The Baltimore Ravens advanced to a 10-3 overall record after making light work of the winless Indianapolis Colts (0-13 overall) with a 24-10 win on Dec. 11 at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore, Md. This marks the third time in four years Baltimore has won at least 10 games in a season, and also gives the Ravens their ninth straight home victory. The Ravens now hold a slight lead in the AFC North division, just edging the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3 overall) in a series tiebreaker between the two teams.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Ravens’ four-year veteran quarterback Joe Flacco put up good numbers, completing 23 of 31 passes for 227 yards, two touchdowns and a 102.5 percent passer rating. Flacco started wearing a “Fu-Manchu” style beard three games ago and the Ravens haven’t lost since. Ravens’ fans are hoping the “magic of the Fu-Manchu” continues as the Ravens hunt for home field advantage in the playoffs this coming January.

Fellow four-year veteran Ray Rice also had an outstanding performance, rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries while also recording a team-high six catches for 46 yards. This marked the fifth time this season Rice has rushed for at least 100 yards in a single game. He ran for 204 yards last week vs. the Cleveland Browns, and has 926 total rushing yards so far on the season.

Ravens’ Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs shined the most on defense, recording five tackles (three sacks) and three forced-fumbles. His three forced fumbles are a new team record for most in a single game.

Unsung Heroes of the Game:
Ravens’ franchise leader Ray Lewis missed his fourth straight game due to injury, yet it’s hard to notice because of the quiet yet stellar play from Jameel McClain. The young inside linebacker led the team with eight tackles (six solo tackles) as the Ravens shut down a Colts’ offensive unit that put up 24 points against the New England Patriots last week. McClain is making fans believe that life after Ray Lewis may not be so bad after all.
On offense, no one gets more praise than Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice. But Rice owes much of his success to Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, who continues to clear huge lanes to run through.

Game Notes:
The Ravens’ win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Colts, who were without their franchise leader Peyton Manning, sidelined with a neck injury. The win also marked just the second time in team history that Baltimore has held a 10-3 record; they went 10-3 in 2006 before ending that season with a 13-3 record.
Since Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was hired in 2008, Baltimore compiled a 25-9 record during the months of November and December, the most by any team in the league during that period.

The Ravens will take the road to face the San Diego Chargers (5-7 overall) on Sunday night, Dec. 18 at Qualcomm Stadium. A win will more than likely clinch the Ravens’ playoff berth for the fourth straight season.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor