Flacco and Pierce carry Ravens past Colts

Posted: January 07, 2013

BALTIMORE - Two players with Philadelphia-area ties helped the Baltimore Ravens advance past the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, the Audubon, N.J., native and University of Delaware product, threw for 282 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions Sunday as Baltimore beat the Indianapolis Colts, 24-9, at M&T Bank Stadium.

Running back Bernard Pierce, a rookie out of Temple, upstaged his Pro Bowl teammate Ray Rice by rushing for 103 yards on 13 carries.

Flacco became the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least one playoff game in each of his first five seasons.

The Ravens will travel to Denver for an AFC semifinal against the Broncos on Saturday. So the last thing Flacco is thinking about is putting his name in the record book.

"I am not really concerned about that now," he said. "The bottom line is we haven't won it all, and that's been our goal, and that is our goal this year."

Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis announced last week that this would be his final season. Lewis, who returned this week from a triceps injury suffered Oct. 14, played his final home game for the Ravens.

Even though he dropped a sure interception, Lewis was credited with 13 tackles.

Flacco and Pierce took care of things on the offensive end.

"I thought Joe threw the ball downfield incredibly well," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Flacco averaged 23.5 yards on his 12 completions, earning him a 125.6 passer rating, more than double that of his counterpart, celebrated rookie Andrew Luck (59.8).

In fairness, Luck, who completed 28 of 54 passes for 288 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception, was often running for his life behind an offensive line that will need upgrading.

Flacco started the game slowly but threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

Pierce helped set up a Justin Tucker 23-yard field goal in the second quarter. During the drive Pierce gained 37 yards on five carries, giving Rice a breather.

During a fourth quarter drive, Pierce gained 43 yards on a third-and-1 play. Two plays later, Flacco hit Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard score that increased the Ravens lead to 24-9 with 9 minutes, 14 seconds left.

Pierce has led the Ravens in rushing for the last three games.

"It is a definite confidence booster because I just want to be able to keep getting better week in and week out, and I've proven that to myself and everybody else," Pierce said. "I am just excited."

Pierce looked even better because Rice, who ran for 70 yards, lost two fumbles.

The Colts, who improved from 2-14 to 11-5 in the regular season this year, played without offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who was taken to the hospital Sunday after feeling ill. Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the game Arians was doing fine and was expected to be released on Monday.

Contact Marc Narducci at  mnarducci@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @sjnard.

 Ravens 24, Colts 9

Indianapolis 0 6 3 0 – 9

Baltimore 0 10 7 7 – 24

Second quarter

 Bal–FG Tucker 23, 11:18.

Ind–FG Vinatieri 47, 2:25.

Bal–Leach 2 run (Tucker kick), :50.

Ind–FG Vinatieri 52, :00.

Third quarter

 Bal–Pitta 20 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick), 8:26.

Ind–FG Vinatieri 26, :40.

Fourth quarter

 Bal–Boldin 18 pass from Flacco (Tucker kick), 9:14.

A: 71,379.

Ind   Bal

First downs 25   18   

Total Net Yards 419   441   

Rushes-yards 30-152   32-172   

Passing 267   269   

Punt Returns 0-0   4-57   

Kickoff Returns 0-0   2-60   

Interceptions Ret. 0-0   1-41   

Comp-Att-Int 28-54-1   12-23-0   

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-21   1-13   

Punts 4-48.5   4-43.3   

Fumbles-Lost 1-1   2-2   

Penalties-Yards 5-37   9-70   

Time of Possession 37:32   22:28   


Rushing: Indianapolis, Ballard 22-91, Luck 4-35, Avery 1-15, Moore 3-11. Baltimore, Pierce 13-103, Rice 15-70, Leach 1-2, Flacco 3-(minus 3).

Passing: Indianapolis, Luck 28-54-1-288. Baltimore, Flacco 12-23-0-282.

Receiving: Indianapolis, Wayne 9-114, Hilton 8-66, Allen 4-51, Fleener 3-25, Avery 2-12, Brazill 1-17, Ballard 1-3. Baltimore, Boldin 5-145, T.Smith 2-31, Pitta 2-27, Rice 1-47, Dickson 1-24, J.Jones 1-8.

Missed Field Goals: Indianapolis, Vinatieri 40 (WR).

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