Monday, October 06, 2014
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Colts grind out win over Ravens

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[October 06, 2014]  INDIANAPOLIS -- The brawl began Sunday on the first offensive play for the Baltimore Ravens.

Receiver Steve Smith caught a pass from quarterback Joe Flacco and was drilled on a hit by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Greg Toler. The ball squirted out of Smith's hands to Colts nose tackle Montori Hughes.

The Colts turned that turnover into a scoring drive on a 38-yard field by Adam Vinatieri and they went on to a bruising 20-13 victory over the Ravens at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"We knew it was going to be a donnybrook, a backyard brawl, whatever you want to call it," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.

"It was going to be a 60-minute brawl," said Colts defensive end Cory Redding, who had one of four sacks on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. "It's all heart and it's all guts. That's what it took to win this game."

Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, who entered the game as the NFL's leading touchdown passer, threw his 14th touchdown pass of the season and also scored on a 13-yard run.
 


But on this day, when the Colts (3-2) won their third consecutive game to tie Houston for first place in the AFC South, the NFL's most productive offensive squad leaned on the defense. The Colts held the Ravens to only a fourth quarter touchdown by running back Justin Forsett. They sacked Flacco four times, intercepted him once and caused two fumbles.

"I mean, we didn't do a good job of blocking," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We didn't do a good job of getting the ball out."

Baltimore (3-2), which had a three-game winning streak halted, was kept out of the end zone until Forsett scored on an 11-yard run with 8:56 left in the game.

"They were phenomenal," Pagano said of his defensive players. "Keep fighting, keep plugging. Those guys do a tremendous job."

"This was an amazing defensive performance and offensive performance and special teams," said Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner, who had two sacks of Flacco.

Neither team scored a touchdown in the first half, but two field goals by Vinatieri gave Indianapolis a 6-3 lead. A 6-yard scoring pass from Luck to tight end Dwayne Allen in the third quarter put the Colts on top 13-3 and Luck added a scoring run in the final quarter.

Luck competed 32 of 49 passes for 312 yards. He was intercepted twice.

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The Ravens had several chances to score touchdowns, but could not penetrate Indy's defense. When Albert McClellan recovered a fumble by Colts punt returner Griff Whalen at the Indianapolis 12-yard line in the fourth quarter, the Ravens got no further than the Indy 9 and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.

In the second quarter, when the Ravens had a fourth-and-1 at the Colts 3-yard line, Flacco was sacked on a safety blitz by Colts safety Sergio Brown.

The troubles all began, Flacco said, on that very first play when Smith's lost fumble on Toler's jarring hit set up the Colts' first scoring drive.

"Starting with that first play of the game, we made too many mistakes," Flacco said. "Any time you turn the ball over and can't say on the field, it's tough to win."

When the Colts turned the ball over at the Baltimore 11 with less than two minutes left in the game, Flacco was unable to lead his team into scoring position, his final pass falling incomplete on fourth down in the final seconds.

NOTES: Former Raven A.Q. Shipley started the Colts' first four games at center, but he was replaced Sunday by Jonatthan Harrison, an undrafted rookie from Florida. C Khaled Holmes, who has been recovering from an ankle injury, was placed on the inactive list. ... Ravens DE Chris Canty was out and did not make the trip to Indianapolis due to illness. He missed just his second game since joining the Ravens in 2013. DeAngelo Tyson started in his place. ... Ravens LB Terrell Suggs did play despite missing two practice days this week because of a thigh injury. He has not missed a game due to injury since December 2012. ... Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was a defensive coach in Baltimore the last time the Colts defeated the Ravens, in the AFC playoffs in January 2010. ... The Colts, who have won nine consecutive games against AFC South opponents, will play at Houston next week in a showdown for first place in the division.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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