BALTIMORE (AP) — 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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