NFL Game Summary - Indianapolis at Baltimore|
(Sunday, January 6th)
Final Score: Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 9
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The Baltimore Ravens never beat the
Indianapolis Colts in the postseason with Peyton Manning at quarterback. They
had an easier time in their first encounter with his heir apparent, however.
And now they'll get another chance to obtain that elusive victory over Manning
after ending the Indianapolis Colts' storybook season with a 24-9 triumph in
Sunday's AFC Wild Card Playoffs.
Inspired by the return of emotional team leader Ray Lewis, the Ravens defense
held the upstart Colts to three Adam Vinatieri field goals and spoiled the
playoff debut of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the return of Indianapolis
head coach Chuck Pagano to Baltimore, where he spent four years as an
assistant under John Harbaugh before taking over the Colts last January.
Playing for the first time since mid-October due to a torn triceps and just
days after announcing his retirement at season's end, Lewis was credited with
13 tackles in his final game at M&T Bank Stadium to spearhead Baltimore's
effort. Outside linebacker Paul Kruger came up with a big game as well,
registering 2 1/2 of the Ravens' three sacks of Luck and causing one of three
takeaways with a forced fumble.
Joe Flacco added a pair of touchdown passes to the win while throwing for 282
yards and making good on 12-of-23 attempts, while Anquan Boldin amassed 145
yards and a score on five catches -- all of which came in the second half.
"We definitely wanted to come out and put on a great performance for [Lewis']
last time at M&T Bank Stadium," said Boldin.
The Ravens now advance to a meeting with Manning's top-seeded Denver Broncos
in next Saturday's Divisional Round. The Colts bested Baltimore twice with the
four-time MVP under center in previous Divisional matchups, earning a 15-6
road win in 2006 and a 20-3 home decision in 2009. Manning also led Denver to
a 34-17 victory over the Ravens in Baltimore on Dec. 16.
Luck put up 288 yards in his first-ever playoff appearance, but completed just
28-of-54 throws and was intercepted once in directing an Indianapolis offense
that was without coordinator and primary play-caller Bruce Arians due to an
illness that landed him in a local hospital Sunday morning.
Reggie Wayne finished with 114 yards on nine catches for the Colts, who
reached the postseason just one year removed from a dreadful 2-14 campaign,
while Vick Ballard rushed for 91 yards on 22 carries.
"What they overcame this year, the circumstances, it's incredible and it's a
testament to our organization, our coaches, our players," said Pagano, who was
manning the sidelines for only the second time since returning from treatment
for leukemia. "I'm so proud of those guys."
Indianapolis did induce a pair of lost fumbles out of the usually dependable
Ray Rice on the afternoon, but the Pro Bowl back did come up with the game's
first big play after neither offense generated much over the majority of the
With the contest deadlocked at 3-3 and just over a minute to go before
intermission, Rice took a short screen pass, broke containment and eluded
several Indianapolis defenders before finally being brought down at the 2-yard
line after a 47-yard gain. Fullback Vonta Leach plowed across the goal line on
the next play, giving Baltimore a 10-3 lead with 50 seconds left until
Luck did bring the Colts into scoring range before the half would end, with a
short strike to T.Y. Hilton that the rookie turned into a 25-yard play setting
up Vinatieri's 52-yard field goal as time ran out.
The Colts would fall further behind in the third quarter, however, thanks to
another long-gainer from the Baltimore passing game.
Following an exchange of punts to begin the second half, Flacco lofted a 46-
yard long ball into the arms of Boldin that placed the Ravens deep into
Indianapolis territory. He would later find Dennis Pitta over the middle for a
20-yard touchdown that extended Baltimore's advantage to 17-6 nearing the
midway mark of the third quarter.
"Joe made some tremendous throws," said Harbaugh. "I thought Joe threw the
ball downfield incredibly well. He had a couple of comebacks with people in
his face, and I thought the receivers made some strong catches."
The Colts answered with a methodical 15-play, 72-yard sequence in which Luck
converted three third-down situations. A 20-yard hookup with Wayne got
Indianapolis to the Ravens' 14, but Baltimore's defense would stiffen and
force Vinatieri out for a 26-yard kick that cut the deficit to eight points
late in the third period.
Rice, who had just one fumble during the entire regular season, lost his
second of the day after being hit by Joe Lefeged on the subsequent possession,
and the Colts appeared primed to capitalize after Ballard broke off a 24-yard
run to the Baltimore 23 after a 19-yard grab from Wayne.
The Ravens again stood tall afterward, though, and Indianapolis settled for a
40-yard field goal try that Vinatieri pushed wide right to keep it a 17-9
That score wouldn't remain for long. Bernard Pierce got loose for a 43-yard
run three plays after Vinatieri's miss to place Baltimore back into the red
zone, and Boldin won a jump ball with Darius Butler in the end zone for an 18-
yard score two snaps later to increase the margin to 15 points with 9:14
The Colts would get the ball back twice more, but came up empty both times.
After getting down to the Baltimore 18 on the first of those drives, Luck's
pass in Wayne's direction was deflected by Corey Graham and intercepted by
Cary Williams. Indianapolis then turned it over on downs in the waning stages,
with the Ravens proceeding to run out the final 2:10 and prevail.
"We had our opportunities," said Pagano. "We didn't capitalize and they
capitalized on their opportunities."
Both teams had opportunities go awry during the first quarter.
Baltimore moved into the Indianapolis red zone on its initial series,
highlighted by a 24-yard connection from Flacco to tight end Ed Dickson.
However, ex-Raven Cory Redding stripped Rice of the football at the 11-yard
line, with Lawrence Guy recovering for the Colts.
Indianapolis reached the Baltimore 30 on the ensuing possession, but Kruger
forced a Luck fumble on a drop-back attempt and Pernell McPhee pounced on the
loose ball to end the threat.
"I saw him get to the quarterback a whole bunch," said Harbaugh of Kruger. "He
played tremendously well. Paul's had a great year."
The Ravens finally ended the stalemate on Justin Tucker's 23-yard field goal
less than four minutes into the second quarter. The 10-play, 66-yard march
featured five Pierce runs totaling 37 yards and a 22-yard strike from Flacco
to Torrey Smith, but stalled after Baltimore got inside the Indianapolis 10.
Luck managed just 31 yards on 5-of-13 passing over the Colts' first four
drives, but hit on two big completions to Dwayne Allen for 22 and 13 yards on
Indianapolis' next touch to put the team in position for Vinatieri's 47-yard
field goal that tied the game with 2:25 left in the half.
Pierce ended with 103 yards on only 13 carries, with Rice adding 70 on 15
totes ... The game also marked the first time that Ravens offensive
coordinator and former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell faced his ex-team since
being fired by Indianapolis in January and replaced by Pagano ... Vinatieri's
52-yard field goal was a career-best in postseason play, bettering a 51-yarder
in Indianapolis' win over the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in the 2006 AFC
Divisional Playoffs ... Baltimore linebacker Dannell Ellerbe exited in the
fourth quarter with an apparent right ankle injury ... With left guard Jah
Reid (toe) inactive, the Ravens shuffled their offensive line. Usual right
tackle Kelechi Osemele shifted into Reid's spot, with veteran Bryant McKinnie
inserted into the lineup at left tackle and Michael Oher moving from the left
side to the right ... Redding spent the previous two years with the Ravens
before signing with Indianapolis in March, while Colts safety Tom Zbikowski
spent his first four pro seasons with Baltimore ... Including the two playoff
victories, the Colts had won eight straight over the Ravens before Baltimore's
24-10 triumph at M&T Bank Stadium last season.
01/06 18:36:50 ET