The Baltimore Ravens took another major step in securing a postseason berth, and the miserable Indianapolis Colts took another step closer to matching one of the NFL’s most dubious record.
Baltimore (10-3) dominated the Colts (0-13), limiting them to just 167 yards of total offense, most of which came when the game was already decided. The Colts were able to muster up just 53 total yards of offense through the game’s first three quarters. Had it not been for a garbage time touchdown with no time remaining on the clock, Indianapolis would have been held without a touchdown for only the second time since the 2003 season opener.
Terrell Suggs was front and center once again for the vaunted Ravens’ defense. Suggs sacked Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky three times and forced three fumbles as part of a smothering defensive performance by Baltimore, who was able to come away with a 24-10 victory.
Meanwhile, offensively, it was just another day at the office for Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice, who rushed for a career-high 204 yards in the team’s victory last week at Cleveland, was able to follow up that performance with a 103 yard performance on the ground against the Colts’ 30th ranked rush defense.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had a very efficient day throwing the football. Flacco managed to go 23 of 31, passing for a respectable 223 yards, while throwing two touchdown passes.
The Ravens had lost eight straight to Indianapolis, but Peyton Manning was healthy and at the top of his game for those encounters. He has yet to take a snap this year because of a neck injury.
Dan Orlovsky, the third Colts quarterback to start in place of Manning this season, went 17 for 37 for 136 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked four times and faced a relentless Ravens pass rush throughout the day.
The final score wasn’t indicative of how dominant the Ravens played throughout. Baltimore led 17-3 at halftime and 24-3 in the third quarter. Then, in the game’s final two minutes, the Colts drove the ball 76 yards, which was capped by Orlovsky throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jacob Tamme as time expired.
It took the Ravens just five minutes to grab the lead for good. After the Colts went three out to open the game, Lardarius Webb returned a punt 27 yards setting up the Ravens offense on the Indianapolis 40. Form there, Flacco was able to hook up with rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith on an eight-yard touchdown strike on the sixth and final play of the Ravens’ opening drive.
Baltimore’s next possession covered 66 plays on 13 plays, resulting in a 36-yard field goal by kicker Billy Cundiff to take a 10-0 lead.
The first quarter ended with the Ravens holding a lopsided advantage in total yards, out gaining the Colts 111-10.
It was much of the same for Baltimore in the second quarter. After forcing a Colts punt, Flacco went 5 for 7 for 54 yards in a 10-play drive that ended with a six-yard score from Rice.
On the ensuing kickoff, Joe Lefeged put the Colts in Baltimore territory for the first time all game, after he returned the kick 51 yards. Orlovsky managed to keep the drive alive by completing a fourth-down pass to tight end Dallas Clark. The drive would later stall inside the Ravens five-yard line, and Adam Vinatieri kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 17-3 late in the half.
Baltimore put the game out of reach with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter, when Flacco was flushed from the pocket, rolling to his right when he threw a seven-yard touchdown to tight end Dennis Pitta in the middle of the end zone.
Next up for the Ravens, the 6-7 San Diego Chargers. Baltimore travels to San Diego next Sunday night for a crucial AFC matchup, with the Ravens not only looking to remain atop the AFC North, but more importantly, the entire AFC conference.