NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 23, 2013

Pats strike early, roll past Ravens

BALTIMORE — The rematch was a mismatch.

Logan Ryan had two interceptions, LeGarrette Blount scored twice and the playoff-bound New England Patriots breezed past Baltimore 41-7 yesterday, ending the Ravens’ four-game winning streak and diminishing the postseason hopes of the defending Super Bowl champions.

The previous time these two teams met, the AFC title hung in the balance and Baltimore used a strong second half to pull out a 28-13 victory.

In this one, New England took a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and never let up behind a defense that forced four turnovers and had four sacks.

It was Baltimore’s most lopsided loss since a 37-0 defeat at Pittsburgh in 1997. Things went so bad for the Ravens that Justin Tucker’s run of 33 straight field goals ended when he went wide left on a 37-yarder with 14:19 remaining.

The Patriots (11-4) were assured their fifth straight AFC East title before the game started when Miami lost at Buffalo. It’s the 11th division crown for New England coach Bill Belichick, tied with Don Shula for most since the 1970 merger.

The loss eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from contention in the AFC North and dropped them into a tie with Miami and San Diego for the final AFC wild-card slot. Baltimore closes the regular season at Cincinnati, which displaced the Ravens as division champs.

Joe Flacco went 22 for 38 for 260 yards and two interceptions for the Ravens, who fell to 6-2 at home this season. Wearing a brace on his left knee after being injured last week in Detroit, Flacco had difficulty escaping the unyielding pressure applied by New England’s defensive front.

Baltimore trailed 20-0 late in the third quarter when Ray Rice was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the New England 4. That effectively ended any chance of a comeback.

The Ravens scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Flacco with 9:21 left, which enabled Baltimore to avoid its first shutout loss since 2002, against Tampa Bay.

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