Then he gave Doug Flutie not one, but two chances to engineer yet another comeback victory. Despite struggling for much of the afternoon, Flutie was more than equal to the task.
Flutie threw three interceptions in the first three quarters to help Baltimore build a 10-3 lead. But Banks threw an interception and lost a fumble in two straight series, setting the stage for Buffalo (5-3) to snap a two-game skid.
"I'm relieved. It's hard to be real happy because we just are struggling offensively and at times it looks ugly," Flutie said.
Not nearly as ugly as the perspective from the Ravens' side. Baltimore coach Brian Billick has already gone through three different starting quarterbacks this season, yet the Ravens (2-5) have lost three straight.
This one hurt more than all the rest.
Banks was well on his way to leading Baltimore to its first win since Oct. 3, but it all went awry in the fourth quarter.
First, Banks threw an interception that Kurt Schulz took 26 yards to the Baltimore 34. The Bills got a first-and-goal at the 1, but a sack by Rob Burnett and a personal foul on the Bills' John Fina moved the ball back to the 24, and Buffalo had to settle for a field goal by Steve Christie with 6:21 left.
Banks then fumbled on an impromptu third-dwn run, and Buffalo's Jay Foreman recovered at the Baltimore 45 with 3:25 remaining. Flutie ran for 17 yards on a fourth-and-15 play from the 39, then completed passes to Andre Reed for 5 and 12 yards before scrambling to his right and hitting Linton in the end zone.
The key was the scramble after Baltimore rushed only three linemen. Flutie bided his time, finally saw an opening and sprinted toward the first-down marker.
"What a tremendous play. We needed a miracle play and that's what it was," Buffalo coach Wade Phillips said.
After that, the touchdown was almost inevitable.
"You give Flutie too many opportunities he's going to make plays. That's what he does," Baltimore linebacker Peter Boulware said.
"It's just the law of averages," Billick said. "If you give him enough opportunities he's going to run around and make some plays and beat you. If you limit those opportunities you will beat him. That's what other teams have done the last couple of weeks and that's what we did up to a point."
Flutie was 18-for-40 for 155 yards, but he never wavered when it come time to bring the Bills back as he has done so many times before.
Banks took over for Stoney Case, who was pulled after throwing three interceptions last week in a 35-8 loss to Kansas City. Banks was 13-for-34 for 129 yards, numbers that would have been acceptable had he not given the ball away twice.
Banks' first touchdown pass since last December, when he was a member of the St. Louis Rams, helped Baltimore take a 10-3 halftime lead.
The Ravens went up 7-0 on their second possession when Banks hit Justin Armour in the end zone for a 7-yard score. Banks was 4-for-4 on the drive, which included a 3-yard run by Chuck Evans on fourth-and-1 from the 6.
Limited to one first down in the first quarter, the Bills moved from their 21 to the Baltimore 23 before a poor snap ruined a 41-yard field goal try by Christie.
Just before the two-minute warning, Buffalo's Pat Williams blocked Stover's 51-yard field goal attempt. The Bills then covered 51 yards in nine plays before Christie kicked a 25-yard field gol.
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