Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ravens race to Indianapolis

Running back Ray Rice takes off for an 83-yard score, giving the Ravens the lead for good 17 seconds into the game.

Getty Images

Running back Ray Rice takes off for an 83-yard score, giving the Ravens the lead for good 17 seconds into the game.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Ravens needed only a few minutes to obliterate the team of the decade.

From the first offensive play — Ray Rice's sensational 83-yard sprint for a touchdown — Baltimore ambushed the Patriots with one of the best starts in NFL playoff history to run away with a 33-14 victory in an AFC wild-card game Sunday.

The sixth seed produced a nearly flawless start, a 24-0 first-quarter lead. Rice gained 94 yards and two touchdowns in the first 11 minutes.

Baltimore's defense rattled Tom Brady into three turnovers in the Patriots' first four series, making him look like a rookie instead of a clutch championship quarterback.

"The way it started and the way it played out was what we expected," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm not surprised by this football team with what they've been through this year and the challenges they've fought through. It was a tremendous victory against a great opponent."

Now, after beating the most successful franchise of the 2000s (the Patriots won three Super Bowls and went to a fourth), the Ravens face the team with the most wins in the decade — the top-seeded Colts — Saturday in Indianapolis.

"Look, we made too many mistakes in the game to win, and that's obvious," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We just didn't do very well as a team in any area. … Obviously we didn't play well."

The Ravens showed they weren't in awe of the Patriots' mystique — Belichick and Brady never had lost a home playoff game — from the time they stepped on the field.

Rice's long run put the Ravens ahead 7-0 17 seconds into the game. Then on the Patriots' third play, Terrell Suggs beat left tackle Matt Light and stripped Brady of the ball, also making the recovery. That set up the Ravens' offense at the New England 17-yard line, and Le'Ron McClain's 1-yard run staked the Ravens to a 14-0 advantage.

One minute later the crowd started booing Brady and his teammates.

"I'd have been booing us, too, the way we played," Brady said. "Playing the way we played (Sunday), we weren't going to beat anybody."

The 24 points by the Ravens tied the most by a team in the first quarter of a postseason game since 1991.

Their success on the ground — Rice gained 159 yards on 22 carries, and the Ravens rushed 52 times for 234 yards — negated a rough game for quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been hampered by a hip injury. Flacco finished 4-of-10 for 34 yards and one interception.

Still, the Ravens had more than enough big plays on both sides of the ball to finally beat the Patriots for the first time in six meetings.

"We'll always remember this one," Rice said. "It's hard to win on the road, especially here."

Ravens2403633
Patriots077014

Ravens race to Indianapolis 01/11/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 17, 2010 4:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call

    Blogs

    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  4. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)

    Blogs

    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  5. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.