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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
AFC North Week 15 decisive moment

By James Walker

NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

It wasn't the prettiest or most exciting play in the Baltimore Ravens' landmark win Sunday over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. But it was the most symbolic.

With Baltimore leading by a field goal and needing a late fourth-quarter stop -- something the Ravens have struggled with all year -- Saints Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees made his biggest mistake of the day by throwing an interception. Brees stepped up in the pocket with less than two minutes remaining and tried to throw over Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, who tipped the ball. It landed in the hands of fellow lineman Cory Redding. It was the first interception of Redding's career, and the Ravens added a field goal to seal the 30-24 victory.

Baltimore (10-4) entered its game against the Saints (10-4) having blown back-to-back fourth-quarter leads to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans. Baltimore's last two opponents outscored the Ravens 25-0 in the fourth period.

But Redding's decisive moment was a step in the right direction for the Ravens. This is the time of year when good teams finish games, and Baltimore now has the momentum it's looking for during its push to the playoffs.