- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- This puts to rest the debate about rest, we can hope.
The Colts will host the AFC Championship Game Jan. 24 after a stingy defense and an offense that found enough big plays made the difference between them and the Baltimore Ravens look monstrous.
The Ravens took their first possession 87 yards on 15 plays, but settled for a Billy Cundiff field goal. They struggled mightily to move the ball after that.
And when the big sparks arrived, they could not turn to a fire.
Ed Reed’s first interception of Peyton Manning in the third quarter was given back to the Colts when the intended receiver, Pierre Garcon, chased him down and punched it free for Dallas Clark to recover.
Reed’s second interception, later on the same Colts possession, also didn’t take the ball away. It only happened because Corey Ivy interfered with Clark.
Indy wound up collecting four second-half turnovers.
Offensively, the Colts weren’t phenomenally crisp, but they did some good work against a tough Ravens defense and bounced right up from every big hit. Taking what was available, they didn’t manage a play longer than 20 yards.
If they get a defensive effort like this against the Chargers or Jets, Manning and the offense can have a season-worst day and still be punching a ticket to the Super Bowl.