunday because its players know there is a worse alternative.
A loss at Kansas City would've kept the Ravens tied with the Bengals and closed their gap over the Steelers to a half-game. Instead, the Ravens hold a one-game lead over Cincinnati and a 1 1/2-game advantage over Pittsburgh.
There should be concern that the Ravens have played down to their competition the past two games. Baltimore outlasted the winless Browns for a seven-point victory on Sept. 27 and escaped Kansas City with a three-point win. The combined records of those two teams are 1-9. The Ravens shouldn't be sweating out the final minutes of games against teams like that.
The next two weeks will put these closer-than-expected wins in proper perspective. If the Ravens take care of Texas (Dallas and Houston) to finish out October, no one will hold these recent ragged performances against Baltimore.
STAT THAT STICKS: 2 -- Running backs who had rushed for 125 yards in a game against the Ravens since the start of 2008. The Chiefs' Jamaal Charles had that many yards at halftime Sunday. But the Ravens closed in on Charles significantly in the second half, allowing him 2 total rush yards before contact and hitting him in the backfield on four of his 10 rushes, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
OVERHEARD: "I knew it was a quarterback sneak. He was going to snap it so quick and that's probably why he fumbled it. He was trying to get it so quick and you just saw it coming. It was just right there and the gap was open. I'm sure if he doesn't fumble that, then it's a touchdown, different ballgame." Ravens safety Ed Reed on recovering a Matt Cassel fumble at the Baltimore 1-yard line in the third quarter when the game was tied at 3.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Ravens play the Dallas Cowboys (2-2), who are coming off their bye. Baltimore has won 13 straight games at M&T Bank Stadium, which is a Ravens' franchise record.