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“You want to defend the pass. You don’t want to go out there and make hits on the running backs the whole entire game,” Ravens cornerback Chris Carr said with a chuckle.

“It was a great day to get the running game going,” said Rice. “Especially at home, against Denver.”

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco completed 14 of 25 passes for 196 yards and ran for a score. Unlike Orton, he was backed by a solid running game.

“They started doing some things to combat what we were doing. Then came our running game,” Flacco said. “Our offensive line did a great job. Ray was just finding the little holes, putting us in good third-down situations.”

Lewis, who had a team-high six tackles, said, “You see what happens when the running game gets going. The passing game opens up, and it’s only a matter of time before Ray (Rice) gets cranked up.”

The Ravens led 17-7 at halftime after keeping the Broncos from crossing the 50-yard line until after the two-minute warning.

A 58-yard pass from Flacco to tight end Ed Dickson helped the Ravens move to the Denver 1 on their opening possession. The drive fizzled when Willis McGahee was twice stuffed at the line and Jason Hunter sacked Flacco on fourth down.

“We didn’t succeed on the 1,” Flacco said, “but we did a great job after that.”

Baltimore got it right on its second try, marching 73 yards to go up 7-0. Flacco went 4 for 4 for 51 yards before sneaking in from the 1, his first touchdown since Oct. 26, 2008.

The Ravens again forced a punt, then scored again. After Denver’s Perrish Cox was called for pass interference in the end zone, Rice took it in from the 1.

First-round draft pick Demaryius Thomas fumbled the ensuing kickoff when hit by Jason Phillips, a collision that forced Thomas from the game with head and neck injuries. Baltimore recovered at the 20, and a field goal by Billy Cundiff made it 17-0.

The Broncos finally broke through with 48 seconds left in the half on a 42-yard pass from Orton to Lloyd, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, after Rice scored on a 1-yard run, Matt Prater kicked a field goal for Denver to make it 24-10.

McGahee iced the victory with a 30-yard touchdown run with 5:06 remaining.

Notes: Denver S Darcel McBath injured his ankle during the opening series and did not return. … Prater extended his consecutive field goal streak to 17. … The Ravens have won five straight at home.

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