Sunday, December 23, 2012
BALTIMORE — A celebration four weeks in the making featured laughs and hugs, a surprise appearance by team owner Steve Bisciotti and the distribution of hats announcing the Ravens' stature as AFC North champions.
Joe Flacco threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and Baltimore defeated the Giants 33-14 Sunday to end a three-game losing streak and clinch a second straight division crown.
The Ravens led 24-7 at halftime and cruised behind a short-handed defense that harassed quarterback Eli Manning and limited New York to 186 yards.
The defeat eliminated the Super Bowl champion Giants from contention in the NFC East and severely damaged their playoff chances.
In its second game with Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator, Baltimore scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and amassed a season-high 533 yards — 289 in the first half.
"It's about execution, man. It's a simple word, but it's a very tough task to do," said Ravens running back Ray Rice, who ran for 107 yards and caught six passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. "This was a championship game for us."
After ending their longest skid since 2009, the Ravens are assured a home playoff game on 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 and we're going to keep on playing."
New York has lost five of seven. Manning went 14 for 28 for 150 yards and was sacked three times.
"Obviously, we have a bad formula going on right here," 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."
Flacco rebounded from a stretch in which he committed two turnovers in each of three straight defeats.
Flacco repeatedly picked on cornerback Corey Webster, who couldn't contain Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin. Smith caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Boldin finished with seven receptions for 93 yards.
The Giants need a win over Philadelphia next week and help from other teams to squeeze into the postseason.
"The next game, if it's our last, whatever happens, we just want to leave with pride," Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw said.