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(Sunday, December 13th)
Final Score: Baltimore 48, Detroit 3
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Ray Rice carried 13 times for a career-high 166 yards, including a 59-yard second-quarter touchdown run, as the Baltimore Ravens ran away and hid in a 48-3 win over the Detroit Lions at M&T Bank Stadium.
Rice, who amassed a season-low 71 total yards in Baltimore's loss at Green Bay on Monday night, atoned for that performance in a major way on Sunday, racking up a dazzling 204 first-half yards to spur the Ravens (7-6) to an important victory in regard to their playoff hopes.
In addition to the 59-yard-run, which staked Baltimore to a 17-3 lead, Rice also posted a 52-yard rush and a 30-yard reception during the first two quarters, with his 204 yards in a half ranking as the fourth-most in the NFL since 1991.
With Rice as the catalyst, Baltimore held a 20-3 halftime lead and was never seriously threatened thereafter.
Rice's performance was just a portion of a ground assault that saw Baltimore rack up 308 rushing yards and five ground touchdowns for the day. In addition to Rice, backs Willis McGahee (12 carries, 76 yards, 2 TD) and Le'Ron McClain (6 carries, 32 yards, 1 TD) ran roughshod over a Detroit defense.
Baltimore finished with a franchise-record 548 total yards, surpassing its previous mark of 501, set against the Chiefs in Week 1. Baltimore's 48 points and 45-point margin of victory equaled franchise marks set in a 48-3 win over the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19, 2005.
"It really was a team victory. I think all three phases really stepped up...Maybe the first time all year we've put it together in that type of a fashion, and that is encouraging," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.
For their part, the Lions (2-11) and fill-in quarterback Daunte Culpepper couldn't match the Ravens' offensive display.
Culpepper, making his third start of the year in place of injured rookie Matthew Stafford (shoulder), completed just 16-of-34 passes for 135 yards with two interceptions.
Culpepper is now 0-8 as the Lions' starter over the past two seasons and hasn't won a game he opened since leading the Raiders to a victory over the Chiefs on Nov. 25, 2007.
With the loss, Detroit moved to 0-19 on the road since winning at Chicago on Oct. 28, 2007 and made head coach Jim Schwartz's return to his native Baltimore an unhappy one.
The game was shaping up to be a close, low-scoring affair early, as the first five drives of the contest yielded zero points on either side. A Rice fumble out of the end zone following a six-yard catch snuffed out Baltimore's first march, and a missed 45-yard field goal by Detroit's Jason Hanson on the following drive kept the score tied at 0-0.
But Baltimore got busy late in the first-quarter, as a seven-play, 45-yard drive culminating in a 38-yard Billy Cundiff gave John Harbaugh's club a 3-0 lead.
On their first drive of the second quarter, the Ravens extended the lead to 10-0 when quarterback Joe Flacco hit Derrick Mason on a 62-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.
Flacco bounced back from a three-interception performance against the Packers by completing 13-of-20 passes for 230 yards and the TD without a turnover for the day.
The Lions would answer by putting together their best drive of the day, a 15- play, 69-yard march that ended with a 22-yard Hanson field goal to cut the margin to 10-3.
But Baltimore would begin to pull away on the ensuing drive thanks to Rice's 59-yard dash to the end zone, and the Ravens would add a Cundiff 25-yard field goal just before halftime after a Culpepper interception was returned to the 50-yard line by Baltimore's Chris Carr.
The Ravens kept the foot on the gas after halftime, outscoring the Lions, 21-0, in the third quarter, thanks to two touchdowns from McGahee and one from McClain. Baltimore scored on all three drives of the third frame.
Baltimore scored on seven straight drives in the game, including on each of their occasions with the football in the second-and third-quarters.
Troy Smith's 15-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter provided the final margin.
"There's going to be some accountability for this," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of the lopsided loss. "I thought this team was ready to play, and I was way off the mark there...This is unacceptable."
Rice's 166 ground yards surpassed his previous high of 154, established against the Browns last Nov. 2nd...Rice went over 1,000 rushing yards for the year, joining McGahee, Jamal Lewis, and Priest Holmes as the only rushers in team history to reach the plateau in a season...Flacco's second-quarter touchdown pass gave him 15 for the season, surpassing the 14 that he threw during his rookie season...Lions running back Kevin Smith, who carried 21 times for 69 yards, suffered an apparent left knee injury in the fourth quarter and was carted off...Detroit also lost long snapper Don Muhlbach in the first half, and Muhlbach was be replaced by center Dominic Raiola...Baltimore pass rusher Terrell Suggs returned to the lineup after a three-game absence due to a knee injury and was credited with four tackles...The Lions finished 1-3 against the NFC North, defeating the Browns and losing to the Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens...The Ravens are now 1-2 against the NFC North on the season after previously losing to the Vikings and Packers. Baltimore hosts Chicago next Sunday.
12/13 18:28:51 ET