Ravens lead Colts 17-9 after 3 quarters

Joe Flacco’s 20-yard TD pass to Dennis Pitta and two long

completions to Anquan Boldin lifted the Baltimore Ravens to a 17-9

lead over the Indianapolis Colts through three quarter of Sunday’s

AFC wild-card game.

Flacco connected with Boldin on receptions of 50 and 46 yards in

the third period. The first didn’t lead to a score, but the second

got Baltimore to the Indy 15. After a penalty, Pitta slipped free

in the flat to take a short pass and score.

The Colts came back with a 15-play, 72-yard drive. But as in the

first half, they sputtered and Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal,

this one from 26 yards.

After a scoreless first quarter marked by sloppiness on both

sides, Baltimore took a 10-6 halftime lead.

Ray Rice broke free for a 47-yard gain on a screen pass, setting

up Vonta Leach’s 2-yard TD run. The Pro Bowl backfield was

bolstered by the kick returns of another Pro Bowl player, Jacoby

Jones.

Vinatieri’s 47-yard field goal late in the second quarter and

his 52-yarder as the half ended gave Indianapolis its points at

halftime.

In between, Rice, who earlier lost a fumble, broke free over the

middle on a short pass, got a superb block from wide receiver

Torrey Smith and got to the Indy 2.

Leach surged in on the next play.

Vinatieri, who knows something about postseason kicks – he made

two Super Bowl-winning field goals with New England – matched

rookie Justin Tucker’s 23-yarder with his first kick with 2:25 to

go in the half.

After a scoreless first quarter that included one turnover by

each team, Baltimore moved 66 yards in 10 plays, including 37 yards

rushing by backup halfback Bernard Pierce. Tucker made it 3-0.

Early in the second quarter, Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis

dropped a potential interception, which drew a huge groan from the

crowd. Lewis has announced he will retire when Baltimore’s playoff

run ends.

Jones, who had 94 yards on kick returns in the half, got the

Ravens going early with a 34-yard punt runback down the left

sideline. A 24-yard pass to Ed Dickson brought Baltimore close, but

Rice fumbled at the Colts 11.

Indianapolis then put together an impressive drive to the

Baltimore 30 before rookie quarterback Andrew Luck was stripped of

the ball by Paul Kruger, the Ravens’ leader in sacks. Pernell

McPhee recovered, but Flacco nearly threw an interception three

plays later and the Ravens had to punt.

The visitors were introduced before the game as Chuck Pagano and

the Indianapolis Colts, and the former Ravens defensive coordinator

received warm applause from the fans. Pagano left before this

season for Indianapolis, and missed 12 games while undergoing

treatment for leukemia.

When a helmetless Lewis emerged from the tunnel during

introductions, nearly everyone in M&T Bank Stadium stood and

cheered his dance, cameras and cellphones taking photos of

Baltimore’s most popular player.

Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was hospitalized with

an undisclosed illness Sunday morning, and was not at the game. The

team said he was doing well, and quarterbacks coach Clyde

Christensen was calling the plays in Arians’ absence.

Arians went 9-3 while taking over for Pagano.

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