BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Ravens need one more win to get into the playoffs.
The Indianapolis Colts must play one more game before their painful season finally comes to an end.
Baltimore (9-6) remained on course to end its two-year postseason drought by defeating the Colts 23-16 Saturday. With a win over Cincinnati at home this Sunday, the Ravens will enter the playoffs as an AFC wild card.
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”We’ll be itching to back out there on Sunday and to get that game under day,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. ”But we’ve got to continue to do our business the right way, continue to do what we’ve been doing, and I think we’ll be all right.”
What the Ravens have been doing is winning – sometimes impressively and, as was the case Saturday, sometimes ugly. Despite letting the lowly Colts hang in there right to the end, the Ravens pulled out a much-needed victory.
”Good teams find a way, especially in December,” safety Eric Weddle said.
The Colts (3-12), on the other hand, are still looking for that elusive winning formula. After a blocked punt put Indianapolis in position to force overtime, the Colts frittered away their last chance.
”A lot of things haven’t gone our way this year,” safety Darius Butler said.
Indianapolis closed the season on Sunday at home against Houston.
Some things we learned about the Colts and Ravens:
DROPSIES: The Ravens entered the game leading the NFL with 22 interceptions, thanks heavily to Weddle’s six picks.
He was in perfect position to snare No. 7 – and then he let Jacoby Brissett’s long heave go right through his hands.
”There is no excuse for that. That could be the difference in the game,” Weddle said. ”I don’t know if I deserve ice cream after that one.”
Although Baltimore has the best ball-hawking defense in the NFL, they didn’t get a single turnover Saturday. But that didn’t matter to the Ravens.
”We dropped two (but) as long as we get the win at the end of the day, that’s all that matters,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said.
WINDS OF CHANGE: When Adam Vinatieri lined up to attempt a 60-yard field goal at the end of the first half, the Colts thought they had everything working in their favor.
Vinatieri had a gusty wind at his back and coach Chuck Pagano thought using the veteran kicker was a better bet than a Hail Mary pass.
Vinatieri placed the kick well, but he didn’t have quite enough leg. His try fell a little short of the crossbar, but was right in the middle.
”No hesitation throwing him out there for it,” Pagano said. ”He was just an eyelash away.”
It was a weird afternoon for Vinatieri, who made three field goals, including one that caromed off the right upright, and had another blocked.
NEVER STOP WORKING: Although Mosley has been with Baltimore for only four years, he plays with the knowledge of a long-time veteran. He knows that some of his newer teammates have never tasted the postseason and wants to be sure they know what is at stake next week against Cincinnati.
”It’s crazy how many games you play in a season and it comes down to the last game,” Mosley said.
A year ago, Baltimore needed to win its last two games to get into the playoffs. The Ravens didn’t do their part, and Mosley has no interest in seeing history repeat itself.
”The guys from last year or two years ago, they haven’t been in a playoff game before,” Mosley said. ”It’s been a while. We have to make sure everybody is focused.”
FLAG DAY: The Colts were flagged for only two penalties for 19 yards, and the first call didn’t come until early in the fourth quarter.
But the two infractions, both by cornerback Nate Hairston, were instrumental in extending a key Ravens drive that culminated with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to tight end Maxx Williams for a 23-13 lead.
A holding call on Hairston on a third-and-9 Flacco pass that went for seven yards gave Baltimore a first down at the Indianapolis 39-yard line. Three plays later, Hairston was whistled for pass interference on a sideline pass to Michael Campanaro, a 14-yard penalty that put the ball at the Colts’ 23.
”I’m not sure what I did,” Hairston said, ”but it is what it is.”
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