SAN DIEGO - The outcome came down to rhyme and reason, Ray Rice said.
"Hey diddle diddle. Ray Rice up the middle," the Ravens running back said.
Rice's feet delivered in the clutch, but it was kicker Justin Tucker who accomplished a bigger feat, boosting the Baltimore Ravens past the staggering San Diego Chargers.
Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 1:07 left in overtime completed the Ravens' rally for a 16-13 victory over the Chargers on Sunday before 57,882 at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Ravens (9-2) came back from a 13-3 deficit, which the Chargers built midway through the fourth quarter, to extend their winning streak to four games. They also increased their lead to three games in the AFC North over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Steelers and Ravens clash next Sunday in Baltimore.
"Obviously when we needed to, we went down and scored," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "But this team knows how to win and that's what we got."
San Diego, which lost its third straight and fell to four games back of the Denver Broncos in the AFC West, also held double-digit leads against the Broncos and New Orleans Saints earlier this season before stumbling to defeats.
The Chargers (4-7) had a chance to clinch the win in the final two minutes of regulation. They forced Baltimore into a fourth-and-29 situation at the Ravens' 27-yard line. However, Flacco hit Rice for what appeared to be a 30-yard gain and a first down at the Chargers' 33 with 1:37 left.
After a lengthy review by the replay booth, the officials overruled the call on the field, saying Rice was stopped at the 34, but he still gained enough yardage for a first down.
"On that play, it was just total will," said Rice, who rushed for 97 yards on 22 carries and caught eight passes for 67 more. "Once I made the first guy miss and I cut back across the grain, I just kept eyeing the first down. I just kept getting up-field. I left it in the hands of the officials. I'm not going to say they owed us one, but I'm glad we came out on top."
Chargers coach Norv Turner had a different "view."
"The view that our guys had upstairs, they felt he was short," Turner said.
Three plays later, Tucker booted a 38-yard field goal at the end of regulation to knot the score at 13 and produce overtime.
The Ravens' game-winning drive in overtime started at their own 11-yard line and was highlighted by a Flacco's 31-yard completion to Torrey Smith that moved the ball to the Chargers' 16. Tucker's field goal ended it.
The Chargers never trailed until Tucker's game-winning boot in overtime. They took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 21-yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers to Malcom Floyd, capping a nine-play, 78-yard drive.
San Diego made it 10-0 on a 47-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 3:04 left in the second quarter.
The Ravens scored on their opening drive of the second half. A 54-yard pass by Flacco to Smith gave Baltimore a first down at the San Diego 27-yard line, but the drive stalled at the 25 three plays later. The Ravens settled for a 43-yard field goal by Tucker, cutting the Chargers' lead to 10-3 with 12:19 left in the third.
Another Baltimore drive stalled deep in San Diego territory later in the quarter, but this time the Ravens came away empty. On a fourth-and-one at the Chargers' 14, Rice was thrown for a two-yard loss by defensive end Corey Liuget with 30 seconds remaining in the third.
The Chargers got a 30-yard field goal by Novak with 7:51 left to increase their margin to 13-3, but they would never score again.
The Ravens sliced the deficit to 13-10 on a four-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to tight end Dennis Pitta with 4:19 remaining.
"It sucks. It was a hard-fought game and we obviously gave ourselves a chance to win," Chargers running back Ronnie Brown said. "It came down to a few plays and unfortunately at the end of the game they came out on top."
Both teams entered the game ranked among the lowest-producing offenses in the NFL. The Ravens were rated 21st in total offense (338 yards per game), compared with 23rd for the Chargers (328.8). The Chargers came into the game with the league's seventh-best defense (323.9), while the Ravens ranked 25th (382.1).
Although the Ravens struggled to score for much of the contest, they finished with 443 yards in offense compared with 280 for the Chargers. Flacco completed 30 of 51 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown. Rivers finished 23-of-36 for 228 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Baltimore recorded six sacks - defensive end Arthur Jones led the way with a pair - compared with five for San Diego. Outside linebacker Antwan Barnes led the Chargers with two.