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(Sunday, December 19th)
Final Score: Baltimore 30, New Orleans 24
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Billy Cundiff's go-ahead fourth-quarter field goal and a late interception by Cory Redding helped Baltimore clip New Orleans, 30-24.
Joe Flacco finished with 172 yards and two touchdowns on just 10-of-20 passing for the Ravens (10-4), winners in four of their last five games. Baltimore pulled into a tie with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North after the Steelers fell to the Jets, 22-17, later Sunday.
"I like to think of (the win) as a team win. I think all three phases [played well]. Our offense scored points. We moved the ball when we had to. Special teams played tremendously," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "We're still trying to win the division. [The Steelers] have the edge because they beat us, but we're not conceding that just yet."
Ray Rice rushed for 153 yards and a TD on 31 carries, while also posting 80 yards and a score on five catches.
"Let's not forget, [the Saints] are the defending champs until somebody knocks them off," Rice said of Baltimore's hard-fought victory. "To beat them this late in the year when they were peaking and [with] how many games they've won, it just says something about our team."
Drew Brees was 29-of-46 for 267 yards and three TD's -- including a pair to Jimmy Graham -- for the Saints (10-4), who saw their six-game win streak come to an end and face a key division matchup next Monday night against NFC South- leading Atlanta. New Orleans dropped two games behind the division leaders after the Falcons routed Seattle later Sunday.
Marques Colston had 80 yards on six catches, but Pierre Thomas was limited to 20 yards on six carries in the setback.
New Orleans tied the game at 24-24 with 11:34 remaining when Brees' desperation heave to the back-left corner of the end zone was tipped twice and fell into the hands of Lance Moore, who managed to get both feet in bounds and maintained control while falling out of bounds. A replay upheld the original TD call on the field.
Rice ripped off a 50-yard run to the Saints' 30 on the next play from scrimmage, and after T.J. Houshmandzadeh was unable to get a second foot down in the end zone on a 3rd-and-9 from the visitors' 14, Cundiff made a 32-yard field goal to put the Ravens in front 27-24 with 10:03 left.
Each team failed to move the ball on its next possession before New Orleans began from its own four with 2:51 to go. Then, on a 4th-and-8 from the 17 on the second play after the two-minute warning, Brees had his pass tipped and intercepted by Redding at the New Orleans 18-yard line.
The Ravens gained nine yards in an attempt to run off the clock, allowing Cundiff to make a 27-yard attempt that proved to be the final score.
"We just ran into a very good opponent," Brees admitted. "I thought the Ravens played exceptionally well. We had our chances, and we had a chance to win it in the end."
Graham's leaping, one-handed catch at the right sideline just inside the pylon gave the Saints a 7-0 lead with just over nine minutes to play in the opening quarter.
Baltimore responded on its next series as Flacco found Ed Dickson open in the flat, and he rumbled 34 yards to the end zone.
Rice put the Ravens ahead on the third play of the second quarter with a 10- yard scoring run, then hauled in a 17-yard TD pass to cap the Ravens' ensuing drive.
However, New Orleans climbed back within one score with 22 seconds left in the half as Brees hit Graham for a one-yard touchdown.
The Saints completed their second drive of the second half with a 47-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley. The Ravens countered on their following series with a 33-yarder from Cundiff for a 24-17 home team advantage.
Baltimore has won four of its five meetings with New Orleans...The Ravens held a 356-269 edge in total offense, including a 208-27 advantage on the ground...Baltimore travels to Cleveland next Sunday.
12/19 19:31:50 ET
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