Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wrap-up: Ravens 33, Giants 14
By Jamison Hensley
My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 33-14 victory over the New York Giants:
What it means: Making quick work of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, the Ravens (10-5) clinched their second straight AFC North title for the first time in franchise history. That means the Ravens assured themselves of hosting their first playoff game. Baltimore ended its three-game losing streak by taking its frustrations out on the Giants. The Ravens rolled to a 24-7 halftime lead and finished with a season-high 533 yards of total offense. Baltimore can still move up to the No. 3 seed if it wins at Cincinnati next Sunday and the Patriots lose at home to Miami.
Flacco flourishes: The up-and-down season for Joe Flacco continues. He ripped apart the 27th-ranked pass defense, throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He had a hand in three first half touchdowns: scoring passes to Torrey Smith and Ray Rice and a one-yard run. This is the same Flacco who had two turnovers in each of the previous three losses.
Getting the ball to Rice: Jim Caldwell found a way to put the ball in the hands of Rice in his second game as offensive coordinator. Rice ran for 107 yards and caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. This was the 17th career 100-yard game for Rice. Backup Bernard Pierce added 123 yards rushing as the ground game totaled a season-high 224 yards.
Controlling the ball: The best way the Ravens offense can help its banged-up defense is controlling the ball. The Ravens dominated time of possession, holding onto the ball for 39 minutes, 21 seconds. The key was extending drives. The Ravens converted 11 of 18 third downs (61 percent).
What's next: The Ravens end the regular season at the Cincinnati Bengals, who wrapped up the No. 6 seed on Sunday by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.