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The Baltimore Ravens (10-3) added more misery onto the Indianapolis Colts (0-13) winless season with a 24-10 victory at the M&T Bank Stadium, and maintained their position at the top of the AFC North after the Pittsburgh Steelers recorded a win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
The Ravens showed their intent to maintain their perfect record at home this season when quarterback Joe Flacco found rookie Torrey Smith for an 8-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter. Kicker Billy Cundiff, who had been a doubt coming into the game, then extended the lead to ten points with a field goal as the Ravens began to exert their dominance.
Ray Rice then grabbed a touchdown of his own on a 6-yard run, capping off a 69-yard drive from the home side. Although the Colts managed to claw back three points with a successful field goal from Adam Vinatieri, the home fans were already beginning to feel confident the game was theirs, such was the control Baltimore had on the game, even at this early stage.
Baltimore continued to pressure the Colts defense in the second half, with Dennis Pitta collecting a 7-yard touchdown pass from Flacco at the end of a 63-yard drive which saw Rice go over 1000 rushing yards for the season. The Colts could just not catch a break, and their first possession after the Pitta score saw quarterback Dan Orlovsky sacked by Terrell Suggs and fumbling the ball, which was fortunately recovered by Joe Reitz, but still ended with the Colts having to kick possession back to the Ravens.
Flacco, who had been having a great game so far for Baltimore, then saw his intended pass for Anquan Boldin intercepted in the red zone by Joe Lefeged, keeping alive any hopes that Colts fans may have had for a comeback. The Colts defense seemed determined to keep their fans slim hopes alive, and forced a turnover of possession on downs.
Orlovsky then strung together a couple of passes, and it looked as if the Colts were on their way to the redzone, until linebacker Suggs came up with a big sack on the quarterback, forcing the Colts into a third and long situation, which culminated in an interception by safety Bernard Pollard, and effectively secured the win for Baltimore.
Despite the Baltimore defense performing to their usual high standards, the Colts managed to register a consolation touchdown as Orlovsky found Jacob Tamme with a 13-yard pass to end another frustrating game for Indianapolis. With leader Ray Lewis missing his fourth consecutive game due to a toe injury, the Ravens needed someone on their defense to step up, and Suggs filled the role comfortably.
He registered three sacks on Orlovsky as well as forcing three fumbles during the game, whilst Jameel McClain continues to show the kind of form which has many Ravens fans pinning their hopes on him becoming the long term solution once Lewis decides to call it a day.
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