BALTIMORE - With one dominating performance, the Ravens interrupted the Bengals' turnaround season and showed Baltimore is a team not to be ignored.
Jamal Lewis ran for 180 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and the 31-13 win gave the Ravens sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
"This is a statement game for us in our division," said Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis, who had an interception and nine tackles. "We did what we need to do. We're hard to beat when Jamal's running the ball like that and our offense capitalizes on the turnovers we get."
The Bengals came in looking to improve upon their remarkable season with a fifth straight win. Instead, they played a game that was all too typical of their recent past.
Cincinnati committed five turnovers, yielded a season-high six sacks and had no answer for the punishing Lewis, who scored on runs of 1, 3 and 13 yards.
"They're physical, but we played more physical than they did," Jamal Lewis said. "Everything went exactly the way it was supposed to go."
Despite playing with a sprained wrist, Lewis ran for 96 yards in the second half and padded his margin as the NFL's leading rusher.
It all added up to the Bengals' seventh straight loss in Baltimore and a disappointing homecoming for Cincinnati first-year head coach Marvin Lewis, the Ravens' defensive coordinator from 1996-2001.
"We can't turn it over like we did today and expect to beat anybody," Marvin Lewis said. "We have a lot of football left; we'll prove what we're made of the next three weeks."
The game was the opposite of the first meeting, when the Bengals capitalized on Baltimore mistakes to win.
"It was a sour taste in our mouth the last time we played them," Ray Lewis said. "We just knew we didn't play our football game. Yeah, they were riding high, but they had to come into Baltimore sooner or later."