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Ravens dump Redskins for seventh win in eight games

BALTIMORE -- If the Washington Redskins are fortunate, it might be another four years before they have to face the Baltimore Ravens again.

If the Redskins are lucky, maybe Ed Reed will be retired by then.

Reed set up a touchdown with an interception and scored on a 22-yard fumble return, part of a stifling effort by the Baltimore defense in a 24-10 victory Sunday night.

With their seventh win in eight games, the Ravens (9-4) enhanced their stature in the wild-card race and remained one game behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Baltimore hosts the Steelers next Sunday.

Washington (7-6) has lost four of five. The Redskins trailed 17-0 before scoring twice in the fourth quarter after Baltimore turnovers, but couldn't complete the comeback.

"We were 6-2 and now we're 7-6 and you find that hard to believe," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "You'd thought you'd at least be sitting here 9-2 or maybe 10-3."

The Ravens sacked Campbell twice, forced two interceptions (both by Reed) and held Clinton Portis to 32 yards rushing.

"Ed is going to always be Ed," Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said, "but the way our defense came out and set down Clinton Portis, the guys up front did an extremely incredible freaking job."

Reed was a force the last time the teams played, a 17-10 Baltimore victory in 2004. In that game, he returned a fumble for a touchdown, made six tackles and had a sack.

Reed was even better in the long-awaited rematch, although he's been playing the entire season with a bothersome neck injury.

On the Redskins' third play from scrimmage, Campbell was hit by Terrell Suggs while throwing the ball, and Reed picked off the pass at the Baltimore 45.

"That tipped ball, that first pick, that's just somebody else making the play and me doing my job," Reed said.

Joe Flacco promptly completed a 26-yard pass to Derrick Mason, and a 21-yard run by Ray Rice on a third-and-10 play led to an 8-yard touchdown run by Le'Ron McClain.

Washington's third possession was as disastrous as the first. At the end of an 11-yard run, Portis had the ball stripped by Reed, who picked up the fumble and ran for a touchdown to make it 14-0 with less than 6 minutes elapsed. Redskins coach Jim Zorn insisted Portis was down, but a replay upheld the ruling.

"I was trying to rip it loose," Reed said. "I was going for it a little bit and it came out."

Reed not only put the Ravens in control, he ended any chance the Redskins had of coming back with an interception with 1:53 left and Baltimore up 24-10.

"He's an outstanding player. He's probably the best safety, him and Troy Polamalu, that I've played against and I've seen," Campbell said of Reed. "Those guys are relentless."

Baltimore and Washington play home games only 32 miles apart, but this was only the fourth meeting between the teams -- the first in Baltimore. The Ravens hold a 3-1 lead in the series, and probably won't get another crack at Washington until 2012.

Reed will be 34 then, and the Redskins would be delighted to buy him a retirement gift if he decides to walk away from the game before their next matchup.

"Ed is a great player, an elite safety," Washington safety LaRon Landry said. "You just admire what he does and try to play like him."

Matt Stover kicked a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to end a 14-play drive and make it 17-0, and it appeared the Ravens would coast to victory.

But Washington got a field goal after an interception by Landry, and DeAngelo Hall returned a fumble by Willis McGahee 13 yards to the Baltimore 30 to set up a fourth-down touchdown pass from Campbell to Antwaan Randle El with 10:17 left.

It was the first TD against the Ravens in 13 quarters and 46 possessions.

Baltimore then launched an 83-yard drive in which McClain ran 10 times for 43 yards before Flacco threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Mason.

Game over.

"I think you look at everybody on our football team and see frustration," Redskins coach Jim Zorn said. "There's no faking it. We have three games left now, and it's sudden death."

Game notes
Olympic star Michael Phelps was part of the record crowd of 71,438. ... Portis moved in 2nd place on the Redskins career rushing list with 5,876 yards. ... Suggs got a sack to move into 2nd place on the Ravens' career list. He has 51 1/2, trailing only Peter Boulware (70). ... Redskins LT Chris Samuels left with a triceps injury, and RT Jon Jansen has a sprained ligament in his knee.