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Ravens hold off Cowboys

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant caught a 4-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds remaining, but he couldn't come down with a two-point-conversion catch that might have sent Sunday's game to overtime.

Instead, the Baltimore Ravens escaped with a 31-29 win over the Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium.

Both the touchdown and two-point-conversion try came on the same play call, a back-shoulder fade from Tony Romo to Bryant. Bryant came down with the first one but couldn't snag what appeared to be a catchable pass.

However, the Cowboys (2-3) still had hope after recovering the ensuing onside kick. After running two plays, Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey was set up for a 51-yard attempt to win the game. His kick just missed wide to the left.

"It's obviously not a good feeling," Bailey said. "Everybody worked their butts off today. And it came down to a kick and it didn't go in. I don't know what else to say, other than it hurts and I'm going to do my best and go out there and make the next one."

Prior to the kick, the Cowboys elected to wait until six seconds remained on the clock to call a timeout instead of running a play to get a closer attempt. With the kick barely missing to the left, it was a decision somewhat scrutinized after the game ended.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said his team took too long to get up from a pile on the previous play, which was blown dead with 36 seconds remaining.

"With the time left in the game, we didn't think it was in our best interest to run another play," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. "We had guys who were trying to get off the pile and receivers who needed to come back to the huddle. There just wasn't enough time."

The Ravens gave themselves a cushion to prevent a Dallas comeback with a 1-yard Ray Rice touchdown at the 4:41 mark in the fourth quarter. This helped give Baltimore (5-1) some breathing room before the Cowboys' late surge.

Rice ran for 63 yards with two touchdowns. He also had one reception for 43 yards. It marked Rice's 37th game where he totaled more than 100 yards from scrimmage.

Before Rice's touchdown, Baltimore held just a 24-23 lead after Bailey knocked in a 34-yard field goal. The Ravens then used up 3:41 before Rice's score put them up by eight.

The Ravens opened the game with a 14-play drive that went 60 yards and lasted 7:10. They got as far as the 19-yard line but settled for a 38-yard field goal from rookie Justin Tucker that put them up 3-0 early.

Dallas responded with a touchdown on its first drive of the game, relying heavily on the running game. Of the eight plays on the Cowboys' first series, five were runs, capped with a Felix Jones 21-yard rush.

The Ravens' run defense had a tough time defending the run for the second week in a row. Baltimore surrendered 227 rushing yards to Dallas, including 93 yards to DeMarco Murray and 92 yards to Jones.

"They haven't defended the run as well as they typically have in the past," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Kansas City ran it 52 times last week. We want to run the football, there's no question about that. Having played the quarterback position in the NFL, I understand the importance of running the ball.

The 227 yards Baltimore surrendered is the most it's allowed on the ground in franchise history.

However, Murray sustained a foot injury in the first half and did not return. Garrett did not have an immediate update on Murray's status following the game. Jones briefly left the game with an undisclosed injury in the second half but was able to return. Still, the Cowboys had success running the ball against Baltimore with third- and fourth-stringers Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar.

Baltimore made up for the lackluster rush defense with its offense and special teams play. With 1:05 left in the first half, receiver Torrey Smith caught a 19-yard touchdown that helped put Baltimore up 17-10. This touchdown followed an interception Romo threw to Ravens cornerback Cary Williams, who now has come up with three interceptions in the past three weeks.

In the third quarter, receiver Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record with a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown that put the Ravens up 24-13.

The Cowboys scored the game's next 10 points, with Bryant recording his first touchdown of the season on a 7-yard reception late in the third quarter.

Though the Ravens got the win, they lost cornerback Lardarius Webb for the contest with what was initially believed to be a sprained knee. Webb injured the knee in the first quarter while defending Bryant on the right sideline.

Following the game, Harbaugh said that Webb potentially suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and could be done for the season.

"Lardarius Webb does not look good right now," Harbaugh said. "It's a potential ACL. We've got a problem there. We don't know for sure but that's what it looks like right now."

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis injured his right triceps and was unavailable to the media following the game.

Notes: Out of Rice's 37 games with 100 offensive yards, he's had 35 since 2009. No other NFL player has accumulated as many 100-yard rushing games in that span. ... Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sprained his knee but returned to the game and recorded one sack. ... Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer was inactive due to a shoulder injury. ... The Cowboys were averaging just over 67 rushing yards per game entering Sunday. ... Ravens center Matt Birk played his 200th career game in this contest.
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