AFC North: rapid reaction 18
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
MIAMI -- The Baltimore Ravens were in top form Sunday -- just in time for the playoffs.
The Ravens were efficient on offense, and pounded and confused the Miami Dolphins defensively during their 27-9 wild-card victory. Baltimore won the turnover battle by forcing five Miami miscues while committing just one, which was the difference in the game.
Despite starting a rookie quarterback in Joe Flacco, the Ravens didn't make any glaring mistakes against Miami before the largest home crowd at Dolphin Stadium (71,240). Flacco only completed 9 of 23 passes for 135 yards, but he did just enough without turning over the football, including rushing for a touchdown to seal the game.
Baltimore, on the other hand, made Chad Pennington look like a rookie signal caller. Pennington threw four interceptions and was sacked three times in what was his worst performance of the season.
The Ravens felt the Dolphins were a good draw for them in the first round. Baltimore beat Miami earlier in the regular season and swept the Dolphins in two games this year by a total of 32 points.
Next week, Baltimore (12-5) will travel to face the Tennessee Titans (13-3) in a big rematch of Tennessee's regular-season win in Week 5. The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) will host the San Diego Chargers (9-8) at Heinz Field in the other AFC divisional game. That is also a return date from Pittsburgh's Week 11 win over San Diego.