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After barely touching the ball in the first half, Baltimore (6-3) suddenly came alive. Flacco capped back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter with touchdown passes.
"It was a playoff atmosphere against a playoff-caliber team," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Obviously, it's difficult when you play a team like that in their place. Being in this environment will help us later in the season."
The Falcons dominated the first half, holding the ball for more than 21 minutes and going to the locker room with a 10-0 lead. The Ravens were fortunate it wasn't worse.
Late in the first quarter, Ryan started a drive that would stretch into the second period and wind up covering 91 yards on 14 plays. He finished it with a short pass to a wide-open Jason Snelling out of the backfield. He worked up a head of steam, broke free from an attempted tackle by Dawan Landry and tumbled into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown.
Atlanta got close again just before halftime, but wound up settling for Matt Bryant's 28-yard field goal.
Ryan completed 20 of 28 for 160 yards in the opening half, playing keep-away with the Ravens offense. Flacco had just 31 yards passing at the break, and the third quarter didn't start out very well, either. Trying to stretch the field with a pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Flacco threw it a little short and Brent Grimes made the interception.
That resulted in another field goal by Bryant, this one from 51 yards.
Baltimore's offense finally got going on its next possession. Flacco directed a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Anquan Boldin grabbing a 5-yard touchdown pass.
Just like that, it was a game -- what everyone expected all along from these teams.
White's first touchdown catch restored the 13-point lead, but Flacco wasn't done in this matchup of quarterbacks who were first-round picks in 2008 and have followed eerily similar career paths.
The Ravens marched down the field on a 75-yard drive, Flacco finishing it off with a 6-yard pass to Derrick Mason. After the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons picked up one first down but had to punt it away.
Flacco took his team the other way, completing five passes on a 72-yard drive that put the Ravens ahead for the first time all night.
The Ravens can only hope they get another shot at the Falcons in Dallas on that first Sunday in February.
NOTES: The Falcons honored Deion Sanders at halftime, inducting Prime Time into their ring of honor with a No. 21 banner high above the Georgia Dome, which he once proclaimed "is my house." Sanders played with the Falcons from 1989-93. ... Atlanta RB Michael Turner was held to 39 yards on 17 carries, forcing the Falcons to rely mostly on their passing game. ... Flacco spread it around, completing at least five passes to five different receivers. Boldin led the way with seven catches for 50 yards.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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