The firing of former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, and the subsequent promotion of quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell to that position, were supposed to help the Baltimore Ravens out of an offensive slump that has now seen the team lose three straight games, and go from a seemingly sure AFC North winner to a team seemingly hoping for a home playoff game at 9-5. Caldwell, who worked with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis for years, would call plays for the first time in an NFL game while facing his old buddy as the Ravens took on the Denver Broncos at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Change, at least to start, wasn’t successful. The 34-17 thrashing, which was not nearly as close as the score may indicate, was the worst home loss of the John Harbaugh era. The worst play happened when, with first-and-goal at the Denver 4-yard line with 15 seconds left in the first half, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw an interception to Broncos defensive back Chris Harris, who returned it 98 yards for a pick-six. “You come to the Ravens’ house and beat them handily, it’s definitely a statement game,” Harris said. “We definitely wanted to show to everybody that we’re an elite team.” The 11-3 Broncos most certainly are. The Ravens? Not so much. “I felt like it was Christmas and not for our side,” said safety Ed Reed, who was individually embarrassed when Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno jumped over him during a 20-yard gain.. “We were in a giving mood. … We didn’t play football. I was embarrassed. I am embarrassed as a player to come out and perform the way we have. As a Ravens nation, as a player, I am embarrassed for our city.” Flacco, who was the target of boos from the home crowd, acknowledged that the fans had a right to be ticked off. He finished with 20 completions in 40 attempts for 251 yards, two touchdowns, and that pick-six. However, both touchdowns, to tight end Dennis Pitta, came in the fourth quarter, when the game had entered the “laugher” stage. Baltimore’s first right drives read like a JaMarcus Russell career retrospective: Fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception for touchdown, end of half.
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Caldwell’s promotion makes no difference as Ravens’ offense continues to collapse (Shutdown Corner)
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, but Griffin said after the Redskins’ 38-21 victory that he probably could have played.
NFL roundup: Griffin says he could have played (The SportsXchange)
Dec 16 (Reuters) – The Green Bay Packers beat the Bears 21-13 in Chicago on Sunday to secure a place in the playoffs while the Atlanta Falcons showed their post-season credentials by smashing the New York Giants 34-0. The Giants’ first shutout since 1996 opens up the race for top spot in the intriguing NFC East with the Washington Redskins joining the Giants at 8-6 after a 38-21 win at the Cleveland Browns. …
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NFL-Packers advance while Falcons hammer Giants, (Reuters)
BALTIMORE — The Denver Broncos are on fire. The Baltimore Ravens are starting to feel some heat.
Broncos blast Ravens for 9th consecutive win (The SportsXchange)
BALTIMORE (AP) – Denver didn’t need Peyton Manning to beat the Baltimore Ravens. In a surprisingly easy victory, the Broncos’ defense did most of the work while ruining Jim Caldwell’s debut as an NFL offensive coordinator. Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a momentum-turning touchdown, and Denver cruised past the skidding Ravens 34-17 Sunday for their ninth straight win. Manning threw for 204 yards and a score in his ninth consecutive win against Baltimore, the first with the Broncos (11-3). Down 10-0 late in the first half, the Ravens had a first-and-goal at the Denver 4 when Harris stepped in front of Anquan Boldin , picked off a pass by Joe Flacco and sprinted down the right sideline with Flacco in pursuit. The quarterback tripped up Harris, who tumbled into the end zone, leaving Flacco flat on his stomach and with a cut lip. It was the longest regular-season interception return in Broncos history, and it turned a close game into a rout. The Ravens (9-5) were playing their first game under Caldwell, who replaced the fired Cam Cameron. Baltimore’s offense sputtered in the first half, gaining only 119 yards and committing two turnovers that led to 10 Denver points. Baltimore has lost three straight – including two in a row at home for the first time since December 2007. The Ravens trailed 31-3 in the fourth quarter before Flacco threw touchdown passes of 31 and 61 yards to tight end Dennis Pitta . Caldwell’s debut was a resounding flop. Flacco went 20 for 40 for 254 yards, lost a fumble and threw an interception. Ray Rice ran for 38 yards on 12 carries and the Ravens produced a meager 56 yards rushing. For three weeks, Baltimore has needed one win to clinch a fifth straight trip to the playoffs. The Ravens still lead the AFC North, but their lead has shrunk to one game with two to play. Denver, on the other hand, appears poised to reach the postseason with confidence and momentum. The AFC West champions haven’t lost since Oct. 7, at New England. The Broncos, who can still capture the top seed in the conference, finish up with home games against Cleveland and Kansas City. This was supposed to be a test for Denver, which had never won in Baltimore and was eager to face a quality opponent on the road. The Broncos didn’t need any heroics from Manning because their defense was dominant. Baltimore’s first offensive series under Caldwell lasted three plays and did not end well. Flacco fumbled on a third-and-1 plunge and the Broncos recovered at the Denver 47, which led to a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. In the first quarter, Baltimore totaled 21 yards on 12 plays, punted three times and lost a fumble. Denver went up 10-0 when Jacob Hester ran in from the 1 to cap an 11-play, 78-yard drive. Baltimore answered with three more unproductive plays before punting. On their fifth drive, the Ravens finally got their initial first down – on a 14-yard run by Bernard Pierce with eight minutes left in the half. Pierce eventually left the game with a concussion and so did wide receiver Torrey Smith , who hit his head after attempting to make a leaping catch near the sideline in the third quarter. Denver pulled away with two third-quarter touchdowns. Manning threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Eric Decker , and after the Ravens went three-and-out, Knowshon Moreno ended a 39-yard drive with a 6-yard run to make it 31-3. Decker caught eight passes for 133 yards and Moreno finished with 118 yards rushing on 22 carries. – By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer (© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Broncos Rout Ravens 34-17 For 9th Straight Win
BALTIMORE — Chris Harris returned a Joe Flacco interception 98 yards for a touchdown and Eric Decker caught a 51-yard touchdown pass, leading the Denver Broncos to a 34-17 rout over the Baltimore Ravens.
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Broncos 34, Ravens 17 (The SportsXchange)
BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a momentum-turning touchdown, and the Denver Broncos beat the skidding Baltimore Ravens 34-17 Sunday for their ninth straight victory.
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Broncos rout Ravens 34-17 for 9th straight win (The Associated Press)
BALTIMORE — A look at a huge statement win by the Denver Broncos. What it means: The Broncos, who led 31-3 going into the fourth quarter, have beate…
Rapid Reaction: Broncos 34, Ravens 17
The Baltimore Ravens announced that wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Bernard Pierce left Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos with concussions.
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Ravens WR Smith, RB Pierce leave with concussions (The SportsXchange)
BALTIMORE — It looks like the Denver Broncos will get their first win at Baltimore against the Ravens. They are leading, 31-3, early in the fourth q…
Broncos about to end Baltimore blues