Ravens win division, hurt Giants' playoff chances
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Joe Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns as the Baltimore Ravens clinched their second straight AFC North title with a 33-14 dismantling of the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium.
Flacco completed 25-of-36 passes with no interceptions and added a rushing touchdown for the Ravens (10-5), who snapped a three-game slide.
Ray Rice finished with 107 yards on 24 carries and 51 yards and a score on six receptions, while Anquan Boldin led all receivers with 93 yards on seven catches before leaving the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
"It's about execution. It's a simple word, but it's a very tough task to do," Rice said about the offense, which racked up 533 yards of total offense. "Today, everybody pitched in and everybody did their job."
Eli Manning threw for 150 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-28 efficiency for New York (8-7), which dropped its second consecutive contest to fall a game behind the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC's final playoff spot.
Ahmad Bradshaw returned from a knee injury that kept him out of last week's game, but totaled just 39 yards on nine carries as the Giants offense was held to a paltry 186 yards.
"It's a very difficult time for all of us," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We did nothing offensively and we certainly didn't do anything to help our cause on the defensive side of the ball either."
After New York was held to three-and-out on the opening drive of the game, the Ravens put together a 14-play, 73-yard march to take a lead they would not relinquish.
New York seemed to have recovered a Jacoby Jones fumble prior to the touchdown, but a replay showed the receiver was down before the ball came out and three plays later, Flacco found Torrey Smith over the middle for a 6-yard score.
The Giants were again held without a first down on their next touch, and Baltimore quickly added to its lead on the ensuing drive as Smith hauled in a 43-yard reception to set up Flacco's 1-yard touchdown run on a sneak up the middle, giving the Ravens a 14-0 lead with 4:24 left in the first quarter.
But Manning connected with Rueben Randle for a 43-yard gain on the next play from scrimmage to move the ball deep inside Baltimore territory and David Wilson reeled off a 14-yard touchdown run four plays later to get the Giants on the board.
Baltimore seemed to have regained its 14-point advantage on its first touch of the second quarter when Jones caught a pass in front of the end zone and stretched the ball across the goal line before it came loose when he hit the ground.
The play was reviewed, however, and the call was overturned as it was determined Jones did not have full control of the catch before the ball came loose, resulting in Justin Tucker's 23-yard field goal to cap the 12-play, 83- yard trek.
The Ravens later regained the ball at their own 24 with 3:15 remaining in the first half, and Smith's one-handed grab for 21 yards highlighted the 7-play drive Rice finished by hauling in a short pass and racing towards the right pylon for a 27-yard touchdown to give Baltimore a 24-7 lead at the break.
The Ravens pulled away for good in the second half, starting with their second possession of the third quarter, a 16-play, 82-yard, penalty-riddled drive that lasted nearly eight minutes.
Flacco kept the drive alive on a 3rd-and-19 at the Baltimore 37 by avoiding a rush, stepping up in the pocket and firing a 36-yard strike to Dennis Pitta between a pair of defenders to set up Tucker's 21-yard field goal.
Tucker capped another lengthy 13-play, 62-yard drive with a 30-yard kick on Baltimore's next touch and following another New York punt, Bernard Pierce's 78-yard run preceded a 29-yard field goal by Tucker to make it a 33-7 game with 7:25 left to play.
Manning found Domenik Hixon in the right side of the end zone for a 13-yard score in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to finalize the scoring as the Giants failed to recover an onside kick.
The Ravens have won 13 consecutive home games against NFC opponents ... Flacco improved to 10-0 at home against the NFC ... Pierce finished with 123 yards on the ground ... Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz had three receptions for 21 yards, giving him 82 catches for 1,040 yards this season, It is his second straight season of at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. No other Giant has ever had one such season.