I won’t use the rainy and windy weather as an excuse for the Ravens, because after all, Indy is an indoor dome team… the weather should have been an advantage to the Ravens.
I told you the Colts would not quit on their beloved head coach Chuck Pagano even as the season of his demise winds down to the final game. And they did not—the Colts played tough and they played hard.
Joe Flacco threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Tucker kicked three field goals and the Baltimore Ravens moved a step closer to securing a playoff berth by beating the Indianapolis Colts 23-16 on Saturday.
The Ravens (9-6) scored on their first two possessions and held off the skidding Colts (3-12) in a windy, rain-soaked second half.
Baltimore will reach the playoffs as an AFC wild card by defeating Cincinnati at home next Sunday. Striving for their first postseason berth since 2014, the Ravens have won five of six following a 4-5 start.
Indianapolis made it tough on Baltimore, closing to 16-13 in the third quarter before Flacco threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Maxx Williams with 8:40 remaining.
It was 23-16 when Anthony Walker blocked a Ravens punt, giving the Colts the ball at the Baltimore 27 with 2:36 left. Indianapolis moved to the 10 before a third-down sack and a fourth-down incompletion ended the comeback bid.
Flacco, who went 29 for 38, has thrown for seven TDs with just one interception over his last four games.
The Colts have lost six in a row for the first time since 2011, when they opened 0-13. That was the year before they drafted quarterback Andrew Luck, whose absence this season with a shoulder injury contributed heavily to the team’s slide into the AFC South cellar.
Jacoby Brissett completed 16 of 33 passes for 215 yards and Frank Gore had 68 yards rushing and a touchdown catch for Indianapolis. More importantly, the Colts did not commit a turnover against a team that leads the NFL with 33 takeaways.
Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals for the Colts, but he had one blocked and came up short on a 60-yard try at the end of the first half.
Flacco went 16 for 22 for 157 yards to help the Ravens take a 13-7 halftime lead.
After kicking a field goal on its first possession, Baltimore blocked a field goal try by Vinatieri. The Ravens then launched a 71-yard drive that ended with Flacco tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Campanaro for a 10-0 lead.
Brissett answered with a 14-yard TD pass to Gore, and Tucker kicked a 39-yard field goal for Baltimore after the two-minute warning.
Tucker connected from 36 yards out to increase the lead to 16-7 with 5 1/2 minutes gone in the third quarter, but Vinatieri kicked a pair for the Colts to make it 16-13.
With about two and a half minutes to go, on fourth-and-10 deep in Ravens territory, Baltimore cornerback Maurice Canady knocked down a pass from Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett to seal the win. There were some observers who thought Canady got away with a grab or push from behind before the pass was thrown. I guess we will never know for sure. But the Ravens defense notched a rare last-minute stop to seal a win, and then celebrated like it was—well, Christmas.
The Ravens (9-6) overtook Buffalo (8-6) in the postseason race, and Baltimore currently has a better record against common opponents, which would be a tiebreaker. The Bills play at New England on Sunday.
Some “key numbers” courtesy of the Baltimore Sun:
0 Interceptions thrown by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens are 6-1 in games where Flacco doesn’t throw an interception.
1 More win. A victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale next Sunday and the Ravens will secure a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
3 Offsides penalties by the Ravens, two on linebacker Terrell Suggs. The Ravens generated virtually no pass rush and tried to get a jump on the Colts.
9 Wins by the Ravens this season, surpassing the victories in each of the past two seasons. They were 8-8 last season and 5-11 in 2015.
11:36 The Ravens’ advantage in time of possession. The Ravens also ran 12 more plays than the Colts, 71-59.
Justin Tucker 30 Yd Field Goal
14 plays, 52 yards, 7:30
Michael Campanaro 6 Yd pass from Joe Flacco (Justin Tucker Kick)
10 plays, 71 yards, 3:54
Frank Gore 14 Yd pass from Jacoby Brissett (Adam Vinatieri Kick)
9 plays, 75 yards, 4:38
Justin Tucker 39 Yd Field Goal
11 plays, 54 yards, 5:43
Justin Tucker 36 Yd Field Goal
11 plays, 57 yards, 5:36
Adam Vinatieri 48 Yd Field Goal
7 plays, 30 yards, 2:11
Adam Vinatieri 38 Yd Field Goal
7 plays, 47 yards, 4:27
Maxx Williams 4 Yd pass from Joe Flacco (Justin Tucker Kick)
14 plays, 75 yards, 7:54
Adam Vinatieri 30 Yd Field Goal
13 plays, 64 yards, 4:07
|Passing 1st downs||12||13|
|Rushing 1st downs||5||8|
|1st downs from penalties||0||2|
|3rd down efficiency||5-13||6-14|
|4th down efficiency||1-2||1-1|
|Yards per Play||5.0||4.5|
|Yards per pass||5.8||5.6|
|Yards per rush||3.9||3.2|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-4||2-4|