Giants pushed to brink in 33-14 loss to Ravens
The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants picked a
terrible time to play their worst football of the season, and now
they’re on the brink of missing the playoffs.
A 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday left New York in
a desperate position heading into the final week of the season.
”The next game, if it’s our last, whatever happens, we just
want to leave with pride,” running back Ahmad Bradshaw said.
It’s come down to that for the Giants (8-7), who fell out of a
tie atop the NFC East with their fifth loss in seven games. New
York was coming off a 34-0 defeat at Atlanta, and this one was
almost as ugly.
”You saw the scoreboard,” quarterback Eli Manning said. ”It
wasn’t real pretty, but that’s what can happen in football.”
The Giants gave up a whopping 533 yards and gained only 186.
Baltimore had the ball for 39 minutes, 21 seconds compared to 20:39
for New York.
”Obviously we have a bad formula going on right here,” Giants
coach Tom Coughlin said. ”We’re having trouble stopping people and
our offense doesn’t hold the ball at all to give the defense a
chance to catch their breath. We’ve had two games in a row, pretty
much the exact same scenario.”
Joe Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens
(10-5), who ended a three-game losing streak and secured their
second straight division crown.
”It feels good,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said in the upbeat
locker room. ”I’m just glad we finally got it done.”
The Ravens led 24-7 at halftime and cruised to the finish behind
a short-handed defense that sacked Manning three times and limited
him to 150 yards passing.
The victory assured the Ravens of a home playoff game in the
first weekend of January.
”We know what’s at stake. We want the AFC championship and it
starts tonight,” safety James Ihedigbo said. ”Playoffs started
for us. We’re not looking at regular season. Playoffs started for
us and we’re going to keep on playing.”
Flacco rebounded from a stretch in which he committed two
turnovers in each of Baltimore’s three straight defeats. He
completed 25 of 36 passes, ran for a score and did not throw an
interception or lose a fumble.
He repeatedly picked on New York cornerback Corey Webster, who
couldn’t contain Smith or Anquan Boldin. Smith caught five passes
for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Boldin finished with seven
receptions for 93 yards.
Backup Bernard Pierce ran for 123 yards as part of a running
attack that generated 224 yards.
New York will need a win over Philadelphia next week and help
from other teams to squeeze into the postseason.
”I feel badly for everyone in that locker room because they
can’t turn this thing around either,” Coughlin said. ”What has
happened over the course of the last couple of weeks is very
difficult to explain. We just don’t look like a well-oiled machine
offensively at all.”
Said Manning: ”We knew we had to play our best football at the
end of the season to get into the playoffs and we haven’t done
that. When you’re not playing your best, teams can come out and
Baltimore’s first drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from
Flacco to Smith. The play came after officials overturned a fumble
by Jacoby Jones at the New York 5 following a replay review.
The 73-yard drive featured a few new wrinkles from the Ravens’
offense, most notably an option pitch from Flacco to Rice and
third-string running back Anthony Allen’s first catch of the
season, a first-down grab at the New York 40.
After the Giants went three-and-out for a second straight time,
Smith made an outstanding catch behind Webster for a 43-yard gain
and Flacco scored from the 1.
Manning followed with a four-play, 77-yard drive highlighted by
a 43-yard completion to Rueben Randle and a 14-yard touchdown run
by David Wilson.
That, however, would be the extent of the New York offense until
Domenik Hixon caught a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:18 left. After
scoring 52 against New Orleans on Dec. 9, the Giants have totaled
only 14 points in the past two weeks.
”All we can do is go out and get back to playing better
football,” Manning said.
The Ravens went up 17-7 midway through the second quarter. After
Boldin hurt Webster for 39-yard gain on a third-and-19, a replay
erased a 9-yard touchdown catch by Jacoby Jones and forced
Baltimore to settle for a field goal.
Late in the half, the Ravens moved 76 yards in seven plays for a
24-7 lead. Flacco went 5 for 5 for 68 yards, including a 27-yard
touchdown pass to Rice.
Baltimore opted for ball control in the second half, and the
Giants were powerless to stop them. After an exchange of punts at
the start of the third quarter, the Ravens moved 82 yards in 16
plays, holding the ball for just short of eight minutes, before
Justin Tucker kicked a 20-yard field goal.
The lead became 30-7 with 11:08 left when Tucker concluded a
13-play, 62-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal.
Tucker added his fourth field goal after a 78-yard run by Pierce
moved the ball to the New York 1.
NOTES: Flacco has thrown for a career-high 3,783 yards this
season. … New York defensive linemen Marvin Austin and Chris
Canty both left with knee injuries. … Boldin hurt his shoulder in
the third quarter and did not return. … Baltimore has won 10
straight regular-season home finales and has 13 consecutive home
victories over NFC foes. … It was only the fifth time in 47 games
that New York did not force a turnover.
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