For those of you who watched the Arizona-New Orleans game earlier today, then you probably learned by watching that crime-in-progress that getting two weeks of rest does your team a world of good. The question, despite that piece of truth, that was needed to be asked when the Baltimore Ravens came to Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday to take on the Indianapolis Colts was this: Would the Ravens exploit the Colts’ lack of a running attack, leaving the fate of the Colts on the arm of Peyton Manning? Or would Indianapolis exploit the Ravens’ secondary?
Interestingly enough, the Ravens’ ability – or lack thereof – to hold on to the ball would seal their fate; they turned the ball over four times, which was enough opportunity for Manning to throw a pair of touchdown passes, enabling Indianapolis to advance to the AFC Championship game by stifling Baltimore 20-3.
The Colts drew first blood as ex-Ravens kicker Matt Stover converted a 44-yard field goal with 10:44 remaining in the first quarter, but the Ravens would reciprocate on a Billy Cundiff FG, tying things up at 3. The second quarter was all Indianapolis as Manning threw a pair of TD passes – a 10-yard strike to Austin Collie and a 3-yard TD pass to Reggie Wayne, putting the Colts up 17-3. An early fourth-quarter FG by Stover iced the game for Indianapolis.
It wasn’t for the lack of opportunities for the Ravens to score as Ed Reed was victimized twice – once on being stripped of the ball by Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon and recovered by Dallas Clark and an interception that was wiped out due to a pass intereference penalty assessed on Corey Ivy. Ray Rice didn’t help matters foir the Ravens either as he coughed up the ball after a 20-yard gain and recovered by the Colts’ Raheem Brock.
Manning’s numbers for the game were average – at least for him – as he went 30-of-44 for 246 yards with 2 TDs and an interception while Joe Flacco went 20-of-35 for 189 and a pair of INTs. The Colts’ rushing attack – or lack thereof – was led by Joseph Addai with 23 yards on 11 carries while Rice led the Ravens’ rushers with 67 yards on 13 carries and caught 9 passes for 60 yards.
Wayne led the Colts’ receivers with 8 receptions for 63 yards and a TD while Dallas Clark caught seven for 59 yards; Collie caught 4 passes for 52 yards and a score. Derrick Mason led the Ravens, catching 4 passes for 64 yards while Todd Heap caught four for 35 yards.
Indianapolis now awaits the winner of Sunday’s game between New York and San Diego.