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Titans rally past Ravens to remain undefeated

BALTIMORE -- Facing a rugged Baltimore Ravens defense that still conjures unpleasant memories, Kerry Collins trotted onto the field needing to mount an 80-yard touchdown drive to keep the Tennessee Titans unbeaten.

His first big play was to get hit in the helmet. Soon after that, Collins threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Alge Crumpler with 1:56 left to rally Tennessee to a 13-10 victory Sunday.

The last time he started against the Ravens, Collins was thoroughly ineffective for the New York Giants in a 34-7 loss in the 2001 Super Bowl. This win didn't serve as revenge, but it sure helped ease the pain of that humbling setback.

"It's hard to forget that one. Obviously, it wasn't one of my better days," Collins said. "Sure, I wanted to beat them, [but] I wanted to go 5-0 most of all."

The Titans trailed 10-6 in the fourth quarter before Collins engineered the pivotal 11-play scoring drive. The march was extended by a penalty against Baltimore's Terrell Suggs, who was flagged for a blow to Collins' helmet -- although the hit appeared to be little more than incidental contact.

At least that's how Suggs saw it.

"If anybody can go back and show something I did illegal, then I would be happy to say I messed up and got what I deserved," he said. "We hit arms. It just goes to show the referee has too much power."

It was the last of several personal foul calls in a game marred by numerous skirmishes. Tennessee was penalized 10 times for 78 yards, including a pair of 15-yard infractions that fueled both Baltimore's scoring drives.

The Ravens (2-2) were assessed 11 penalties for 91 yards in a matchup between two teams that once were, and seem to still be, bitter rivals.

"We are the bad boys of football. They are always going to look at us like that," Suggs said. "From the way the game was going, I think the referee just probably wanted to feel important."

The third-and-10 play began with a false start call against Tennessee, but play continued and Suggs' hit trumped the 5-yard penalty against the Titans.

"He got him on the side of the helmet," referee Bill Carollo said. "We're blowing the whistle, blowing the whistle. He may not have heard that ... but he still can't hit the quarterback on the helmet."

Collins threw an incomplete pass on the play, but was provided with a new set of downs and coolly directed Tennessee into the end zone.

Frustrated by Baltimore's top-ranked defense for much of the game, Collins finished 17-for-32 for 163 yards and two interceptions.

"Obviously, they're a tough defense. It wasn't always pretty today. It wasn't my best game," Collins said. "But at the end of the game we found a way to win."

After Tennessee went up 13-10, Baltimore rookie quarterback Joe Flacco was intercepted by Nick Harper, assuring the Ravens a second straight defeat.

Flacco, who went 18-for-27 for 153 yards and two interceptions, was 10 years old when Collins launched his NFL career in 1995.

"I like how, with 6 minutes left, Kerry came in and commanded the game," Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "He showed his poise and his leadership qualities in that last drive when we scored. Being a 14-year vet, with all the things he's done, I don't care how much talent a young quarterback has, they don't have that. They haven't played enough games."

The Ravens took a 10-3 lead with a 71-yard touchdown drive at the start of the second half. Flacco threw a 22-yard pass to Demetrius Williams and the Titans received two personal foul penalties before Le'Ron McClain scored from the 1. Tennessee also received a 15-yard penalty on the conversion.

It was the first points scored in the third quarter against the Titans this season.

Tennessee closed to 10-6 with 12:49 left when Rob Bironas kicked a 26-yard field goal to end a 13-play, 81-yard drive that featured three completions to Brandon Jones for 54 yards.

The Titans made only four first downs and 68 yards in a penalty-filled first half, which ended 3-3.

Game notes
Michael Phelps, wearing a No. 8 Ravens jersey to coincide with his gold medal count at the Olympics, was on hand for the opening coin toss. ... Ravens OT Adam Terry left in the second quarter with an injured right knee. ... Tennessee has not allowed more than 17 points in nine straight games.