The first quarter was rather dull—no points were scored, and fumbles by both teams were the only highlights.
First, Ray Rice put the ball on the carpet inside the red zone. Then, on a third down from Baltimore's 30, Andrew Luck was stripped sacked by Paul Kruger.
NFL Network's Jeff Darlington pointed out the futility fans have witnessed to start the postseason:
So between 6 teams this weekend, we've had total of 13 combined points -- only 1 TD -- during 1st quarters. Opposite of reg. season scoring.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 6, 2013
After the teams traded field goals, we saw our first big play when Ray Rice took a screen pass—that, frankly, wasn't set up that well—and bolted 47 yards to the 2-yard-line.
Bleacher Report's senior NFL editor, Colin McCollough, a life-long Colts fan, diagnosed which defensive player deserved the blame:
That's absolutely on Mathis, who lost Rice on the screen and is pretty terrible at anything besides rushing the passer.— Collin McCollough (@cmccollo) January 6, 2013
Vontae Leach powered his way to a touchdown on the next play to give the Ravens a 10-3 lead.
Though it seemed to be a tough concept to grasp for former Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, B/R Featured Columnist Sean O'Donnell put Rice's play into succinct perspective:
Amazing what happens when you give Ray Rice the football. #Ravens— Sean O'Donnell (@SeanODiesel) January 6, 2013
Though Baltimore took a 10-6 lead into halftime, quarterback Joe Flacco had an extremely disappointing first two quarters. NFL.com's Steve Wyche gave an exquisite explanation:
Sometimes Flacco looks like he has never played qb— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) January 6, 2013
Can't argue, can you?
In the second half, Anquan Boldin took over, and he finished the game with five catches for 145 yards and a touchdown. He caught two deep balls with Cassius Vaughn in coverage, one being a play in which Flacco simply threw the ball up for grabs.
The always insightful Scott Kacsmar, also known as "@CaptainComeback," made an interesting yet sarcastic comment about the troubled Indianapolis cornerback:
Reggie Wayne at CB couldn't be much worse than Vaughn. He at least understands routes.— Scott Kacsmar (@CaptainComeback) January 6, 2013
The Colts secondary had trouble for most of the second half with Boldin and Torrey Smith, and that became a major deciding factor in this one.
Flacco scrambled out of the pocket from the Colts' 15 and found tight end Dennis Pitta for a touchdown to make the score 17-6 late in the third quarter.
Although he's typically Mr. Reliable for the Ravens, after a field goal by Adam Vinatieri, Ray Rice fumbled for a second time in the third quarter on a play in which he was stripped by Joe Lefeged.
Luck was unable to lead a touchdown drive, but put his team in position to add another three points to the board.
Then, Vinateri pushed a 40-yard field goal, which produced an idea in Chet Gresham's mind:
Vinatieri, cut— Chet(@Chet_G) January 6, 2013
Some Colts fans may have felt the same.
Following a Boldin touchdown catch that took the Ravens to a 24-9 lead, the Colts faced a 4th-and-1 from the Baltimore 18 with less than six minutes remaining.
Luck looked toward the sideline for Reggie Wayne, but the ball was tipped directly into the hands of Cary Williams.
That all but officially wrapped things up.
Benjamin Allbright wasn't a fan of the play call and certainly didn't like the short, predictable route run by the legendary wide receiver:
Told you all yesterday that shallow out route is a loser.— Benjamin Allbright (@NFLDraftMonster) January 6, 2013
Spot on, Ben.
With the Ravens kneeling to end the game, Ray Lewis came onto the field as the 11th offensive player and performed his signature dance one last time in front of the home crowd—an amazing moment:
"We want Ray" chants filling the air in Baltimore.— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) January 6, 2013