- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Patriots maul Ravens, dent Baltimore’s playoff hopes
Question of the Day
BALTIMORE — The New England Patriots put on a performance worthy of a division winner.
Making it even sweeter was that it came at the expense of the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, who bounced New England from the postseason last season.
Logan Ryan had two interceptions, LeGarrette Blount scored twice and the playoff-bound Patriots breezed to a 41-7 victory Sunday, ending the Ravens‘ four-game winning streak and diminishing their postseason hopes.
The previous time these two teams met, the AFC title hung in the balance and Baltimore used a strong second half to pull out a 28-13 victory.
In this one, New England took a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and never let up behind a defense that forced four turnovers and had four sacks.
The Patriots (11-4) were assured their fifth straight AFC East title before the game started when Miami lost at Buffalo. It’s the 11th division crown for New England coach Bill Belichick, tied with Don Shula for most since the 1970 merger.
“Happy to win the AFC East,” Belichick said. “Hopefully, we can build off this game.”
Tom Brady completed 14 of 26 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. He has led his team to 11 division titles, two more than any other starting quarterback in NFL history.
“They’re all special. It’s hard to come by, and this team’s really fought hard all year,” Brady said. “We’ve earned it. Eleven wins in the NFL’s not easy, and to win a division title’s not easy.”
The loss eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from contention in the AFC North and dropped them into a tie with Miami and San Diego for the final AFC wild-card slot. Baltimore closes the regular season at Cincinnati, which displaced the Ravens as division champs.
“We got to go in there and win. That was going to be the case no matter what,” said Harbaugh, who is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in his six seasons with Baltimore.
It was the Ravens‘ most lopsided loss since a 37-0 defeat at Pittsburgh in 1997. Things went so bad for Baltimore that Justin Tucker’s run of 33 straight field goals ended when he went wide left on a 37-yarder with 14:19 remaining.
Wearing a brace on his left knee after being injured last week in Detroit, Flacco had difficulty escaping the unyielding pressure applied by New England’s defensive front.
“I don’t think he played well,” Harbaugh said.
Refusing to use the brace as an excuse, Flacco said, “I would have liked to play better. The brace had nothing to do with anything.”
Baltimore trailed 20-0 late in the third quarter when Ray Rice was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the New England 4. That effectively ended any chance of a comeback.
It was of very little consolation to the defending champs.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” safety James Ihedigbo said. “Definitely a frustrating loss.”
New England scored on a 7-yard run by Blount with 2:05 to go to make it 27-7, then added another touchdown when an errant snap eluded Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Chandler Jones recovered the ball in the end zone.
Tavon Wilson capped the scoring with a 74-yard interception return with 40 seconds remaining.
Baltimore’s previous three games were decided by three points or fewer, but it became evident early that this one would not be close.
New England went up 7-0 on its second possession. A 34-yard pass interference penalty against Jimmy Smith put the ball at the Baltimore 1 before Blount bulled into the end zone.
Three plays later, Flacco threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Ryan at the New England 47. After completing a 34-yard pass to Danny Amendola, Brady connected with Shane Vereen for a 4-yard score.
The Patriots quickly got the ball back, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 45-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to make it 17-0.
Baltimore’s next possession ended with Ryan’s second interception of the game and fifth of the season. Seven plays later, Gostkowski kicked a 42-yard field goal.
Notes: New England DB Devin McCourty left with a head injury, and Vereen left with a groin injury. … Tucker’s miss was his first since Week 2. … Baltimore finished with more yardage, 358-300.
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors