Ravens control playoff destiny with win over Colts
Los Angeles (AFP)
The Baltimore Ravens continued their march towards their first NFL playoff berth since 2014 with a 23-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.
The Ravens' workmanlike performance may have been short on aesthetics, but was effective and allowed them to maintain control of their post-season destiny.
The Ravens improved to 9-6 and overtook the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills in the AFC wild card race.
Buffalo take on Super Bowl champions New England on Sunday and the Titans host the Los Angeles Rams.
Regardless of other results, the Ravens can clinch a wild card berth with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in their regular-season finale next week.
"Next week will be a test too," said Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. "The Bengals play us tough all the time."
Flacco tossed a pair of touchdowns and was 29 of 38 for 237 yards for the Ravens, who seized the sixth playoff spot in the American Football Conference.
"This was a big test for us," said Flacco. "I was nervous on the sideline. I felt like I was in my living room watching a team that I was rooting for."
Baltimore was able to move the ball against the Colts' 30th-ranked defence, but struggled to find the end zone and too often had to settle for field goals.
Justin Tucker's third field goal of the game increased their lead to 16-7 to open the second half.
Colts linebacker Anthony Walker blocked a punt with 2:36 left in the game, giving his team the ball on the Ravens' 27-yard line. However, on fourth-and-10, Baltimore cornerback Maurice Canady knocked down a pass from Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett to seal the win.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kept his team in the game with 48- and 38-yard field goals and Indianapolis trailed just 16-13 with 1:34 left in the third quarter.
Vinatieri's 30-yard field goal pulled the Colts to within 23-16 with 4:33 left in the game.
© 2017 AFP